What's Happening At Massbach Ridge Winery

Grape Pruning=Wine Sculpting

Pruning= cutting 90% of a grapevine’s growth from last year to develop a balance between quantity and quality.

It’s SPRING!  We are outside full-time during the month of March sculpting this year’s vintage of fruit.

Watch –Peggy Pruning a Frontenac plant

If the vines are left on their own, each vine will look more like a bush with all of last year’s buds growing another shoot.  As a farmer, this sounds okay.  More growth=more yield.  BUT, the quality of fruit would be terrible.

Here are a few of the issues if the vine was left unpruned –

  • Smaller bunches
  • Too much vegitation keeps the fruit from getting sunlight
  • Too much vegitation keeps moisture from dew and rain lingering too long promoting fungal growth… yuck
  • The many, many small bunchs will not ripen before the leaves fall

TAKE HOME –   No Pruning=Exponential Mess=Poor Wine Quality

Because of our committment to high quality wine, we take great care to created a quality/quantity balance on each vine.  Yes, each vine.  More fruiting buds will be left on a vigorous plant than one that show less growht fromthe previous years.

Well, enough yacking.  I’m going outside!!

Take care friends and come out soon to see the manicured vineyard.

Cheers,

Peggy

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“Every Day is a Celebration!”  In honor of Valentine’s Day, take time to enjoy a bottle of Massbach wine with your special someone… once or maybe twice.

In researching a quote about sharing wine with spouses/lovers, I found this from Australian poet/journalist, Ann Fairbairn.  “There must be always wine and fellowship or we are truly lost.”

Although this quote may not be as provocative as what I was looking for, it simplifies the need to take the time with one another to talk, to share and to just be together.  This is where wine comes in once again.

I last wrote about pairing food and wine.  That magic pales in comparison to the magical pairing of a bottle of wine with your special love.  So grab your special someone and celebrate Valentine Day at Massbach Ridge Winery or open a bottle at home.  

Please let us know what Massbach wine you have chosen.  Or better yet, tell us what Massbach wine “pairs” best with your special someone.    Let’s have some fun with this!

Mine is a little fruity and sweet.

Food and Wine? nope. Wine and Food.

Traumen with meat loaf turns a common meal into a WOW.

Do you find yourself spend more time playing in the kitchen during the winter months? Trying new recipes? Putting a little more flare in your day to day meals? With being cooped up in the house more that I would like, I sure find myself having a little more fun preparing the evening’s menu.

Wine, of course, enters into play here.  There are times I pick a recipe I want to try (or just grab something from the freezer) and then look to the “cellar” for a wine to match. Others times when I have time to prepare a special supper, #1 the wine is chosen,  #2 then the dish.

So how to select a wine for dinner? Or in my case, select a dinner for a wine?

There is the long-standing rule of thumb that says “Red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat.”

From that educational foundation, you can build some structure with trial and error; drinking the wine you like with the food you like.  Please take note of a few considerations.  First – spice.  For instance, garlic, (a staple in our kitchen) will pair better with our Seyval Blanc than our fruity St. Pepin.  A light wine like our Blushing Pink will get lost with a hot spicy dish where Marechal Foch will enhance the flavor.

Secondly, the “weight” of the food should be consistent between the wine and food.  Example:  A hearty stew will taste better with deep reds like Massbach Reserve or Traumen as opposed to Massbach Stomp.

This being said, remember this subjective.  Some of our customers love Massbach Stomp (a Concord wine) with spaghetti while others wouldn’t consider opening anything else than Massbach Reserve (our barrel-aged Frontenac).

In making a good pairing, you create a Gestalt effect. The combination of the wine/food is greater than (>) the two on their own.  That’s the beauty!!!

Again, I encourage you to drink the wine you love with the food you love with the people you love.  You can’t go wrong!

Have fun with this and please post your discoveries and let us know.

Happy New Years!

A glass to the old and A glass to the new!

We will be open at both tasting rooms New Year’s Day from 11 to 5pm. Please drink responsibly.

You are going to love these new wines!

The time to release the first new wines of 2016 is here.

Vignoles is my favorite! We are almost too cold to grow this grape and have had a couple of years of very little crop. After a mild winter last year and hours of retraining the vines, we harvested an ample crop. I am very excited to have you try this semi-sweet wine filled with tropical fruit flavors.

