Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Proud’

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Fresh from our green house

Fresh from our green house

Wine? What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines? Part 3 Final

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

As part of R “Ask the Ohio Wine and More Blog” series. Amber from The Karcher Group (TKG, R web host) asked the title question for this blog post. What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines?

Amber Mullen

Amber Mullen w/TKG, C! These people DO exist I'm not making this up!

If you look back to Dec. 27th you can see the first post about Native American Grapes as post #1 the second on Vinifera and here in Part three the French American Hybrid. Amber asked a BIG question!

Before you just read this post please review the Dec. 27th post to understand the context I am answering this question in. I am trying to be brief and too the point. I took the following from Wikipedia, it says it very well.

Merzling grape

The hybrid grape Merzling created by a crossing Seyve-Villard 5276 with a cross Riesling x Pinot Gris.

During the first half of the 20th century, various breeding programs were developed in an attempt to deal with the consequences of the Phylloxera louse, which was responsible for the destruction of European vineyards from 1863 onwards. After extensive attempts, grafting European varieties onto North American rootstock proved to be the most successful method of dealing with the problem.

However, hybrid grape varieties were introduced as a solution to many of the viticultural problems of cooler and more humid wine regions, such as those in the northeast of North America. From the 1950s onwards, grape varieties such as De Chaunac, Baco noir, Marechal Foch, Vidal, etc. have been a staple of the wine industries in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, etc. Only since the 1970s and 1980s have vinifera varieties begun to displace hybrid grapes in this area. Even in those areas where vitis vinifera now predominates, hybrid varieties still have “cult following” with some wine consumers. Furthermore, in some cases hybrid grapes are used to produce unique and exceptional products; for example, ice wine produced from Vidal blanc or Vignoles in Ontario and New York.

Round baling Hay

Round baling Hay

But you asked me the question so how does that effect us? At Maize Valley we farm about 800+ acres from Garlic to Green Beans and Alfalfa to Tomatoes about 50 different crops and grapes too. We have a multitude of different soil types and topographies.

"Organic" Muck soils

Our "Organic" Muck soils

We have messed around with a few varieties of grapes and currently have some Native American Concord and Catawba. Seen here below.

Catawbwa

Catabwa

But our work horses’ are turning out to be our La Crescent, Frontenac and Frontenac Gris all French American Hybrids developed in the Minnesota….eh!

La Crescent

Our La Crescent

This particular white grape makes a very bright clean fruit forward wine that has nice flora notes and a citrus like finish. We grow it on a sandy nob in one field just about 100 yards west of that picture of black soil above. You are welcome to go out and visit this field if you make a trip out to the winery. It is about 200 yards behind and about 400 yard to the East of the main building.

Replanting dead plants

Replanting dead plants

We also experimented with the Vinifera grape Riesling and Pino Gris without much success. We could get them to grow just fine throughout the summer but 2 yrs. in a row they died back to the snow line. We could keep trying but we are going to rip those plants out and plant another Hybrid because while we might sooner or later get a crop we can’t tie up valuable acreage and labor caring for a crop we might only get every three years and then not sure if it will be very good.

My lovely wife Michelle!

My lovely wife Michelle!

So there ya go Amber, Native American grapes mostly the sweeter wines, Vinifers’ can be sweet but lend themselves to dryer more full bodied wines but needed the root stock of the other to survive, and the Hybrids sort of fill in the middle and take up the slack and can flex a bit and survive best in a variety of locations.

B sure to enjoy it with friends!

B sure to enjoy it with friends!

But most of all remember you can always go back and get more wine but you can never go back a make more time!

Wine? What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines? Part 2

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Part 2 of a pretty substantial question:

As part of R “Ask the Ohio Wine and More Blog” series. Amber from The Karcher Group (TKG, R web host) asked the title question for this blog post. What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines?

Part 1 sort “frames” my response if some of this seems not as complete as I could be.

Last post on this thread we took a pass at the Native American Grapes Vitis Labrusca. We then ended with mentioning the vinifera grape –

Vinifera

Vinifera

Common European grape cultivated in many varieties; chief source of Old World wine and table grapes. These grapes are what most people think of when they think “wine grapes”. This is so because most of these varieties originated in Greater Europe/Mediterranean regions.

Chardonnay grape leaf

Chardonnay grape leaf

They have a rich history dating back thousands of years compared to our “Native American” grapes. In fact many of the first European settler’s were quite excited to see the New World’s coast lines covered with grapes from the decks of their ships. But they were very disappointed when the came ashore only to find they were very different compared to what they were used to dealing with.

