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Winterfest: Jazz on the Vine and Wine making on North Fork, Long Island

Vitalay Golovnev – awesome trumpeter

Long Island Winterfest and Jazz on the Vine continues to be a huge success as a forum for some great musical talent and enjoying North Fork wines. Weekends are busy for a Bed and Breakfast owner but I was able to take some time with two of my sons last Sunday afternoon to hop over to nearby Osprey Dominion winery and listen to the trumpet of of Vitaly Goloveny and a talented group of musicians on saxophone, bass and drums. It was a beautiful afternoon with just enough clouds to temper the strength of the sun that streamed through the large windows framing the tasting room. It is a large space and could have been an acoustic challenge but Vitaly tempered his playing of the trumpet skillfully to take the space into account and maintain a decibel level that was perfect for enjoyment of the sound. Winterfest continues through March 20th and a complete list of all musical performers and venues can be found on the Long Island Winterfest web site. You will find a quick  reference list for who is playing and where on last week’s Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast blog.

In the Vineyard: Wine making at the Sannino Vineyard

I have written in earlier postings about making my own barrel of wine with the Sannino’s Bella Vita vineyard. While the grapes we picked last fall continue their fermentation process in barrel, vat or bottle, this time of year starts a new growing season for the vines.

Netting that protected the grapes from hungry or just opportunistic wildlife has been removed and it is time to prune the vines.

Pruning is basically cutting off unwanted canes to allow the vines to produce a smaller and more intensely flavored crop the following year. This is done by cutting off approximately 90 percent of the past year’s cane growth, retaining only a few canes for fruit production in the upcoming season.

Vine before pruning with last years canes intact

Critical decisions are made during this process as to what parts of the vine are to be kept in order for the plant to be most productive. The photos illustrating the process here are of the same vine before pruning; leafless and then with most of the main canes removed except for four centrally located canes.

After pruning the main canes are laid along and tied to the first layer of wire

All canes have buds capable of producing the shoots, leaves and grapes for next seasons harvest. When pruning only four canes are kept to concentrate the growth of the plant and reduce the amount of fruit produced. The quality of the fruit produced this way is essential to the end product, a full rich wine. When pruning only the central canes are kept because they will allow the optimum amount of space between the main trunks, a consideration when planning for the most productivity in the vineyard. Only two of the four are needed but the additional two are left for insurance in case of damage during the next process.

As shown in the photographs, once pruned the vines are laid  on wires strung between posts and tied to them. One cane is directed to run left and the other right. There is some space left over between the trunks so a third cane is folded across the space.

Once canes have been put in place for the growing season they are called ‘Cordons’. The buds which will gradually swell, shoot and grow as the weather warms are spaced from 4 to 8 inches along each Cordon. Some buds will produce several shoots and  all but the largest and healthiest  will be removed to further concentrate the strength and vigor of the plant . The remaining shoots will then become next years canes and each canes will eventually bear one to three clusters of grapes close to the cordon as they continue  growing vertically.

Cane pruning as it is called is one of two most common methods on The North Fork. The other method is called Spur pruning. Spur pruning is the pruning style of choice for backyard vineyards and vines that are trained on fences and other simple trellises. The two methods can be used in the same field but only one would be selected as the average for the given variety or field.

More on pruning and progress in the vineyard and winery in our next ‘In the Vineyard’ blog post

Greenport Holiday Festival on Long Island’s North Fork

The holiday season in the historic maritime village of Greenport, just 5 minutes drive from Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast in Southold began Saturday, November 27th with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the holiday tree in Mitchell Park. Every weekend through to the New Year events are scheduled in the village for children and adults, including the opportunity for shopping, great dining (such as Noah’s and The Frisky Oyster) plus concerts, house tours, films, and much more for your entertainment.

The season culminates with a bang – literally – on New Year’s Eve with a party and celebration at the carousel in Mitchell Park, the traditional raising of the anchor, and spectacular fireworks over Greenport Harbor. For a complete list of events you can visit the Greenport Holiday Festival website and for photographs and more pictures, the Suffolk Times on line newspaper has a comprehensive spread on Greenport and the festival activities this week. Parade photo by Katharine Schroeder/Suffolk Times Review

Fireworks over the Harbor in Greenport

 

Visitors to Greenport and the North Fork discover a treasure trove of delights for all appetites; gifts for everyone on your list; decorations and gift wraps; antique stores and museum shops. All the villages along the length of Rout 25, one of the two east to west roads from Riverhead to Orient Point offer their own unique holiday festivities.

Each year the Southold Historical Society hosts a candlelight tour of the Historic District in December to coincide with the North Fork Bed and Breakfast Associations Holiday House Tour; also in Southold is the Custer Institute Observatory, which is open every Saturday evening for star gazing or catching the latest meteor shower. Southold is famous for its dark skies and lack of light pollution and star gazing is a favorite of Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast or rental house guests from our beach on the Long Island Sound.

Speaking of things to do on the North Fork during the holidays and winter, we cannot forget to mention the wineries and vineyards. Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast is making its own wine this year with Lisa and Anthony Sannino of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard on Peconic Lane in Cutchogue, the only custom wine making facility on the North Fork of Long Island. We are just printing up our first label and hope to have some bottles ready to serve and gift in time for Christmas this year. Shorecrest and the other members of the North Fork Bed and Breakfast Association (NFBBA) also offer to our guests an exclusive winery discount card, with special offers on purchases and complimentary tastings at over 20 wineries.