Our Apple wine is always popular with our friends that like more mild wines. After an absence on the shelf, Apple is back! The cider we use to make this wine is from our neighboring town of Lanark. Cheers to Rolling Hills!

Last, but not least, Massbach Nouveau 2016 has been bottled and differs greatly from previous vintages. A blend of Foch and Marquette (a new northern grape) has a touch of sweetness and finishes with a cranberry note.

I am very excited for you to come out and sample these new wines! Let me know what you think.

Cheers my friends,
Peggy

Biggest Harvest in Massbach History

harvesting-2016 harvesting-frontenac-2016 Over 50 ton of grapes processed this past month! That’s a LOT of buckets!! Approximately 5,000 buckets!
A HUGE THANK YOU to ALL you helped; customers, charity organizations, friends and family.
Marechal Foch, St. Pepin, LaCrosse, Frontenac and Vignoles wines have filled the tanks to the brim.
Harvest was a little early this year. About 10 days ahead of most years. The main reaston is the hot August we received. The quality of grapes has been exceptional considering the rainfall we have experienced the past several weeks.
We are very excited about the vintages in the works and will be updating you on the status as the upcoming months pass.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Cheers,
Peggy

Harvest is upon us!!

155160_10151154581602070_2047591370_nWe have started to make a dent into our 18 acres vineyard by picking Marechal Foch. We will be very busy during the next few weeks bringing in 2016’s vintage. The first 500 gallons of Foch juice may be a tad tart but the cherry, strawberry flavors typical of the wine are present and accounted for!

Grapes in Northern Illinois?! YES!

St. Pepin, Frontenac, Marechal Foch, and Vignoles may not be grape varieties commonly discussed in Wine Spectator but they may be someday.

These are the names of the grapes we grow in Northern IL.

These are the grapes that can withstand winter temperatures dipping down to -30F and further.

These are grapes that have been the building stones of our 12 year old winery.

Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and so on are varieties that would perish in our cold northern winters.  American Hybrids have emerged the last couple decades due to the dedication by amateur and professional viticulturists to develop varieties of wine grapes for the Mid-West.  Cheers to THEM!!!

Because of their years of trials, tests and labor,  we are able to grow red and white wine grapes that rival other parts of the wine world.

I speak of St. Pepin specifically.  Year after year, our estate-grown St. Pepin displays a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.  Presented beside certain Viogniers, you may not be able to tell the difference.  You might close your eyes and think you have been transported to another part of the world, but yet, you are close to home in the hills of Illinois.

As for the reds, we blend for our barrel aged wines.  Frontenac is the prominent grape in our barrels and for our rich semi-dry wines.

We have often joked, “Wine snobs- Welcome!”  Though not Cabernets, our reds provide structure and complexity with a uniqueness and versatility to make to make you proud of what you discovered –  LOCAL WINE!

This is a St. Pepin vine as it appears in July.

This is a St. Pepin vine as it appears in July.

March Pruning; Wine Sculpting

Pruning= cutting 90% of a grapevine’s growth from last year to develop a balance between quantity and quality.

It’s SPRING!  We are outside full-time during the month of March sculpting this year’s vintage of fruit.

Watch –Peggy Pruning a Frontenac plant

If the vines are left on their own, each vine will look more like a bush with all of last year’s buds growing another shoot.  As a farmer, this sounds okay.  More growth=more yield.  BUT, the quality of fruit would be terrible.

Here are a few of the issues if the vine was left unpruned –

  • Smaller bunches
  • Too much vegitation keeps the fruit from getting sunlight
  • Too much vegitation keeps moisture from dew and rain lingering too long promoting fungal growth… yuck
  • The many, many small bunchs will not ripen before the leaves fall

TAKE HOME –   No Pruning=Exponential Mess=Poor Wine Quality

Because of our committment to high quality wine, we take great care to created a quality/quantity balance on each vine.  Yes, each vine.  More fruiting buds will be left on a vigorous plant than one that show less growht fromthe previous years.

Well, enough yacking.  I’m going outside!!

Take care friends and come out soon to see the manicured vineyard.

Cheers,

Peggy