Cabernet Sauvignon  grape leaf

Cabernet Sauvignon grape leaf

Settlers from the “old country” were used to these types of grapes. Much of the wine industry and common practices involving grapes and wine that were in place at the time the United States were being formed primarily used these grapes as well.

Pinot grape leaf

Pinot grape leaf

But then things changed. A lot of what kept grape and wine production going over the centuries in Europe through it’s volatile history had a lot to do with religion and various groups who made it a priority or not. Monks had great influence increasing cultivation. Other religions in the Middle East set it back. The dark ages, The Renascence, the Roman Empire all these things came into play.

Merlot grape leaf

Merlot grape leaf

Each region developed it’s own identity and over time an “art” in making wine. This had to do with many factors such as soil type, topography, climate and other factors came together to form what is called “terroir”. Wines were defined by where they came from and you were only permitted to grow certain types in certain locations, which is still true today in some places.

Terroir

Terroir

As wine increasingly became more of a science and consumer demand had more influence on the marketplace, things changed. We now call wines more by what they are than who grew them or where they came from. This has given the United States and other countries an advantage compared to centuries past and has “democratized” the whole wine experience.

Beer, Food, Wine, Ammo sorta saz it all!

Beer, Food, Wine, Ammo sorta saz it all!

Vinifera grapes can be made sweet but in general lend themselves to make dry wines better than Native American grapes. But as national sales show most wines sold are sweet wines so there needs to be a balance when it come to staying in business as a winery. We make several award winning, awesome dry red wines made from Vinifera grapes but our number one selling wine is a sweet red made from the Concord Grape.

Red Neck Red

You have to also consider that laws dictate how wines can be made. For instance in California you are not permitted to add sugar to wine to make it sweeter. In certain countries they tell you what you can plant based on where you farm. Then the Vinifera were not native to America and pests and diseases had their say. Grape phylloxera is a little sap sucking bug that gets after the plant and works it over and allows other pathogens and such to destroy the plants. This got back to Europe and caused a whole world of hurt in the 19th century, but that is a whole other story.

Grape phylloxera

Grape phylloxera

You can grow Vinifera in very well in certain regions of the United States, mostly California and some other Western states. But the locations in Ohio are few and far between and even when everything goes right the quality is often times less than that of regions with a more suitable consistent climate. Riesling and a select few other grapes all mostly “white” are probably the exception. American’s do not like inconsistency, to a wine maker it is an “interesting challenge”, to the consumer it’s “not how I remember it”.

So I know that doesn’t cover all the bases here but a brief overview of two types of grapes used for wine production. Next post we will take a stab at what is called the “French American Hybrid”.

Wine? “Real” Cork or “plastic” Corks what’s the diff??

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

As part of our “Wine questions series” from our web Host The Karcher Group (TKG) Jen asked “What’s the difference between cork and plastic wine bottle closures?”

Cork tree

Cork tree

Making or growing “real” cork takes a LONG time! The cork grows in oak forests in Portugal. The cork actually comes from the bark and cannot be stripped until they are twenty-five years old.

Cork!

Cork!

The trees can only be stripped once every nine years after the first stripping, and it takes to the third stripping to get to wine cork quality! Demand for cork is increasing, the prices are rising. This is where the synthetic or what many people call “plastic” cork comes in.

Mad Cow cork

Synthetic Mad Cow cork

The synthetic cork appeared in 1993 and they cost about seven cents each while natural cork is 13 to 75 cents each. Natural cork seals better but can give way to “cork taint” or TCA. Synthetic corks are only being used on bottles that are to be consumed with five years or less.

TCA is trichloroanisole results from the interaction of of mold, chlorine and phenols in cork. These chemicals are found in all plants. TCA produces a dark and moldy smell with the flavor of cardboard. Wines that develop TCA are often called “corked” wines. About 5% of all wines develop TCA, you just never know.

Chemical structure of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the compound primarily responsible for cork taint

Chemical structure of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the compound primarily responsible for cork taint

The screw cap is another option. The screw cap is fitted on to bottles and is quickly gaining popularity as it prevents TCA and air completely. Some people don’t like the caps because unscrewing the top takes away from the experience of drinking a bottle of wine. But they really seem to work. The machinery to use screw caps is pretty expensive for smaller wineries to implement also.

Screw cap wine cap

Screw cap wine cap

We use both kinds of corks at Maize Valley. On our dry reds and some of our dry whites we use real cork. Our fast sellers all get synthetic, our “Mad Cow” cork is highly sought after at events and in the winery.

Bottom line is if you don’t plan on keeping a wine long do not worry about synthetic corks.