So come along and enjoy the festivities during the holiday season; we are open for visitors Christmas day and the week between Christmas and New Year, and every weekend throughout the winter. We look forward to welcoming you to Shorecrest soon.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and healthy and Successful New Year

Marilyn

Innkeeper and Manager, Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast and Property Management

Greenport Holiday Festival on Long Island’s North Fork

Harvesting the North Fork – New York, Long Island’s Wine Country

Harvesting the grapes in the Sannino Vineyard

October is harvest time for grapes as well as apples and pumpkins here on the North Fork of Long Island. This year I decided to take part in the custom wine making program run by Lisa and Anthony Sannino at their Bella Vita vineyard in Cutchogue.  I want Shorecrest to have its own wine and a couple of other BnB owner friends, Mark and Liz Macnish of Andrew’s Legacy in Cutchogue and Leueen who owns Harbor Knoll in Greenport liked the idea too, so we purchased a barrel together. This is such a great idea! A barrel produces 23 cases, 12 bottles to a case, and is such a fun thing to do with friends or family.

Merlot grapes on the vine ready for picking.

The program is a hands on experience, from harvesting the grapes in the Sannino’s own vineyard and learning all about viticulture as we go, through all the processes involved in creating a bottle of wine:  picking, crushing and pressing the grapes,  through the fermentation process  and then blending and bottling.

Two weeks ago, at the end of September and right before a storm was due to come through I went out with some other ‘winemakers in training’ to pick Merlot grapes. The harvest is early this year on the East End of Long Island due to the long hot summer, starting with some 75 degree days in April and ninety degree days in June. Grapes do well in this weather and the sugar content is high. That is how Anthony knows when the grapes are ready to harvest; he measures the sugar content and crushes a few bunches to taste the juice. So delicious, and that is before it became wine! Also delicious was the al fresco lunch that Lisa, with the help of Anthony’s mom and dad, served on their farm house’s porch in the vineyard, but I get ahead of myself.

Underdeveloped grapes are found higher on the vine in more shade

The seed of an unripe grape is green, and reddish in a ripe grape.

The morning for our grape picking experience was perfect; not too hot or chilly, and started with coffee and breakfast on the wrap around deck. I’d already served breakfast to my guests but was glad of an extra ‘cuppa Joe’ before we went off into the vineyard with our pruners and collection baskets to pick the ripe bunches of grapes. I learned where to cut and which ones not to choose. The seed of a ripe grape is reddish and green if it is not yet ripe.

There are also several diseases that can afflict grapes especially fungi and these were to be avoided. The fungus that we saw a little of that day was BotrytisAs an avid gardener, I had yet to meet a fungal disease that I could like, but Botrytis I learned is not all bad.  The fungus gives rise to two different kinds of infections on grapes. The first, grey rot, is the result of consistently wet or humid conditions, and typically results in the loss of the affected bunches. The second, noble rot, occurs when drier conditions follow wetter, and can result in distinctive sweet dessert wines, such as Sauternes. This summer, with such consistently hot weather the few bunches that were infected were of the ‘noble’ kind but as we were picking merlot and not grapes for sweet wines, we had to discard those.

What not to pick - Botrytis blight at 3 o'clock!

We were also careful to avoid the under ripe grapes that were higher on the vine and shaded by more leaves. The grapes we wanted all grow at the lowest level of the vine and were hanging down in giant lush clumps.

We picked for several hours and when our bins were full and also the stomachs of us field hands (after eating as much fresh baked pizza, pulled pork, salad, chicken and pasta as we could, paired of course with equally delicious Bella Vita wine) we headed off to help with the ‘crush’. The baskets of grapes were loaded onto trucks for transportation to the winery where they were weighed, Anthony taking careful notes all along, and then processed through a machine that de-stems them before shooting the crushed up pulp and skins into giant bins ready to begin the first part of the fermentation process.

More on this in the next article, but if this interests you enough to think you would like to make your own wine and enjoy a wonderful North Fork experience in the process, contact me at the Shorecrest for a special discount on a barrel of wine when you are my guest . I will also be putting together special packages over the winter and spring that will include Friday night dinners with your weekend stay at the BnB, wine appreciation classes with food pairing, and guided tours with a customized itinerary based on what there is going on at the time, for my guests. Larger groups might consider renting one of my private water front houses that sleep from 6-8 people and also accept children and in some cases pets. To see more details please visit the Shorecrest Property Management website.

My website now includes a page with maps of all the wineries, restaurants and other amenities in the area. Check my ‘Area Attractions’ page before planning your trip to see all there is to do in this unique part of Long Island.

So keep checking into the blog for updates on how the wine making process is going as well as other events and happenings at the Shorecrest BnB on the North Fork of Long Island’s fabulous East End!


Two weeks ago, at the end of September and right before a storm was due to come through I went out with some other ‘winemakers in training’ to pick Merlot grapes. The harvest is early this year on the East End of Long Island due to the long hot summer, starting with some 75 degree days in April and ninety degree days in June. Grapes do well in this weather and the sugar content is high. That is how Anthony knows when the grapes are ready to harvest; he measures the sugar content and crushes a few bunches to taste the juice. So delicious, and that is before it became wine! Also delicious was the al fresco lunch that Lisa, with the help of Anthony’s mom and dad, served on their farm house’s porch in the vineyard, but I get ahead of myself.

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