Friday, August 5, 2016
“Current U.S.A. Trade Agreements
How They Affect Your Wine”
Under our current U.S.A. Trade Agreements, The American wine consumer and the American small farmer have been ‘sucker punched’!
Today, in America, there are two types of wine producers, the “REAL” wineries and the ‘Wine Factories’.
These American ‘Wine Factories’ are able to capitalize on these Trade Agreements in, primarily, two ways.
Firstly, by importing container loads of cheap juices and concentrates from outside the U.S.A. and, secondly, by setting up ‘distributorships’ for foreign wines.
So, how do these actions by the ‘Wine Factories’, affect you?
America has some of the most effective and comprehensive consumer protection laws in the world. As an example, we banned child labor over 100 years ago. We banned many chemicals (like DDT) nearly 50 years ago. We would never irrigate our American farm fields with raw sewage. The list goes on and on! “Real” American Wineries and small farmers must comply with these laws.
Our Trade Agreements make no attempt to raise our trading partner’s standards to our high American standards. They simply state, “If you sign on the bottom line, you can import your wines and commodities into America as though they were grown here. However, you are NOT required to meet America’s high consumer protection standards. Meeting your countries standards is good enough”.
In America, every American winery MUST tell you 'the consumer' HOW your wine is made. “Real” American wineries will have the word “Grown” on their wine labels. “Wine Factories” NEVER have the word grown on their wine labels. Obviously, if they’re importing juices and concentrates for their wines, they CAN’T use the word Grown. Most will have only two words, in tiny print on their back labels, “Vinted& Bottled”, “Produced & Bottled” or just the word “Bottled”. That tells you, the wine consumer, that they ARE NOT growing the products for their wines! In order to prevent being deceived, you MUST ask them, before buying or tasting their wines, where are the juices and concentrates coming from!
“Factory Wines” are easy to spot on the retail shelf. In addition to the guidance above, they are all sealed with the gingerbread of plastic or aluminum foil. “Real” American wineries use ‘Sealing Wax’ and will state ‘Grown’ &‘Unfiltered’ on their labels!
Another way that the “Wine Factories” take advantage of these Trade Agreements is to hook up with foreign wine producers. These “Wine Factories” then use their American distribution networks to force these foreign produced wines into our American restaurants and retail outlets. Because of these Trade Agreements, the “Wine Factories” pay NO tariffs on the imported wines and the imported wines DO NOT have to comply with American consumer protections. Of course, the “Wine Factories” bottom line profits become even fatter. The losers are the “Real” American Wineries, the American wine consumer and the American small farmers!
As a closing thought, when the playing field is level, Americans have always been able to compete on the world stage.
It’s time that we, as Americans, regain control of our country and repeal or replace these unfair and hurtful Trade Agreements!
Sincerely…the “Green Winer”!
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery
With this Blog, we are going to highlight an aspect of BHV that many of our friends and guests may not be aware….our “BHV Internship Program”!
With our 2015 grape harvest recently completed, our 2015 “BHV Internship Program” has, also, drawn to a close. Now that our world has refocused from harvesting back to wine making and customer service, we are able to draw a deep breath and reflect upon both the good harvest and the tenure of our Intern. We are always thankful for the bounty of Mother Nature, but, equally, we are thankful for having shared a time with a young person seeking their place in life! The lessons that they have learned from us will, hopefully, influence them in a positive way on their journey into their future!
BHV’s “Internship Program” requirements are simple, see below:
“Each year, BHV proudly accepts students from accredited schools and colleges for on-site/hands-on Internships. Interns will work side-by-side with BHV management to learn the art of wine making, sustainability and customer service. All disciplines of study will be considered.
Interested students should e-mail us their resume. Included in the resume should be your requested internship dates and a brief explanation of Why you would like to be our intern.” That’s it!
One observation that we would like to share with you is the realization that most of the youth of today are not lost. We are encouraged by the diligence, intelligence, and work ethic of our interns! They are keenly aware that the world of the future will rest upon their shoulders. They understand WHY it is important to protect the world around them and to run a business in a “green & sustainable way”!