If the appearance of cork when serving the wine is important it’s cool, just be aware you do stand a greater chance for that wine to be tainted. We will probably switch to screw caps as soon as we can justify the investment, that’s what I would buy no matter what the end use of the wine.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Remember you can always go back and get more wine but you can never go back and make more time!

Vineyard…Rounding 3rd headed 4 Home

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Farmer Bill back at the blog helm, kids busy back in school. Well the vineyard has come into its own. This is its 4th fall and it is cranking this year. What we picked in 1 day last year is now into its 5th day of picking in 2011 at Maize Valley.

Wow what a crop

Wow what a crop

Frontenac reflects the best characteristics of its parents, V. riparia 89 and the French hybrid Landot 4511. This vine has borne a full crop after temperatures as low as -33ºF when properly cared for. It’s very disease resistant, with near-immunity to downy mildew. Frontenac is a consistently heavy producer, with small, black berries in medium to large clusters.

Frontenac Grapes

Frontenac Grapes

Wine Profile

Frontenac’s deep garnet color complements its distinctive cherry aroma and inviting palate of blackberry, black currant, and plum. This versatile grape can be made into a variety of wine styles, including rosé, red, and port.

Todd plays with the new Crusher/Destemer

Todd plays with the new Crusher/Destemer

Crusher-destemmers are used for bulk processing of grapes during harvest in preparation for pressing or primary fermentation. The crushers utilize a set of aluminum rollers that crush and break the skins to release the juice and allow the breakdown of the remaining pulp. A screw feeder moves the grapes to the rollers to begin crushing, dropping the skins and pulp onto a perforated grid, while a shaft with paddles causes the stems to be separated from the grape clusters which are then expelled to the side of the crusher. The rollers should be adjusted to properly crush and break the skins while avoiding bruising or abrading the skins which would release phenols and excess tannin, thus adding astringency to the must and the final product. White grapes are crushed before pressing, while red grapes are crushed for immediate fermentation to maximize yield of tannins and flavors, then pressed after the skins and pulp are broken down by the fermentation process.

LaCrescent grapes going into the the Crusher/Destemmer

LaCrescent grapes going into the the Crusher/Destemmer

La Crescent combines St. Pepin and a Swenson selection from V. riparia x Muscat Hamburg. With this hardy heritage, trunks have survived a frigid -34°F when well cared for in good vineyard sites. Moderately disease resistant, leaves sometimes exhibit downy mildew, which can be controlled with a standard spray program. Proper conditions and care result in very productive harvests.

Just the stems Mamm, Just the stems

Just the stems Mamm, Just the stems

Wine Profile

La Crescent’s intense nose of apricot, peach, and citrus lends itself to superior quality off-dry or sweet white wines. Produced in a Germanic style, La Crescent wine is reminiscent of Vignoles or Riesling. The grape’s high acidity provides good structure for excellent dessert or late-harvest style wines.

Fall is sorta like a blur to us

Fall is sorta like a blur to us

Props for the info above from the University of Minnesota (http://www.grapes.umn.edu/lac/index.html)

Vintage Ohio… It’s time to get your wine on………!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Maize Valley Returns to Vintage Ohio for 2011!!

Maize Valley at Vintage Ohio

Maize Valley at Vintage Ohio

It’s time to get your wine on………! The Midwest’s largest and best known wine and food festival is just around the corner. Twenty five wineries from every corner of the state attend this gala event.

And the're off!!!

And the're off!!!

Exceptional food [note the menus from Cleveland’s own Gourmet Food Trucks], 3 stages of live music, Friday fireworks, a cooking stage and educational seminars by the American Wine society, all amid huge oak trees and the rolling grassy fields at the Lake Farmpark. Full details are listed at http://www.visitvintageohio.com/ So plan a little getaway.

Look for the "Circle MV"

Look for the "Circle MV"

Tell the boss that Friday August 5 you have ‘important’ plans — or forget mowing the grass on Saturday, August 6th. Hop in the car and spend a wonderful weekend with your friends from Maize Valley and all of their fellow winemakers. Order on line at http://www.visitvintageohio.com/or call 800-227-6972 to save by purchasing your tickets in advance. August 5th and 6th from 1 til 10 pm each day.

Michelle says Come on by!

Michelle says Come on by!

See you at Vintage Ohio!

There are three kinds of lies…‘Sexy Forever – How to Fight Fat After Forty,’

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Ohio wine and more talking beef and pigs? Yes we are a winery, and farm market but we still raise a few animals yet now and then to see previous blog post. Along with growing grapes and making wine we grow lots of food too. Today people are more concerned where their food comes from and how it is raised. That is good, it can only lead to more healthy choices being made! But they also need good and balanced info. Good accurate science balanced with passion to take greater responsiblity is a great combination.

