Archive for May, 2009

Wine Bottling, a very basic look

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Maize Valley Reisling Wine Lable

Maize Valley Reisling Wine Lable

As I have mentioned before we are a small scale working farm and winery. Our equipment is not real fancy or state of the art, but it gets the job done for now. Many of the blog posts are just responses to questions I have been asked over the years. I try and think about what people tend to ask me then I write and shoot video of it.

In an earlier Blog posting I showed an overview or the bottling system we currently use. Today I broke it down more to show more of the individual steps we use in getting the wine from storage to the bottle.

Speaking of bottle, Boy do I have big news to share for next week with the results of the Ohio Wine Competition. I can’t say how it turned out but lets’ just say we are very happy!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Later

“>

No-Till planting, Conservation Tillage, Sustainable Agriculture.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Winter Rye "Burn Down"

Did I mention we are basically lazy?? Yea we try and do as little work as possible! Well maybe that is not entirely the case but we do try and get as much done with as little output as possible. You might say that is a strategy we use in some of our tillage practices. Get the job done using as few and the most economical inputs as possible.

The more pale or yellow part of the field has been sprayed, the dark green has not. Glyphosate acts as an amino acid inhibitor, or it prevents the plant from completing the photosynthesis process. The plant starves to death. This way of working or what is know as “Mode of Action”, is very specific to plants and very safe for just about everything else. However just as with anything else if not used responsibly resistance can begin to occur.

It’s cool we still get a crop but don’t have to work as hard. There are trade offs but where we can we try and conserve the soil as much as possible and still sustain our family farm. That is what I call Sustainable Agriculture!

“>

Vineyard vine update, buds, suckers and more

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
View down the row of our front vineyard

View down the row of our front vineyard

From the vines to the wines, we are getting busy! This time of year lots of things are starting to happen outside. We don’t have a real long growing season so the plants that live here need to get busy and get a lot done in a short period of time. Right now these plants just want to grow, sometimes too much.

A vineyard needs to be “Trained” into what you see it just doesn’t happen. We go over our vines as many as 6 times a year or more when they are young. The older they get in some respects the less work they become. Sort of like kids, well I guess that isn’t true either. Anyhow the work is just different when they are young and you are trying to get them on the right track in life….. gee maybe they are like my kids???

Here are a Couple short vids about what we are doing out in the vineyard right now.

“>

Entertainment, Food, Great Wine and More at Maize Valley!!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
LaCressant Bud looking for some sunshine

LaCressant Bud looking for some sunshine

Sorry for missing a few days here, been REAL busy in the field planting, spraying, getting Agri-Tourism stuff ready and all, just not enough time to blog away about it. As you can see by the pic the Buds are breaking, leaves are shaking, just more stuff happeing out there than I can keep up with and here I sit at a Keyboard!!! Yikes, Rut Row, and I could get it done if were not for those meddling kids…….oh sorry wrong story.

Real quick we had a great time in the Winery Cafe’ last weekend. Lots of folks hit our delicatessen hard Saturday both for take home and menu items, we had three tour buses in the afternoon then capped the night off with an awesome performance from Bongo Joe and Steve-O. They do a great Rockin’ Blues sound and are hear about once a month and will also be back for our 1st Blues Fest July 11th too! Check the vid below.

I’ll be back soon with stuff from the vineyard and farm. We moved the Corn maze Tower/Stairs yesterday and today and have pics of the move. Plus I put the kritters out on pasture today too, but got more work to do today yet.

Later

FT

Exceptional Olympics Awesome People doing Awesome things

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Mrs. Kathy Bolton of Washington Elementary, Marlington District

Mrs. Kathy Bolton of Washington Elementary, Marlington District

Opening Ceremonies for Stark Counties Exceptional Olympics

Opening Ceremonies for Stark Counties Exceptional Olympics

To be a family farm well, er’, I guess you have a family right??!! Well our son Brett is the last of our contibution to that effort at Maize Valley. He is part of a great class of students at one of our school district’s elementary school’s, Washington Elementary. Mr. Dan Swisher is the Principal there and along with a great team of instructors has helped our son and his classmates maximize their potentials!!

