Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Winery’

Can you make wine from other things than grapes?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Hey it’s getting cold outside and this farmer has more time to cozy up to the keyboard! But so what, cuz a common problem among some bloggers, (me included) is writers block, or just plain running out of interesting things to say/write.

Add in the fact that I didn’t want to just ramble on and mono-log just to hear myself talk and sound like some sort of egoistical, “all that and a bag of chips” author of cyber space I hatched a plan!

I work with a web developer that hosts our web site, helps me manage our web social media accounts and does SEO (search engine optimization) for us. I’m young at 48 but if ya believe that their office is like pre-school!

The Karcher Group

The Karcher Group

They have ping-pong tables, squishy “brain-balls” to squeeze,

Karcher Brain Bucket

Karcher Brain Bucket

bean bag chairs, cool night club lighting, just a very contemporary place to work. I asked my account manager (yes they do use official sounding terms like that) to get me 20 questions that this staff/posse’ would have about what we do on the farm/winery/vineyard and they delivered! So now and then we will roll them out and use them to help me get over the blog-humps! We hope ya’ll enjoy too! 🙂

Ben asked: Can you make wine from other things than grapes?

YES you can! Is is just that juice from grapes is naturally suited for making wine and needs little adjustment before fermentation. Grapes supply enough sugar and the proper amount of acid to produce wines without adjusting them at all except fermenting. So what do you need to do if you want to make wine from something other than grapes?

Fruits other than grapes adjustments are almost always necessary but can be done. You need to know the following.
1) How much fruit needed per gallon.
2) How much available sugar there is and needs to be tested and adjusted.
3) What the juice’s acidity is and it needs to be tested and adjusted.
4) Yeast selection, you need to be sure the right food is there so it can do well during fermentation.

Strawberry Mulching

At Maize Valley our very 1st award winning wine was Strawberry. It was gold medal winner. But saying that we have not been able to replicate that since! It is HARD to do from berries (which we grow). The problem with many fruits is that their acids are too high or low, they don’t have enough sugar and often have lots of fiber and pulp compared to grapes. We can and still do carry a wide variety of fruit wines (our cranberry is to die for, and is one of the few fruit wines that is not overly sweet and pairs well with food) most of them tend to be on the sweeter side and have a less complex flavor profile comparability speaking.

Strawberries with blossoms

Strawberries with blossoms

Also cost is a BIG factor. Fruit production has been and continues to be geographically concentrated compared to years gone by. We also grow Raspberries on our farm at Maize Valley.

Add in recently discovered and widely publicized health benefits of take for instance Blueberry’s, and this fruit can cost significantly more than grapes and the market is more limited for fruit wines.

Blueberries

Blueberries

But I don’t ANYTHING beats the flavor of fresh Raspberries on a hot summer day!

An alternative to that is to make fruit (or other than grape wines) from juice concentrates. This can be done just fine. But this tends to make a product that is somewhat simple and lacks many of the characteristics many wine consumers seek out when selecting wine as their beverage of choice for whatever the occasion may be. But is you enjoy it that is just fine!

The point is like craft beers and other high end spirits, I suggest that you use wine as a wonderful journey. There are things we do to live but there are things we do that make life worth living. Wine lends itself to the latter. So spend some time with it get to know it, discover that there is an entire world of wine to explore grape and otherwise.

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

So What’s New this Fall At Maize Valley?? Well ya better sit down, this is gonna take a bit!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

U Can Call me….FRANK!

U can call me Frank!

U can call me Frank!

Ok so if you havn’t seen the movie “Cars” you may not know who the i’ll tempered Combine “Frank” is that chases Lightning and Mater across the field protecting his flock of tractors from the “Tractor Tipping Duo”!

My father in law requested the tailings fan

My father in law requested the tailings fan

Now I guess I just “think” different than other people??

My Son Brett lending a helping hand

My Son Brett lending a helping hand

Ya see some of the doctors say Brett is mildly “Autistic”. My “therapy” for him is to immerse him in hands on experiences that teach him to think and use all his senses to forge new pathways and live a full life. Farmer Bill’s take on a condition.

Parts and pieces parts

Parts and pieces parts

We will save all this stuff and haul it to the scrap yard this winter.

Looks like a Future ball pit if ya axe me!

Looks like a Future ball pit if ya axe me!

Slide, slide, everywhere a slide blockin' out the.....

Slide, slide, everywhere a slide blockin' out the.....

Wagon Rides, Pumpkins and so much more! :-)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This post is written by Bill Bakan, “Farmer Bill” the Fun TSAR at Maize Valley

Green Pumpkins!!

