Monday, October 5, 2009

crush to date

The premiere harvest for the winery is better than half done. It's been a challenging year for growers, and the volume of fruit reflects the realities of the growing season.
To deal with the shortfall in fruit, the board decided to buy about three tons of Merlot grapes from Virginia, and several hundred gallons of juice from New York.
The good news is we have enough local grapes to label it Maryland Wine, which regulations require a minimum of 75%.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Winery update

Hey all,

Upcoming winery events (working events, not the fun kind):

Villard Blanc - Joe will be picking and delivering his Villard Blanc today. Expecting delivery by late afternoon. Original harvest estimate was for around 1 ton. We should press it tonight unless we want to chill the fruit overnight (can be good thing to do) and press tomorrow (but I'm not available today until 6 pm and 4 pm on Thursday). Plan is: press - settle 24 hrs - rack - inoculate.

Chambourcin - Doug brought 9 lugs over yesterday - sitting in the chiller (our barrel room now has full cooling capability). He plans to have the rest harvested today and delivered this evening. Might have about 1500 lbs. This will get crushed and put into a bin for fermentation. I would rather not chill these grapes too much since it would take a long time to get the crushed grapes back up to temperature to get the fermentation kicked-off. Would be ok to let them sit for a day on the 60-65 deg production floor.

Today I won't be able to get to the winey until about 6 pm (trying to reschedule other things to get there earlier if I can). Thursday I would be able to get there around my usual time of 4 pm.

Chardonnay - It is looking like the Chardonnay will be picked Saturday - if it comes in too late in the afternoon or evening, we should let it chill overnight and then press it Sunday morning (ideally it is best to let the whites chill down to 50-55 before pressing anyway). Two tons would require two press loads. With a 2-3 hrs pressing time per press load and at least an hour cleanup time, I don't really want to be there until midnight or later. We plan to barrel ferment the Chardonnay.

The two barrels of Chancellor will need racking sometime over the next few days - time permitting.

Btw, we now have 592 gallons of Vidal ferementing away.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Newsletter Premiere Issue

Our organization is a group of wine grape growers formed to advance value-added agriculture, encourage tourism, and continue the rich agricultural heritage of Southern Maryland. We are accomplishing these things using our combined energies and in cooperation with Leonardtown and St. Mary’s County governments to establish and operate the Port of Leonardtown Winery.

The Coop was formed in 2006 and currently consists of 16 members. There are nine board members, elected to three-year terms. The board meets the third Friday of each month to discuss issues, coordinate actions, and decide strategy.

Officers include:

President, Rich Fuller
Vice President, Caroline Baldwin
Secretary, David Wood
Treasurer, David Wood

There are currently six standing committees that are largely responsible for accomplishing the bulk of the work.

These are the committees and their current chairs:

Building/Facilities/Equipment/Licensing, Pat Isles
Capitalization & Finance, Caroline Baldwin
Regulation/Government Relations, Mary Wood
Membership/Growers, Mary Wood
Marketing/Sales, Rich Fuller
Operations, David Wood

Anyone, member or non-member, can serve on a committee. You are welcome and encouraged to contact any committee chair for more information.

Recent Coop accomplishments:
  1. The final document to satisfy the MOU between the Leonardtown and St. Mary’s County is completed and submitted. This was the last hurdle in the release of funds for the winery renovation!
  2. Winery equipment! The first major piece has been purchased: A crusher/de-stemmer bought from Boxwood Winery in Virginia. It was used one season and the Coop got a great price on a critical piece of equipment.
  3. Matching grant funding from MARBIDCO has been confirmed. The Coop was able to generate matching funds through the Certificate Sponsorship Program developed by the Capitalization & Finance Committee. The program is an opportunity for individuals to participate in our enterprise and to guarantee themselves an allotment of POL Wine for years to come.
  4. Several local growers have been identified and expressed interest in joining the Coop. The membership committee is actively pursuing these prospective members.

Current activities:
  1. Winery construction! If you have driven past the building recently then you’ve seen the big changes taking place. The doors are removed and the interior is gutted. You can see straight through the building from Rt. 5. The floor is now torn up to install the plumbing before a new floor gets poured.
  2. Aside from construction, the Facilities committee is lining up all sorts of items needed to receive grapes this year: Presses, barrels, tanks, and more.
  3. The legislative landscape is challenging for Maryland wineries, and the Coop is actively tracking bills, talking with legislators, and coordinating with the Maryland Wineries Association to promote our interests. HB 1272, a bill that could have been potentially damaging, was withdrawn and will now go to summer study. The work is not done on this one.
  4. The process for federal wine manufacturing licensing has started.

Members and friends are working on many fronts to have the winery ready to receive grapes this fall. Don’t hesitate to contact officers and committee leads with questions, concerns, observations, or information. You can expect to see future issues of this newsletter to keep you informed.

- Gerald Byrne, Editor

Monday, January 19, 2009

Moving right along!

We continue to make progress towards our goal of opening the winery in 2009. We are now going to present our Capitalization Program to our members on Friday 23 Jan at our usual meeting place and time. The Program is designed to bring us in the funding we need to obtain commercial funding and state grant/loan to enable us to operate the winery from turn key until about May or June when we will begin selling our first wines. We have been working hard to reduce costs and think that we are about at the "bottom line" now. Pat has reviewed the list of equipment and identified some that can migrate over to the operational budget and that will help us with our start up costs. Still have to pay for it, just comes from a different line item is all. See you all Friday I hope!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a solid vessel, a sturdy crew.

Here's a look at the logo. We're a winery!