Three Questions with… Vickie and Joe Greff of Blue Mountain Vineyards

1. Now that harvest season is over, what will local wineries be doing to prepare the vineyards for the upcoming winter?

There are three main things we’re doing in the vineyard to get ready for the upcoming winter. First, we’re rolling up the netting that we used during the summer to protect the berries from birds and deer. Second, we’re cutting the dead arms off of the vines, so there is no confusion when we go to prune the vines as to what the dead sections are versus the “live” sections. Lastly, we’re mulching the base of the vines with mushroom soil, grape skins, and grape seeds to protect the vines from any winter damage.

2. This month the Wine Trail hosts its annual Nouveau Weekend event which is based on a tradition that originated in France. What is it about nouveau wines that makes them so different?

These wines are fruity wines that have just barely made the change from grape juice to wine. They are made quickly, barely allowing time for the grapes to ferment. Some versions are sweet as they have not completed their fermentations and still have some residual sugar. Blue Mountain Vineyards is one of the few wineries in the United States to use the traditional fruity Gamay Beaujolais grape, which is a clone of Pinot Noir. We make a dry Beaujolais using the traditional method of carbonic maceration. Instead of crushing the grapes and allowing the juice to ferment, carbonic maceration allows the whole grapes to ferment. The grapes are put into a vessel and the weight of the grapes will crush some of the bottom grapes which begin to ferment. The remainder of the juice still inside the uncrushed grapes will also ferment.

Nouveau wines are used to help everyone get an initial impression of the recent harvest. Even at this early stage, one can taste the ripeness of the grapes and the potential depth of the wines. It is very light in body. There are little to no tannins and its very fruity with lots of strawberry and raspberry flavors. It is recommended to drink the wine slightly chilled and within the first year. It is not a wine meant to be aged for a long time.

3. What’s your favorite wine pairing to recommend for Thanksgiving dinner turkey?

Speaking of Nouveau wine, our Gamay Beaujolais will pair beautifully with Thanksgiving dinner, especially with turkey and cranberry sauce. We also recommend our 2012 Pinot Noir which is a lighter bodied wine with hints of raspberry and cherry fruit and a whisper of smoke and spice that is delicious with turkey, pork, and bacon. For our sweet wine drinkers, we recommend our Bri’s Blush, which is light and fruity with a lot of juicy berry notes that will complement almost anything at your Thanksgiving dinner. We also can’t forget our Mountain Spice, a lightly sweet pure apple wine with hints of cinnamon and spice. It can be heated or served chilled. It’s like apple pie in a bottle!