If you own and operate a business and do not currently offer an internship program, we encourage you to consider starting one this year!
Thank You…..Salute & Happy Days!
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Whenever the discussion of wines turns to “Sparkling Wines”, the eyes of many people glaze over! To many people, Sparkling Wines seem a little exotic and foreign. The reality is, Sparkling Wines had their birth in a land far from the U.S.A., in Europe, in Champagne, France. Hundreds of years ago a Monk discovered the process of creating Champagne (Sparkling Wine). Because great wines were always ‘Unfiltered’, his ‘Ah-Ha’ moment probably was inspired by the secondary fermentation of his wine. In any case, it is to this Monk, in Champagne, France, a very long time ago, that we owe this supremely beautiful wine!
Before we get any further into our discussion of Sparkling Wines, we need to differentiate the “REAL” Sparkling Wines from the cheap, Factory produced bubbly wines.
The process for creating “REAL” Sparkling wines (like Champagne) is the Holy Grail! A “REAL” Sparkling Wine must go through TWO fermentations. The first fermentation takes the fruit to the level of most normal wines. Then, after the first fermentation, the wine goes through a second fermentation…”In the Bottle”! REAL Sparkling wines will always say on the label…”Fermented in this Bottle”! Additionally, a “REAL” Sparkling Wine can ONLY be created DRY (no sweetness)! The reason that a ‘REAL’ Sparkling Wine can ONLY be created DRY is because ‘Live Yeast’ are added to the Sparkling Wine bottle before it is wired shut. The Live Yeast eat the tiny amount of sugars inside the bottle and produce the natural bubbles that we associate with our Sparkling Wines! As with all great wines, your “REAL” Sparkling Wine label should read…’GROWN, PRODUCED, VINTED & BOTTLED’ and ‘UNFILTERED’!
By the way, each bottle of “REAL” Sparkling Wine must be turned a quarter turn each day throughout the second fermentation. Very time consuming and labor intensive, but well worth the wait!
Now, compare the above “REAL” Sparkling Wine to the cheap Factory produced bubbly wine. A cheap Factory produced bubbly wine is usually made from a filtered table wine. They add sugars, fruit juices and made up chemicals of hints & notes. Then, from a tank of carbon dioxide, they inject each bottle (just like your favorite soft drink). There’s NO live yeast here! Within a blink of an eye the cheap Factory produced Sparkling Wine is wired shut, labeled, boxed and shipped out the door!
If you’re like me, however, you may be turned off by the natural dryness of the “REAL” Sparkling Wine. Well, don’t be! You should NEVER sacrifice the quality of a “REAL” Sparkling Wine! If needed, from this day forward, you are empowered to add a little sweetness to your “REAL” sparkling wine. To my glass of “REAL” Sparkling Wine, I like to add a little whole cane sugar (it’s NOT GMO’d) or natural Florida Orange Blossom Honey! Try a slice of Fresh fruit in your glass of “REAL” Sparkling Wine for a wonderful treat!! Whatever type of sweetener that you use in your world, will work fine in your “REAL” Sparkling Wine.
So, until we meet again, pour a glass of “REAL” Sparkling Wine, raise it up in front of you and say…”Salute & Happy Days”!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
What in the world is a Factory Winery? With this Blog, we’ll tell you what they are and how to avoid them!
Factory wineries are popping up everywhere in America. Cities and towns that never had a winery before are, overnight, the recipients of one or two or more. Many of these new Factory wineries are getting fabulous subsidies from the local taxpayers and governments. So, just what is the wine consumer getting for their hard earned money? Answer…very little or nothing!
A Factory winery has an Achilles Heel. There’s a Federal Law on the books that requires every winery in America to tell us how their wines are created. A Factory winery will usually print it in tiny script on their back label. If you see the words…”Bottled, Produced & Bottled or Vinted & Bottled” it’s a Factory winery. Just one or two words is the trademark of a Factory winery. What’s missing is the word…”GROWN”!!
