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Ask me your questions!

Allison from the winery here! I get a lot of questions about wine and I get it. Wine seems complicated. So many types, so many "rules." So i'm answering them here!

What do you want to know about Forest Edge? Or wine? Or making wine? Submit a question below and I might answer it here. If I don't know the answer, i'll enlist the help of our winemaker, staff, or industry people. Don't be surprised if you see some posts about wine cocktails, or about how cute our cat Ava is.

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The fun part where the alcohol is actually made and on the surface the easiest sounding step.

Fermenting can be done in barrels, steel tanks, or fermentation vats.

There are natural yeasts on grapes and many other fruits. They will start to ferment on their own once the skin has broken during pressing. These natural yeasts are unpredictable because they often contain mold or other bacteria. Wine makers tend to use cultured yeast (yeast strains cultured and optimized for certain uses) to control the outcome of the wine and ensure consistency from year to year.

Once yeasts are added, it converts the sugar into alcohol! Once the sugar is gone, the yeast has nothing left to feed on and it dies. This process can take from a week up to a month or more depending on the type of wine and volume.

If all the sugar is fermented out, it's considered a dry wine. There are two main methods to making sweet wine. Wine makers can choose to stop fermentation mid way through using potassium sorbate. Or, like we do at Forest Edge, you can ferment all the wines completely...

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A quick break from wine making to share a recipe I recently saw in Wine Enthusiast magazine. It might be my new summer cocktail!

Killer Queen

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rosé wine
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 3/4 ounces of pineapple simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce red bitters
  • Mint sprig for garnish

Directions

Fill a cocktail shaker with all ingredients except garnish, shake well, and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with mint and enjoy!

I had success using regular simple syrup and adding pineapple juice to the cocktail but the pineapple simple syrup was well worth the extra effort. Here is how you make that!

Pineapple Simple Syrup

Combine 4 cups fresh cubes pineapple and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Let cool and strain. Refrigerated it keeps up to two weeks.

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Oh, crushing! How many of you are thinking of Lucy right now!? Crushing grapes by feet is still done in other parts of the world and you can take a vacation to do just that! As fun as it surely is, at Forest Edge, we use more modern technology. There are actually two steps to getting that lovely grape juice for wine.

Crushing

Once grapes are picked, they are sorted to pull out any noticeable "green" grapes that could cause bitter flavors and the stems are removed. Crushing, done with feet or machine, simply breaks the skin. This allows the juice, pulp, seeds, and skins to mingle, creating the wines color, flavor, and tannin. When making red wine this step is essential. The grapes are often left for a few days before pressing and yeasts are added to start the fermentation. White wines are more delicate; bitter tannin is not typically desirable. Crushing and pressing are often done simultaneously.

Pressing

Pressing is where we actually get the juice to ferment. It is exactly like what it sounds like. Either by hand, or with...

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Wine making is pretty simple when you break it down. You pick the grapes, crush them, ferment them into wine, age the wine, bottle the wine, open the bottle, enjoy! The details of each step are where it gets pretty complicated...except the enjoying part...that's always easy. We're going to have a little series about the basics starting with picking the grapes.

How do you know when to pick?

After about 30-70 days, a grape on the vine will start to look like how we think of grapes. They'll gain their color, they'll soften, become plumper, they'll become sweeter, and loose acidity. The period of time needed for a grape to be "ripe" all depends on the variety of grape, how much sun, and the climate.

Grapes are monitored closely by wine growers and makers. They'll test for pH levels and brix (sugar measurement), but mostly they'll taste them. They are looking a good balance between the sugars, acidity, flavor and other compounds such as tannin. You know the joy of tasting a perfectly balanced fruit!

And then there is the weather. You get a perfectly balanced...

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Okay, so Ava is a cat, but she's really cute with her half mustache, and she has an important job at the winery. She's our pest control manager, and when she's not sleeping, a greeter to all!

Ava came to us a stray when she was about a year old (estimated), and was too darn friendly to turn away. She has been a lovely part of the Forest Edge family for 4 years.

A cat-loving guest told us that she is at least part Turkish Van, a cat breed known for being mostly white with distinctive markings on it's head and full colored tail.

Her favorite part about working at the winery is all the pets and treats and warm laps to sleep on.

Be sure to say hello to Ava next time you stop by!

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Old Vine Zinfandel is the wine of the month. It may seem like a heavy red wine to warm you up on a winter night (and it would), but it is fabulous to pair with any of your grilled summer meats, tomato based sauces, and bbq.

Or you could make it lighter with this delicious summer cocktail. Use any berries you have; raspberries, blackberries, cherries, or any combo. This recipe makes one drink but it would be easy enough to make it in a larger batch.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 strawberries sliced
  • 4-5 blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp Honey (to taste, add more if you want a sweeter drink)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Two parts red wine (2-3 ounces, or more if want it boozier)
  • One part club soda (1-2 ounces)
  • Sprig of Mint to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a glass with ice, add the fruit, honey, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the wine and stir again. Taste and add more honey, lime, etc. if desired.
  3. Top with the soda, add the mint to garnish....
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Alright, first blogging experience for me, but with era of covid it's fun to try something new.

I thought i'd start with a question we hear a lot. Pairing food and wine. It can be complicated. The best rule is to drink the wine you like with the food you like. If it's not perfect, at least you'll like both things! You can get to a point where you really pick out particular elements (acid, salt, fat, etc) in your food to match with wine, but here is where you start:

  • Match the wine to the most prominent element in the dish. Red wine tends to go better with bolder meats, while white wine tends to go better light meats or green vegetables.
  • Match the weight of the wine to the weight of the food (light wine with a light meal or heavy wine with a heavy meal).
  • Match the wine to your sauce. Consider a pasta dish or bbq where the meat or veggie might not be the star flavor.
  • Keep high acid (sour) wines away from salty or spicy dishes. Try it with sweet or fatty dishes instead.
  • The wine should be sweeter than the food; especially important...
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