Posts Written ByBryan Calandrelli

Reconnecting With What Drives Schulze Vineyards & Winery

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Wine’s ability to enable us to metaphorically travel through time and space just might allow me to grasp all that’s happened in the months (or years?) since I’d last been a regular contributor to the NYCR. As I look back through what resembles a hazy glass of unfiltered, sediment-laden chardonnay, there’s a lot I’ve missed or just never got around to verbalizing. This minor disconnect from the region left me wondering where to jump back in: An expansion of the official Niagara Wine Region Route? Or maybe a vintage report card which, after all is said and done, will just…

Vineyard Visuals: Icewine 2013 Harvest at Leonard Oakes Winery

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Icewine 2013 Harvest @ Leonard Oakes from Bryan Calandrelli on Vimeo. Mother Nature did not disappoint the harvest crew at Leonard Oakes Winery as the week of January 21st provided more than enough time for Jonathan Oakes and gang to pull the rest of their grapes from the 2012-growing season. Bone-chilling temperatures and a massive snowfall didn’t make it comfortable or easy but it did ease nerves and make for a long window to press out their frozen grapes. This quick interview and series of images is a glimpse into what it was like the day of the vidal harvest.…

Niagara Icewine Update: We Haven’t Started Getting Nervous… Yet

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With this weekend’s projected record-warm temperatures, it feels a little weird to be preparing for a weekend of ice wine themed activities across the border. In a region that can usually set its watch to that first big, bone-chilling weather event in early January, Mother Nature has only teased Niagara with a very narrow window for an ice wine harvest so far this year and people are wondering if there will be a full harvest in 2013. “I haven’t started getting nervous yet,” says Jonathan Oakes, winemaker at Leonard Oakes Winery. Oakes is the go-to winemaker in Niagara USA on…

All-New York Wine Boutique Opens In Niagara Falls

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The distance between Niagara wineries and the natural wonder of Niagara Falls has shrunk with the opening of Niagara Community College’s Culinary Institute just steps away from the brink of the falls. The school brings much-needed attention to the hospitality industry of the region with several programs including culinary arts, restaurant management, and winery operations. The building, once the site of the long-forgotten and abandoned Rainbow Centre, hosts several outlets including a restaurant and wine boutique. The restaurant, which carries some local wines, will probably be the main draw for tourists but there’s plenty of excitement around the all-New York…

Overcoming A History of Sour Grapes with Kurt Guba

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Two years ago, the owner of Freedom Run Winery bought what was once known as Warm Lake Estate, including the winery building, vineyards and much of the equipment. With the 2012 harvest,  Freedom Run saw its first harvest from those purchased vines. I sat down with friend and part-time co-worker Kurt Guba, cellar master at Freedom Run, to get his impression on the wines to come from that site not too long ago. Bryan Calandrelli: This was the first year Freedom Run Winery has gotten a harvest at the site of the former Warm Lake Estate Vineyard. How were the…

The Niagara 2012 Vintage in Their Own Words: When We Stopped Measuring Our Brix

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It’s the same story that plays out every year. Winemakers are forced to evaluate the complexities of a growing season in a consumer-friendly pitch meant to inflate or dampen expectations of a particular vintage. I tend to believe the dance that Mother Nature, grower and winemaker perform every year and the expectation of resulting quality can hardly be simplified by rehashing the weather but this look back on our young region’s season will suggest the potential of the vintage. Grower Tom Tower of Youngstown — like most everyone I spoke to this year — agreed that there was plenty of…

Previewing Arrowhead Spring Vineyards’ 2010 Reds

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If Arrowhead Spring Vineyards has its way, “Black Friday” will be renamed “Red Friday” on account of its annual day-after-Thanksgiving wine release event where the winery will once again change the landscape of locally grown reds by releasing several from the 2010 vintage, including the Estate Arrowhead Red, Estate Meritage Reserve, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Cabernet Franc, Estate Merlot and their 2011 Pinot Noir. The 2010 vintage was as close to perfect as any for red grapes in Niagara thanks to a long season combined with warm temperatures and dry conditions. I recently had the opportunity to taste these wines…

Harvest 2012: Grower Tom Tower on the Rocks

Youngstown farmer Tom Tower is no stranger to the spotlight in Western New York. He’s a driving force behind several local farmers’ markets and he’s been supplying some of the best chefs in the region with his fruits and vegetables long before it was hip to eat local. These days Tower has thrown his trademark hat into the grape growing ring by supplying winemaker Jonathan Oakes and the rest of the crew at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery with grapes grown on his farm just 1.5 miles south of Lake Ontario. I had the opportunity to do an on camera interview…

Harvest 2012: Chardonnay in Niagara USA

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Harvest has ramped up here in Niagara this week as the time for chardonnay had come in several local vineyards. Leonard Oakes Estate Winery had already taken Vignoles before pulling chardonnay in addition to pinot noir for sparkling wine. Freedom Run Winery’s custom crush operation had already brought in Brianna, Edelweiss and Leon Millot before they began their estate chardonnay picking on Monday. The picture at left shows the bounty of chardonnay collected at Eveningside Vineyards yesterday where the yield looked larger than normal and the quality looked to be very good. In the coming days I’ll post the film…