Factory wineries “Source” most of their inventory in the form of juices and concentrates from ‘off-site’ suppliers. Some of their inventory may come from America, but much does not. They bring it into their Factory winery, mix & blend it, match a color chart, filter it, add made up flavors of ‘hints & notes’, bottle it and offer it to the wine consumer. Most will never tell us from where they “Sourced” their inventory or that their wines are “Filtered”. Filtered wines have a heritage of about 85 years and a shelf life of between 2 to 4 years (for comparison, see UNFILTERED , below).
Even though our landfills are filling up with used and empty wine bottles (4 Billion a Year), these Factory wineries refuse to recycle/repurpose their empty wine bottles. Each time they bottle they are using brand new wine bottles from China, Mexico, or Italy.
So, Green Winer, what’s our alternative, we love wines!
Fortunately, we do have an alternative. Look for wines and wineries that produce wines that state the following on their labels:
1 1.) GROWN, PRODUCED, VINTED & BOTTLED (Produced, Vinted & Bottled can be OK if they are using whole Fresh fruits & Vegetables from a local farm. Ask questions.)
2.) UNFILTERED (these are the ONLY wines that continue to get better with age. They have NO end-time! Their heritage extends back into time over 8,000 years!)
3.) The word ‘NATURAL’ on any fruit or vegetable wine (this tells us that that winery is making their fruit wines from whole fresh fruits. Absent the word Natural and the wines are made from juices & concentrates.
If you have one of these wineries in your neighborhood that is producing their wine to these highest standards, please buy their wines and tell them that the “Green Winer” says Thank you!!
So, until we meet, again…..”Salute & Happy Days”!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
“Farm to Table” Wines!
Why these Wines Deserve a Place at Your Table!
America consumes about 350 million cases of wine every year. Most of these wines are consumed with food and with friends and family. Most of these wines are produced by huge wineries with names that are familiar to most of us. Surely, these wines are ‘Farm to Table’ wines and deserve a place at our table, right? Well,….maybe.
To answer that question, we’ve got to understand what makes a ‘Farm to Table’ wine.
‘Farm to Table’ wines are wines that come from wineries that do it all. They will have three or four of the following words clearly embossed on their labels. Those words are…”GROWN, PRODUCED, VINTED and BOTTLED” or “PRODUCED, VINTED and BOTTLED”!
No other wine can or should be considered a ‘Farm to Table’ wine! Most are “UNFILTERED” and are made from “WHOLE FRESH FRUITS and Vegetables”!
Wineries creating these wines are as important to our local communities as the local farmer who grows those fresh fruits and vegetables for our tables. Today, most of us understand how important it is to us to support our local farmers and growers. Local ‘Farm to Table’ wineries, however, have mostly slipped through the cracks. We go to great lengths to serve our friends and families fresh farm to table foods, but we seldom give a though to where our wines come from or how they are made.
Starting this holiday season and continuing throughout the coming years, please, seek out the local wineries in your community that are producing wines from the soils beneath your feet.
In the State of Florida, the best place to begin is with our “Certified Florida Farm Wineries”! As of this writing, there are approx. 25 within our state (Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery is one of these 25 Certified Florida Farm Wineries). You can find a complete list by contacting the ‘Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ website.
By Florida state law, a ‘Certified Florida Farm Winery’ must produce a minimum of 60% of their wines from Florida grown commodities. We at Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery are at…97%!!
Thank You…”Salute & Happy Days”!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Will Your Favorite Wine Last…100 Years?
Have you ever wondered just how long your favorite unopened bottle of wine would last?
Yes, I know, wines are made to be enjoyed. Most of us finish off our favorite bottle of wine in a couple of days. What we’re talking about here is the potential that is built into your favorite wine. Did the winemaker that made your favorite wine turn on all the switches that would give it a 100 year life span? Or, did he/she leave a few critical switches in the off position?
With this Blog, we’re going to answer this question and, hopefully, convince you that a wines potential age really does matter.
We’ll begin our journey by stepping back into history to 100 years ago, to the year…”1914”! In that year, all wines were being made to be the best that they could be. A wine produced in 1914 had all the switches turned on. A 1914 vintage wine had the potential to last 100 years!
Unfortunately, most wines produced today do not have the potential to last 100 years. Most wines produced today have a life expectancy of only 2 to 4 years.