Every year the Mrs. Bolton’s and Dan Swisher’s along with a host of volunteers and staff members of Stark County put on the Exceptional Olympics for schools with similar programs in our county. This was the first year I took time away from my chores at the farm and went a took it all in. I was glad I did, it was a great day!

Getting our 1951 and 52′ Trucks ready to hit the road in 09′

Friday, May 8th, 2009

My 52' IS part of the family

My 52' IS part of the family

I like to find old things and give them new life. The house we live in my wife’s grandfather was born in, my 65′ Chevy came home from Arizona and no one loved it (it did look pretty rough, and my wife said “you want to fix that?”), and when I found a 1952 Ford F5 in a warehouse on the West Side of Cleveland a few years ago I could not pass it up.

My brother Tim went to look at it and it had 3434 original miles on it, original tires with probably original air in them too. She was covered in boxes and buried under picnic tables, garden hoses and had a big ole’ snow plow hanging on her front bumper. All the guys looking for a street rod were not interested in her so I took her home and gave her a new life.

She does parades, hauls produce, pulls trailers and now then we throw a couple of bales on the back let the kids climb on board and sneak out and get ice cream in her too! So if one is good two must be better right, wellllllll we are still working on that on. Here are few videos of this winters projects running into spring! Look for them at a farmers’ market near you!!

Hope you enjoy looking at them, look for more news as we get them ready to hit the road.

Bottling wine Today & Buying “Local”

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grapes

Grapes

We are just a little winery in the scope of the big dogs but the winery does help to make us more of a “Muscular” Agri-Tourism destnation. Ohio wine and more is just the story of a family farm, farm market and now winery “keeping it real” down on the farm.

On Wednesday my brother-in-law Todd assembled the crew and we put some wine in a bottle. Some of the wine they are bottling today is the first actual full run of our estate grown fruit from the summer of 08′. As I have mentioned we take a very broad look at our agricultural business. From growing peppers, melons, sweet corn and more to operating corn mazes and now producing and direct selling wine also. We farm about 700 acres still, down from about 3,000 8 years ago. It is plenty to keep us busy as you can see by the diversity of my posts.

When it comes to the wine part we first have the customer in mind. We produce what we perceive they desire. We measure that desire by what they like to buy. We are an Ohio winery that grows its own fruit, buys some Ohio local fruit and or sources the right fruit for the right wine where ever we find the best raw materials. There is no point in making a class of products that do not meet our guests expectations only to say that we grow it ourselves or sourced the inputs local. That is why we do not grow hardly any red grapes to be made into traditional Big Bold Dry Red wines. You are just at a competitive disadvantage when entering the marketplace. With limited resources we have to be careful where we chose to compete. So that is how we make variety selections when choosing what to grow or what to try and source local.

We buy local Elk meat from a local grower, local eggs from a man up the street, and we are soon to get in local goat cheese from a lady up in Ravenna. In addition to that we grow way too many veggies most years too, and many of our other packaged products are Ohio Proud partners. We hope to pair these products with our wine selections we produce and vertically integrate that into on site food sales in our cafe’. In order for us to remain competitive and have the largest positive economic footprint we can on our community we try a juggle a wide range of products and services for our guests.

I guess all I am saying is please buy local where it makes sense and your producer is trying to produce the best product possible to fit the need you have. Don’t buy local just because it is just “Local”. It’s about the competition, it makes us all better. Buy local from the vendor that uses it to balance their approach to the marketplace in such a way that they help to “bridge the gaps” that have the greatest impact on their community. Buy local from the marketer that has a vision and goals large enough to produce enough economic activity that they can sponsor the local kids’ sports team, can buy at the 4-H sale at the county fair, or have the ability to endow a college scholarship at the hometown high school.

Ohio Farm Market and Winery a quick look

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

As I have said the blog is Ohio Wine and MORE ! We are much more than a winery, just as enjoying wine or any beverage is much more than the product itself, but rather the people you share it with and the memories you build with them.

Let’s face it for all the fuss about “Big Bold Reds” etc. if you really want an alcoholic beverage with “body” search out and find a good Dark Beer! But that is just my call on that one. Wine by nature is just more delicate and suited for a different role in persons lives. And isn’t that what it is really all about, people? Yes you have to have a quality product but I like to always say you can always go back and buy more wine but you can’t go back and make more time.