Green Pumpkins!!

Welcome to our pumpkin patch!! At Maize Valley we make a pretty decent claim at being Ohio’s most complete fall harvest destination. No we don’t have everything that everyone may have at other pumpkin patches or corn mazes but we have a pretty “complete mix”.

We are a diversified family farm that offers a monthly 5 course china plated, guided paired wine tasting dinner series called “Vintner Dinners” as well as wagon rides to the pumpkin patch for school groups and the general public.

Bridging the gap bewteen what could be seen as two completly seperate worlds is a whole host of other menu and activity options designed to take our guests through all the seasons and “Vintages” if you will, of their life.

"White" pumpkins early growth

"White" pumpkins early growth

Coming up is the fall harvest season, the end of a long year of work and joy. About 12 years ago I stepped into a corn field and killed the corn and thereby carving a design into the field in the shape of the Goodyear Blimp creating our first corn maze. There was no looking back but we did not stop there either.

Coming up this late summer and fall we have balloons lifting off, clam bakes, Pig races, coorporate group outings, car crushing metal dinasaours, a life flight helicopter landing, Motorcycle rally’s, car cruises, garlic festival and wine pours. The list is pretty extensive, It is just how we roll.

Farming about 700 acres and approx. 40-50 different crops helps to keep us “real” but at the same time keeps us flexible and diversified enough to not only survive but continue to grow over the past few years.

It hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth having ever is! 🙂

What did I do today? I cried…

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This post written by Bill Bakan, part of living is giving back to your community where you can. Sometimes with money, sometimes with your time, sometimes with both. We are a small family farm market and winery. This blog is about Ohio Wine but also more, it’s also about “how we roll”.

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

I am not a “joiner” I am a entrepreneur, sort of a loaner and when it comes to riding my motorcycles it has always been more about “escape” from people and the world. Just me, my ride and the road. But you see my Dad is WWII USMC soon to be 91 years on this planet and I am proud of that and wanted to find a way to show appreciation to those that stand for us. My Dad never encouraged us to go into the military he had done that and did not care to see us do it.

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

Today at the request of the family the Patriot Guard had a mission to honor a Marine that had returned home to his final resting place in Rittman Ohio. I had really no idea what I was in for. I joined the guard because I thought the protests that some groups were doing at military funerals to be disgusting. Today one came close to home and I was able to go. The guard’s duty is to provide a shield between these protests and the family if necessary. We are just to stand there with the stars and stripes just as the fallen service member had stood for us. No one came to protest, we just had to be there to honor this Marine’s service in peace, as it should be.

1st Patriot Guard Mission

1st Patriot Guard Mission

So I watched and learned and tried to not mess up, I was just one small volunteer trying to find a way to pay some sort of small honor to a Marine that had made the ultimate sacrifice and to give some comfort to his family. We waited, then stood guard, then we rode quite a long way from Brecksville Ohio to Rittman, without stopping. Along the way others stopped to let us pass at the bequest of a road guard of police officers. Many, many people stopped as we passed.

People stopped along on ramps, sidewalks, fire trucks on the overpasses and more.

We arrived at the National Cemetary in Rittman, we dismounted gathered the flags from our bikes and stood in a line along the path.

It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot with white puffy clouds against a bright blue sky and a slight breeze. It was a wonderful day to ride, but a real lousy reason.

Marines with white tops, black coats, blue pants with red strips and white belts were there too. Two Marines along the path in front of us, seven to carry the casket, seven to fire three shots each, one to call the orders, one to play taps. Hundreds of other law enforcement officers, the family, the Leatherneck nation, Rolling Thunder and more all under the sun of a stunning sky. What a beautiful day to be alive.

We stood in a line, we were not “playing” some game this was real, we were wanted there, we were asked. We were very close to the core of the purpose of the day, I was amazed. I wondered if this was how a citizen felt back in the time George Washington. I was just a man with no special reason to be there other than I felt I should do what I could to fill a hole in this line, I did so by “joining” this group.

Rittman

Rittman

I wore my vented nylon riding jacket, I did not really “fit in” amongst all the leather vests and other more traditional “Harley Davidson” style attire, I don’t ride a H-D, but I was welcome. I also wore dark sunglasses, and about half way through the ceremony I also wore tears.

And I’ll wear them again till they come home, and I can say “Welcome Home”.

Takin what life throws at me Part 4

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Takin what life throws at me is part of Ohio Wine and More Because this family farm, market and winery has two breast cancer survivors amongts its owners. Donna Vaughan and her daughter Michelle Bakan, these posts are by Michelle’s husband Bill.