The first six words above are a quotation which is often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th century British Prime Minister. The source for this view is the autobiography of Mark Twain, where he makes that attribution. Nevertheless, no version of this quotation has been found in any of Disraeli’s published works or letters. The earliest reference yet found anywhere is to a speech made by Leonard H. Courtney, (1832-1918), later Lord Courtney, in New York in 1895:

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

‘After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, “Lies – damn lies – and statistics,” still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of.’

There’s no indication that by ‘Wise Statesman’ Courtney was referring to any specific person, although it may be that Twain thought that he meant Disraeli.

The next eight words are from the famous health expert, Suzanne Somers….‘Sexy Forever – How to Fight Fat After Forty,’

I don’t often “recycle blogs” but after the whole “vacine scare” which rerouted and misdirected tons of resources as well as indirectly gave whopping cough a new foothold to work off of. Having a son with many Autistic behaviors we have looked at this you might say “from both sides now”.

I caught this blog via some of my agricutural blog buddies and thought it was worth reposting.

http://purplepoke.blogspot.com/2011/01/today-shows-ag-love.html

I am not saying either side is 100% right but we in agriculture get smacked everyday square in the face of what I call the “physics of life” where common sense along with a good education and information are the necessary tools of survival.

When nut case celebrities confuse passion and book sales with communicating a accurate and useful message it just drives me nuts! Thank you to NBC and Natalie Morales of the Today Show for having the integrity to not just nod their heads like a bobble head doll which happens all too often when some “public figure” comes along with “all the answers”. And oh yea, it’s in my book!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maize Valley is Re-Loading for 2011!

Friday, January 7th, 2011
Stomp the Grapes 2010

Stomp the Grapes 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

2010 was a great year at Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery, thank you! We really mean that. We are a family farm business that has been making a living with the soil since the 1800’s. Throughout all those year’s my wife’s family the Vaughan’s have been leather tanners, school teachers, carpenters, and all along farmers. You see you just did what you had to do to survive. As Dorie says in finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

We grow about 52 different crops on about 700 acres but the most important crop is fun! Fun = memories and we try and build special events that cement those memories and last a lifetime. Our event calendar is loading up for 2011. We are working on making new events and adding and improving old ones too.

Look for our Vines, Wines, and Pines, cross country race to expand to include a “Farmathlon”, yea it’s gonna be cool! We are working on the half marathon and with any luck will be able to handle the expected growth up towards 2,000 runners.

The Pink Poker Run to raise money for Susan G. Komen 3 day for the cure will be back with a “Bike Rodeo” on the back side of it and hog roast.

We are pulling the plug on the Haunted corn maze and will be planting pumpkins in that area and making the woods part of the wagon ride paths. Plus the Pony Express is going to make it’s way back into the Corn Maze design.

The cane burning Par-Tay is gonna have a bigger pile, the monthly “Vintner Dinner” series keeps selling out so look for some new ideas coming there, the cruise-ins’ are every week starting in May and well wait to ya see the giant Hill-Slide we are building…..! Whew, and that’s not all! Stay Tuned!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!

Can’t U smell that smell????

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Liquid storage tank

Liquid storage tank

Applicator Truck

Applicator Truck as it distributes material

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

No this isn’t “that” smell, but this smell can surround you!

One of the most important things to growing good crops is fertility managment. Plants absorb nutrients at the ionic level based apon a variety of factors. When trying to grow good crops it is very much like trying to always solve a problem to improve your production. When doing so you must first solve for your first “limiting factor” or the first thing that is holding you back just as in any given situation.

You can’t fix the big problem unless you solve the first thing that is holding you back. Think of it as a bucket (the field) with holes in it that you are trying to fill with water (crop yield = $$). You fix the holes closest to the bottom of the bucket first and work your way up the bucket all the time it holds more water.

Often times in growing crops it is not so much “how much” you have of any given nutrient that makes or breaks the production but rather the realative relationship or balance that nutrients have to each other and their environment.

For instance sandy (or light) soils do not hold nutrients as well as soils with a high concentration of organic matter or clay (often called heavier soils). Knowing this helps you manage all of the inputs you will using to help produce a crop. On the flip side those sandy soils often dry out faster in the spring and warm faster as well, but are also have a greater risk of frost damage.

So you just try and keep all these variables in mind and try and find the best balance possible given your location. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to factor in the economic and environmental aspects as well….Wheeewww! No farming like any “profession” is not easy but nothing worth doing ever is!

Take Care.