I have been talking a great deal about what we “Do” in the spring time around the farm but have not mentioned our market where we sell most of it. The other day I shot a walk through video of our retail farm market, and tasting room. My camera is not the greatest when it comes to lighting so don’t think this is going to be showing up at the Sundance Film Fest. or anything.

Take Care and Hakuna Matata!!

Work in new vineyard

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

It was a LONG and COLD winter in Marlboro Twp. aka “Hartville” Ohio. We hit 18 below zero for more than a couple of days in a row and got hurt in the vineyard. Being new to this we took our time doing our summer work of unhilling our grafted root stock vines and are still finishing up some of that now.

A grafted root stock is a fruit plant that has a different root stock than upper part or “Scion”. The reason for doing this is a desired fruit plant (or in our case grape variety) might have a root system that is not well suited for the location or has vigor issues dealing with dieases or the like. So you put a root stock on that helps to avoid the disavantages and allows you to grow a plant that you have a market for. This is also done in apple trees and a lot of ornamental plants as well. Learn more about grafting by following this link

The disavantage is that in colder climates like Ohio’s you have to protect that graft “Union” between the stock and the scion from extreme weather conditions. We do that by hilling the soil up onto the union thereby mitigating some of the effects of that winter weather has on the grafted plant. There are other methods such as wood bark and staw mulch undergoing research and are being used in limited fashion as well. They are much easier to use but the jury is still out on how well they protect and there is some concern about pathogens growing in an organic medium around the base of the plant.

In the video we show Thad Metzger a High School Science teacher at Louisville High School helping us out by removing the soil from the union and seeing how we can through the winter. The variety he is working on is called Traminette. It is a French American Hybrid white grape well suited for Ohio. It is similar to a Gewurztraminer in many ways and makes a nice light, clean slightly sweet wine.

Getting Ready for 2009 Car Cruise In Season

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Brett helping Dad clean up "Barbara Ann"

Bar, Bar, Bar, Barbara Ann, yea that’s my car’s name. I am just 45 years young, but the Cadnum brothers who lived across the street from me growing up were a few years older than me and they were always those “cool older guys” a kid looked up to growing up. They always had cool cars from Chevelle SS’s to Z28’s to Impala’s so I just got started lovin the sound of a heavy cammed V-8, the smell of burning rubber, and the feeling Torque gives you as it shoves you back in the seat as the front end lifts up leaving a stop light. In short as they said in Top Gun “I feel the need, the need for speed” and no matter bikes or cars I gotta scratch that itch now and then.

Now I work a lot so I don’t get to cruise much and I use my car as a daily driver in the summer as much as possible. So I figured why not start a Cruise in myself. With that in mind we started the “Cruisein the Vines” car cruise at Maize Valley. EVERY Thursday evening from May 14th till September 24th we kick it out with crusin tune courtsey of Top Down D.J.’s great door prizes, 50/50 drawing, special cruiser food prices, wagon rides, barrel train rides, and later our pumpkin cannon shoot watermelons once in season. Yea we are a Winery with ADHD but we sure have a lot of fun too! We get between 50 to 300 cars depending upon the weather and time of year.

Our cruise, like most things we do, is a little different. We get as many if not more “specatator” cars as we do rods. Many times it is a cruiser’s family with grandkids and such who come out because we have such a mix of things for people to do for many generations. That way I like to think that grandma and grandpa can share their loves and hobbie with their whole family instead of just seeing a tarp covered car in the garage at Christmas.

We take wagon rides through the vineyard and surrounding fields and talk about the crops and what is growing around the farm too. And as I mentioned earlier when we get some plentiful ammo the cannon comes out and all the “gear heads” really love it. It is just as one sponser put it “Stupid Fun”. I’ll be telling you more about the cannon as the year goes along, think discovery channel type stuff.

This past weekend I got my ride out and duster her off for use this summer. My son Brett is Autistic, but when I said please go get the vacume to clean out the car he was “ON IT”! She has a lot of use on her anymore but still gets lots of looks and is fun to drive but most of all my kids love her!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!!