Summer Market Salad

This salad comes “in season” the end of July when you can get both fresh corn and blueberries at the farmer’s market! Then pick your spring blossoms before they finally surrender to the summer heat and add them for a special touch. Save any white wine past its prime for the salad dressing.
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3 heads romaine lettuce
2 ears of corn
1 cucumber sliced, quartered
1 c. blueberries
1/2 c. pecan halves
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
edible flowers
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Cook ears of corn, let cool and cut from cob. Wash and chop lettuce. Add all other ingredients finally garnishing with edible flowers such as violas or pansies.
Serves 3-4.

White Wine Poppyseed Dressing:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. white wine
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Lentil Soup

Enjoy this nutritious bowl of comfort when the weather is chilly.

This soup’s spicy warmth pairs with our Apple Spice wine.

1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp. of vegetable oil
(seasoning mix:)
* 5 tsp. onion power
* 2 tsp. coriander
* 1-1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. minced dried garlic
* 1 tsp. dried cilantro or parsley
* 1/2 tsp. allspice
* 1/4 tsp. black pepper
10 c. hot water
8 oz. dried lentil beans (1/2 bag)
2 tbsp. orzo pasta (optional)
fresh spinach, stems removed


On low heat, add onions and celery to a soup pot and sweat out the moisture. Add 1 tbsp. of oil and cook slowly until onions become clear. Stir in seasoning mix. Add water and bring to a boil. Prepare lentils by rinsing in a colander being careful to remove any foreign material. Add lentils to boiling pot and cook on medium heat until beans are tender. Skim off any brown foam. Add orzo pasta and a handful of fresh spinach. Soup is ready to eat when the pasta is tender.

Pick a Pumpkin, Pick a Color

…then pick a glass of wine to sip while painting!

Ceramic painting takes both planning and faith since the raw glaze is often quite a different color than the finished product. We are so thankful for the beautiful fall evening we had for hosting the Kiln Creations event. It was a pleasure to see some old friends and meet some new ones. We look forward to a similar event in the spring.

The Vineyard Journal

Grapevines hold many lessons for life…
and I am overwhelmed daily by the beauty of creation and the wisdom of its rhythms. The Vineyard Journal contains my occasional jottings regarding the growth and care of our humble two-acre vineyard. My comments also venture toward other crops, flowers and fauna, recipes, new wine releases, events, off-site wine experiences, along with a few philosophical side trips Although the names of family and friends are downplayed for their privacy, we treasure every soul who is a part of the vineyard. Come…watch us grow.

Say Yes to the Mess

Trying out some new gadgets for cleaning up

Harvest days are fun and rewarding. But at some point, everything that went into the fermentation tank must come out and those days are long and messy. White grapes are pressed off their skins at harvest and dealt with promptly. The red grapes, however, are fermented on their skins to extract a desired amount of color and tannin. This year we pumped the young Concord wine from the high valve shown. Seeds have settled below the valve. The skins, having risen to the top, gradually ride down as the wine level drops during pumping. When the manway is opened, a deep layer of skins is revealed now resting on top of the seed layer. In the photo above, I am trying out some new gadgets. A sanitary plastic shovel cuts into the cake of skins and is a good tool for starting but I found myself reaching for the flat rake to finish. A bag of sleeve protectors were a gift from my brother-in-law, Paul, which were comfortable and could easily be changed throughout the day. And yes, those are puppy pads on the floor. We use them to absorb big spills.

Fried Sweet Corn

Stir up this late-summer feast with treasures from the farmer’s market.
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3 ears of fresh corn
1 green pepper
1 yellow squash
1 can of red kidney beans
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
fresh cilantro
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Carve corn off the cob. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat and add corn, stirring occasionally. Slice green peppers lengthwise. Slice squash into 1/8″ slices and halve. Add vegetables and beans to corn mixture. Add seasoning, stir and cover until squash is tender. The red pepper flakes add a spicy heat and can be omitted or substituted for a smaller amount of ground cayenne pepper. Add fresh cilantro to taste. Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish.

