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Jul 06

Guest Post: Fun with Tasting Notes

Here’s a fun post from guest contributor Nancy Bentley of Kinkead Ridge Vineyard in Ripley, OH.

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Wine labels. As I wrote the wine label text for the 2008 Kinkead Ridge reds and 2009 Kinkead Ridge whites, I found this hilarious web site to generate silly tasting notes.

Go visit the Silly Tasting Note Generator and scroll to the bottom of the page. Select Make a New Note and generate tasting notes like these.

“Rounded but equally over-oaked Merlot. Forcefully bites you with hair-spray, morally superior slim jims and traces of orange jello. Drink now through 2011.”

“Ready to drink and overdone Syrah. Essences of prune, acidic monster carrot and scant clay. Drink now through whenever the cows come home.”

“Intense but lackluster Cabernet. Reminiscent of peach-pit, arcane seedless watermelon and dainty beef. Drink now through 2012.”
“Creepy and whimsical Rose. Starts with pear, limp bourbon and semi-weak toast. Drink now through April.”

“Rich and smokey almost unripe Gamay. Detectable toast, middle-aged lime and corpulent juniper. Drink now through never.”

Have fun!

– Nancy Bentley

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:01 am in Games, Guest Writers, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jun 28

Guest Post: A Year in a Vineyard

Here is another guest post from contributor Nancy Bentley, co-owner of the wonderful Kinkead Ridge Winery in Ripley, OH.
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Have you ever wondered about a typical year at an estate vineyard and small boutique winery? Since 2007, Kinkead Ridge winery in Ripley has been uploading video to youtube. The main movie, which has been viewed over 16,000 times, is called “A Vineyard Year” and details what happens from pruning through bottling through harvest.

Another video, “The Romance of the Vineyard” (tongue in cheek!)  was a finalist in the Wine Spectator’s first video contest, and my prize was a ticket to the New York Wine Experience in Times Square.

There are approximately 40 very short “mini-movies” that show specific tasks, e.g. punchdown, post pounding, bottling, barrel movement, the flail mower, cane pruning, vine tucking and tying, bottle delivery, hedging and more. Grab a glass of wine, go to youtube.com, search for “Kinkead Ridge” and have fun!

Kinkead Ridge continues to garner international recognition, and will be featured in Opus Vino, an illustrated wine reference book to be published by Dorling Kindersley, who specialize in full-color reference publishing. The books are translated into all major languages and distributed throughout the world. Opus Vino is due for publication in the UK, US and Australia in October 2010, with foreign language editions in 2011 and 2012.

– Nancy Bentley

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Guest Writers, Local Wineries, Wine Misc, Wineries | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 16

Guest Post Op-Ed: A Little Bit of Legislature

This guest post is from Nancy Bentley, co-owner of Kinkead Ridge Winery in Ripley, OH.

An editorial note: I try very hard as a blogger to stay apolitical. However, I do not require this of my guest bloggers. Nancy’s post expresses her personal feelings about some legislative issues affecting agriculture in Ohio and is a legitimate Opinion piece. I invite you to express your own feelings about the legislature in the comments or by contacting Nancy.

– M


It makes me laugh how the Wall Street Journal continually posts ads from the state of Ohio suggesting what a great state Ohio is to start a business. In 1999, we relocated from a highly successful vineyard operation in Oregon, in order to prove that great wines could be made in southern Ohio and to revitalize the area with new wineries for agritourism. We personally mentored at least five new wineries, and continue to help more.

I would like to describe several current situations regarding the Ohio Department of Agriculture and wineries, and then two other situations that reflect how they are hurting small farmers. To put finances in perspective: The Ohio wine and grape industry released its 2008 economic impact report, which finds that Ohio’s grape and wine industry has a significant impact of more than $580 million on the state’s economy.
Highlights of the report include:

  • In 2008, the Ohio wine and grape industry had an economic impact of $582.8 million.
  • The Ohio grape and wine industry employed more than 4,000 people in 2008, providing a payroll of $124.2 million.
  • The Ohio grape and wine industry contributed an estimated $62 million back in state, local and federal tax revenue.

Situation #1: Given the fact that the Ohio wine industry contributes so much money to the economy, we are appalled at the latest overreach by the Ohio Department of Agriculture bureaucracy. There is a law on the books that allows them to inspect wineries as food production facilities, something that neither California, Oregon or other huge wine producing states do. Only wineries that wholesale their wine are subject to this annual inspection, which wineries will be charged an annual fee for, ranging from $50 to $300. Wineries that only sell retail will not be inspected. I have actually been in a winery in Ohio that only sold at retail that had dog turds on the floor. Wholesale warehouses that store wine may not be inspected (follow the distributor lobby money).

Nothing harmful to humans can live in wine. We actually had an ODA person suggest that we wash the grapes to eliminate insects, a laughable comment. There was a suggestion to use bleach to clean up black mold, a product that is well known to cause TCA taint in wine. Our only avenue for change is to change the law to exempt wineries. In the meantime, inadequately trained, probably highly paid registered sanitarians will be hitting the road and generating travel expenses to make sure that wineries have hairnets in the building. The maximum amount of money these fees could generate for the state would be $30,000, and it will be much less than that.

The claim is to protect the public, but there are no plans to take samples of wines for testing of any kind, and wineries are already highly regulated by the federal government (TTB) and local health organizations. This is just bureaucratic bloat and a waste of taxpayer money.

We cannot get a straight answer as to what part of the regulatory code will be enforced. On a conference call, I was basically told that wineries could be inspected with different criteria. And imagine if your winery is inspected in January, when everything is cleaned up, or at crush, when bees, fruit flies, etc. fill the winery.

Situation #2. We have been making Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Viognier/Roussanne and Petit Verdot for 10 years. In general these wines are in the 12%-13% alcohol range. A fine vintage from 2008 pushed them all over 14% alcohol. The federal government approves all wine labels. For free. The state of Ohio rubber stamps such labels, at an initial fee of $50 per label. Because these wines went over 14%, I was required to submit “New Label Registrations” and write a check for $250 to the state.

Situation #3: It goes beyond wineries. Last year, Harmony Hill Vineyards had a wonderful farmers market. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has now said that if you want to sell your eggs or meat at a Farmers Market, a cooler with blue ice is no longer good enough to store your food for a couple of hours. “Mechanical refrigeration” is required. So that means you load up a refrigeration, hope you can plug it in somewhere, transfer your food in the cooler, load it in the fridge, and reverse for the trip home.

We use farm fresh eggs in fining, and needed 6 dozen eggs from a small egg producer in Ripley. She is NOT allowed to deliver the eggs to us, a few miles away. We had to pick them up.

Situation #4: The Fizzleville Fair in Adams County has made home made ice cream for over 30 years. Apparently that will no longer be allowed.

So, in summary, this is a bureaucracy out of control. We need new leaders who will get out of the way and let Ohio small business do what they do best without excessive and stupid regulations. Ohio is hurting and driving small business out of Ohio, not encouraging it.

- Nancy Bentley

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Posted by Michelle at 2:30 am in Current Affairs, Guest Writers, Legislation, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (2)

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