Bill on "Snarles"

Bill on "Snarles"

Life truly is a journey. How you get through this journey, much like any other trip you take, depends on the roads you choose and the things you encounter along the way. Some roads get you there fast, some not so fast. Some of the people and places you meet and visit are good, others maybe not so much. But “fast and or good” at least on the surface may look like the best route, can also deprive you of some really interesting experiences along the way. Some force you to look at and deal with things you don’t see in the “fast lane”.

My Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure "mates"

My Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure "mates"

Now don’t get me wrong, given the choice of not hearing those words over the phone from my wife Michelle “I have cancer” would have been my prefered choice. But after you hear them you have to say, “ok, what’s next?” And begin your journey down a path you would not have choosen to take. That path led us to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure. This is a 60 mile 3 day experience that requires fund raising but is really about so much more.

Little Pink houses 4 U n me!

Little Pink houses 4 U n me!

2011 in Cleveland found Michelle walking with her brother in law Tim Bakan and Bill on Saftey Crew. If you are going to walk 60 miles in three days you MUST train or your body won’t do it. Trust me I know, I’ve seen it. SGK takes care of you if you can’t, but if you want to walk every step you need to prepare. And if you are a runner or “in good shape’ and think that will work, it might, but don’t necessarily count on it. It’s mostly about Feet. Feet, feet, feet, how many, many feet you meet. They need to be prepared, they need to have walked.

Aid station and pit stop

Aid station and pit stop

How do I know? As a member of the Safety Crew I had the priviledge of helping and seeing just about each and every one of the 950 walkers. We are different that most of the other 330 crew members in that respect, in that we see just about everybody sooner or later often multiple times. Each crew member and every they do job is important, we just got the “glory” job. Over three days you make friends, see struggles, and watch victories unfold.

"Crossing guards"

"Crossing guards"

We would leave out about a half hour before the first walker hits the road at about 6:30am, then we as a group escourted the last walker in the gate about 13 hours later. Our job is to keep them safe, but also so much more.

The long pink line

The long pink line

Over the next few blog posts I’ll lay out how these three days unfolded for me. Because you often hear about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure but until you have lived it or had a very in depth explaination of what it is, you cannont begin to understand it. It starts with a promise, because everyone deserves a lifetime.

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!

Cara’s 1st blog post!!! a day @ the roadside stand

Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Cara and little Bro Brett getting started!
Cara and little Bro Brett getting started!

So what is coming up down on the farm you ask? All kinds of things my Dad says it’s been a tough start to the year with all the rain but things are sort of catching up now. I turn 18 next month but I have already been selling produce grow on our family farm for Half my Life!!!

Grandpa Kay cultivating beans

Grandpa Kay cultivating beans

This blog’s name is “Ohio Wine and More” yes my family owns and operated a winery and a vineyard but it is so much, well “More”! For me growing up a “Farmer’s Daughter” has meant

Wordless Wednesday!!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Got Ur Q.R. code?

Got Ur Q.R. code?

“Lettuce” show U what we do! Oh I crack myself up sometimes

Monday, April 4th, 2011

About a day before I shot the video of making the raised beds in the greenhouse from the former blog post they had just finished planting some lettuce with our “oh so cute” little planter.

John Deere 1020 and our "mini-planter"

At Maize Valley we used to farm about 3,000 acres and had all the “big equipment” that went with it. Combines, semi trucks, custom applicators, etc. etc. Many machines have come and gone but the little ole’ tractor in the pic above was my wife Michelle grandfather’s tractor. Ethan Rohr was his name and he along with her Grandmother Bernice who is still kicking at about 98yrs+ young lived about 100 yards down the road from our home in what was our dairy farm.

BIG three row planter!!!!

BIG three row planter!!!!

I guess my point is we are very much blend of the old and the new and we are always changing. Farming is tough and many don’t make it, but you have to be smart too just like any other like of work. This planter is as about as far as you can get from our old days with a 12 row corn planter and still be farming.

Soil in greenhouse after planting was done

Soil in greenhouse after planting was done

There is so much “hand-wringing” now about how tough the economy is. Well yea, but we would be unemployed too if we had not had the will to change and re-train ourselves to think differently in how we grew stuff and how we sold it. We had to change and it was tough, we had to learn new skills and adapt to evolving landscape that we were invested in.

I’ll try and do my best to follow this crop along this spring for you.

Wordless Wednesday: Equipment work

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Prepping equipment for spring work

Prepping equipment for spring work