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July 09, 2009


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Jason -

Nice post. When I visited and saw the glass closures, I immediately had two reactions: 1) Very cool, and 2) Any concerns about oxidation or reduction? Tom's obviously not going to use any closure with which he has concerns, but I'll ask him to jump on here and talk a little more about the closures if he can.

Tom - Can you explain a bit about the decision to go with glass?


Jason -

I'm glad you enjoyed your time visiting our winery. We're looking forward to the next time you can swing by.

Evan -

Great question on the closure. Austria has been using the vino-seal for about twelve years and California wineries (Calera, Whitehall Lane) have been on board with it for about the past six. There are a few reasons for the closure:
1. 0% cork taint - As a consumer, I hate being that lower end of the statistical curve that stuck me with the tainted bottle. So on our "fruit-forward" style Pinot Noir, we figured we would alleviate this out of the purchasing equation for the consumer.
2. Storage - no more concerns of finding a spot on the rack for this wine to have to lay on its side.
3. Cooler than screwcap - we have two customer demographics and one is baby boomers. They typically run from the screwcap. The boomers that enter our tasting room love this closure and find it "classy".
4. Ease of application - no expensive corking (or screwcap) machine needed for this bottling run. Although, your hand does bruise by the second day, so some innovation wouldn't be too bad.
5. 100% recyclable
6. Reuse - not originally thought of in our purchasing decision, our customers have come up with an alternative to recycling. Some of them have been reusing the bottle for infusing their olive oil because of the darker glass. I think ideas like this are wonderful!

The redox potential (aka. reduction)is a downside to this type of closure, similar to screwcap. I've countered this by focusing on the sulfur levels at bottling and keeping them around 50% (20-25ppm) of what I would be bottling under cork. If you can eliminate this out of the equation, I think the upside is far greater.


Where can I get Hearts & Hands Pinot in the Buffalo/Niagara area?

I could use some help picking limestone rocks out of my garden if anyone's interested. In fact there's a 1.8 acre sloped piece of property bordering mine if anyone wants a well drained limestone rich site. Just don't build a home there that's all I ask.

Tom, it was my pleasure to visit and I was excited about all the innovative touches you've put into the operation that make the experience unique.

Would you expand upon the labeling idea as well? The amount of information blew my mind--does anyone else do that in any region around the world? Where did you get the idea?

Bryan -

At this present time, we are not distributing to the Buffalo/Niagara area, but you are more than welcome to order wines off of our website.

We will probably not be needing the limestone from your garden. Thanks for the offer. ;-)

Jason -

There are several wineries throughout the world (mostly new-world, though) who provide detailed information on the back label. Calera does a wonderful job also detailing some of the vineyard aspects on their labels. I guess we figured that if you're paying for a back label, and there is no additional cost per word, you may as well give the consumer some wonderful info. Honestly, I have a pretty tough time fitting it all on there and Susan gives me hell if I start reducing the font size any more. She wants to be sure our baby-boomer demographic can still gather the info too. ;-)


So great to learn about Hearts & Hands and their innovative tastings. Tasting from barrel is such a special part of a tasting experience and I often find it unfortunate that "regular" visitors don't get to do this at most wineries. I'm sure people feel priveliged when they visit Hearts & Hands. Though we didn't get to visit on our trip, Tom was so warm in offering to help find us a boat to take us fishing! It's clear that his hospitality extends in so many ways. I'm planning to come up again in the Fall, so hopefully we can come visit then! Tom, what are you guys doing in terms of fining practices?

Erika -

We look forward to your next visit up to the Finger Lakes. I hope we still have wine in the Fall to entertain your palate.

The 2006 Pinot Noir and 2007 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir were fined with two egg whites per barrel.

The Rieslings were fined with Drifine (isinglass).

The Brut Rosé was fined with bentonite.

Thanks for your questions!


Thanks Tom. Perfect!

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