A “Sip and Paint” Class

Photo by Kiln Creations, Noblesville, Indiana

September 30th 2020, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Join us here on a pleasant autumn evening for a fun, outdoor and socially-distanced event. As part of their “Sip and Paint” series, we welcome Kiln Creations as they present a class titled “Sip and Pumpkin.”
The $40 class fee includes:

  • One medium ceramic pumpkin
  • One small ceramic pumpkin
  • All of the paint and instructions to make these beautiful masterpieces
  • Your first glass of wine or a Pick 4 Sampler

We will paint together, then your pumpkins will be taken to the ceramic shop for a short dip in a hot kiln. You will be notified when they are ready for pick up at Kiln Creations, 60 N 9th St in downtown Noblesville. For tickets follow the link below and clip on the “Sip and Pumpkin” event.

https://www.kilncreations.net/book-now

There are no refunds for this event. Should you need to cancel, Kiln Creations will send you a gift certificate to redeem in their store.

Picking a Picking Day

Clipped clusters await testing for sugar development and acidity.

The grape harvest involves a lot of hard work by many people, but I have often felt the most difficult task of the harvest for me is picking the day. There are so many elements to consider. The grapes need to be ripe enough but not endangered by birds or too much rain. Then the weather needs to cooperate providing a window of dry and preferably “not sweltering” conditions. But most importantly, we need to assemble a crew of folks available to help.

Once the sugar and acid tests begin, we can better anticipate ripeness and the effects of weather patterns. For many excruciating days, I imagine a thousand scenarios but I eventually I am forced to action. Starting with crush pad workers, I send out “feeler” messages asking the potential crew members about their availability between this and that date. As the responses trickle back, a consensus forms and with a final nod from the weather man, the final answer emerges. Picking day is announced!

Unfortunately, there are always some who are available some days but ultimately not the day chosen…and I hate that! It’s the hardest part of the process to not be able in include everyone who is willing to help. I always hope the next variety will work out for them or maybe even next year. I would love to have you join the crew and experience picking day for yourself. Please send me an email if you’re interested!

Coronavirus Response – Day 157

Breaker, Breaker One-Nine. How ’bout cha good buddy? You got your mask on?

For five Saturdays this summer, we were open for wine tasting and tried to establish a new normal in operations. This included my wearing of a face covering (as Brian demonstrates above) and gloves during the preparation of a disposable self-contained set of wine selection samples. Limiting our table seating to outdoors was already normal for us and adding a one-way traffic flow was easy enough. A few of these days had a heat index approaching 100, but we were happy to be open and provide an opportunity to distance in a social setting.

Then the governor’s plan to reopen in stages stalled out. Instead of proceeding to Stage 5 on July 4th, the governor inserted Stage 4.5 that held us at 50% capacity and then issued a mask mandate for all visitors of public places. His order was in response to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations across Indiana. In more detail, the Indianapolis mayor retracted the opening of bars and nightclubs, restricting a few wineries in the process.

I am not being critical of the leadership. In fact, I appreciate their courage to make the hard decisions, but this left us in an awkward position.

Adjacent to Marion County, we could still operate…so that’s good. But we are just a few miles from Indianapolis – an area determined to be high risk…so that’s bad. After much consideration, we decided to take a step backward and again suspend our tastings and outdoor table service starting July 25th. Our current compromise includes party hosting under the new mask mandate plus a few other restrictions. Curbside pick-up continues on Saturdays for customers who call ahead. We feel having an appointment helps us guarantee a safe setting for an expected number of people. For now, this compromise is where your safety, our own comfort level, and the diminished demand for our services all meet. We look forward to better days!

Social-Distancing in the Vineyard

SPECIAL HOURS:
SATURDAY, AUGUST 29th 2020, 1-7 pm
SUNDAY, AUGUST 30th 2020, 1-7 pm


We love to have visitors take a tour through the vineyard any time of the year. But late August is the most colorful and rewarding. Although the winery has suspended tastings for most of the summer, we encourage folks to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the grapes at their peak. Some guests enjoy a guided tour with details about each variety growing here and how they are featured in our wines. Others prefer a private romantic stroll. The vineyard also provides the perfect place for a family conversation about where grapes come from and what wine is.

Concords are still ripening while the Swenson Reds and Prairie Stars are ready for harvest.
LaCrescent vines enjoyed a leafy year after the late freeze. The Norton block seems to have most of its primary shoots carrying fruit with only minimal freeze damage.