So, what has happened to our modern wine making process that has shortened our wines life expectancy to a puny 2 to 4 years?
The answer is…”the wine making Process’ has changed!
Most of our modern wines are…’Filtered’ wines.
Most of the wines produced for most of our history as human beings on earth (including 1914) were…’Unfiltered” wines.
Any winery in America or around the world that is producing “Unfiltered” wines will ‘Always’ tell you on their label that their wine is “Unfiltered”. They are proud of the wines that they produce and want you to know that they are ‘Unfiltered’!!
Any winery that produces a ‘Filtered’ wine will ‘Never’ tell you on their label that their wines have been filtered.
There are other indicators of a wine’s longevity. Take a look at ‘How’ your wine is sealed. A wine sealed with genuine ‘sealing wax’ implies that that wine will be around for a very long time. Sealing wax actually seals and bonds to the glass neck of the wine bottle. The wine content inside the wine bottle is protected from the world outside. A wine bottle that is topped with plastic or aluminum foil is designed to ‘look-like’ and to ‘simulate’ the real sealing wax.
The actual package that your wine comes in can be an indicator of your wines longevity. A glass wine bottle can last 1 million years and is inert and unaffected by the world around it. Many of our ‘factory wineries’ have begun packaging their wines in composite boxes and plastic containers. Their packaging is not designed to last 1 million years.
The cork used to seal your wine bottle is an excellent indicator of your wines longevity. For most of our history of wine making throughout the world, the finest wines were corked with ‘real’ and natural cork corks! A real and natural cork will protect the wine inside your wine bottle for, at least, 30 to 35 years. Today, many factory wineries have dumped the natural cork closures in favor of the far cheaper ‘plastic’ corks made from oil.
Perhaps, the most important factor in determining your wines longevity is the wine itself! In America, by law, every winery must tell you how your wine was made. Look closely at your wines label. Does it read…”Grown, Produced, Vinted and Bottled”…or does it only read ‘Produced & Bottled’ or ‘Vinted & Bottled’? Only two words usually indicates that your wine was made from ‘juices’ and NOT “Whole Fresh Fruit”! If only two words are used, you should contact your winery and ask them where the juices came from that made your wine. If they become evasive or refuse to answer your question, you should seek another wine supplier.
So, where does your wine fall. Did your wine maker turn on all the switches, or, were a few critical switches left in the off position?
You are entitled to a perfect glass of wine every time! You are, also, entitled to a wine that is made to be the best that it can be! Potential longevity really does matter!! Choose wisely my friend!!
Until next time…”Salute and Happy Days”
The STORY of ROSE’ WINE!
We make four types of Rose’ wines at BHV. Three are natural Rose’s and one is subjective. I have always relished their soft colors and unique tastes and quiet fragrances. The truth is, I’d rather sip one of these Rose’s than any other fine wine! It seems to me the scent of the fruit is much closer to the surface in these Rose’ wines than in any other type of wine. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, there’s a perfect Rose’ wine for every season!
The story of Rose’ wine is as old as the history of wine making. Often, we consider Rose’ wines as a modern innovation…it’s NOT. From the very beginning, our ancestors were creating world-class Red, White and Rose’ wines. For most of our wine making history, these three wine types sat on the same pedestal as equals.
Just the other day, I was reminded how precious and unique that a Rose’ wine can be.
At a mid-week wine tasting, one of our frequent guests brought her father. This was his first visit. I sincerely hope we see him often. For you see, her father was…96 years old! His life has spanned nearly a century! When I asked him what was his favorite type of wine he answered, without hesitation …ROSE’!
Of course, the first wine that we sampled was our natural “Le Robber Rose’” wine. As he raised his wine glass to his lips and tasted this Rose’ wine for the first time, all eyes were fixed upon his face. Everyone was anxiously anticipating his reaction. Then, slowly lowering his wine glass he broke into a smile! Eventually and with deliberation he exclaimed….“This is the way that I remember Rose’ wines”!
If it has been a while since you’ve sipped a Rose’ wine, perhaps, it is time that you revisit this dear friend.
Until we meet again……
Thank You….”Salute & Happy Days”!