Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Container is the Best for Bulk Storing & Aging of Wine?

What Container is the Best for Bulk Storing & Aging of Wine?

Since the art of wine making began thousands of years ago, we have used a multitude of containers for storing and aging our wines. There was a time when animal skins and clay/earthen amphora were the containers of choice. Some of the greatest cultures of ancient civilization (the Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, etc.) would have produced world-class wines using these basic of storage containers. We know that they were world-class, because we have examined the residue inside the wine containers from many ancient tombs and shipwrecks. Through the ages, we have sought better and more affordable types of wine storage containers. In the middle-ages, as Europe became the focal point of grape growing and wine production, the classic oak wine barrel became the wine storage container of choice. Oak was plentiful and could be easily manufactured into wine barrels. Of course, at this time, any environmental concerns were non-existent. Then came the industrial age. The late 19th and early 20th century heralded the dawn of newer and innovative wine storage materials and manufacturing techniques. Hand-blown glass demijohns and steel storage tanks entered the scene. The glass demijohn was the better choice, but it was expensive and somewhat difficult to produce. The steel storage tanks were cheap and easily manufactured, but had a major downside…they ‘Rusted’. Rust and wine just don’t go well together. Soon, however, science and industry combined their efforts and developed ’stainless steel’ wine storage tanks. Because it can be cleaned and reused and because it lasts a very long time, Stainless steel is still used today by most factory wineries.
This brings us to the present time. Today, most wineries are using one of the following three containers for bulk wine storage…”Oak, Stainless Steel or Glass Carboys”.

From an environmental aspect, oak is the worst choice. Oak trees can live for hundreds of years and can remove and tie up huge quantities of carbon from our atmosphere. According to scientists around the world, excess carbon is a prime suspect in global warming. Additionally, oak trees provide welcome shade for us and a home for an infinite variety of birds, squirrels and other wildlife. One of the biggest downsides of oak barrels is that they have a very limited lifespan. Because oak is porous it cannot be cleaned and sanitized properly. At some point most will end their lives as planters at a lawn and garden store. If a winery is committed to the taste of oak, they can use oak chips instead to flavor their wine. By the way, new oak barrels are extremely expensive (300 ~ 600 US dollars each). Guess who pays this cost?

Stainless steel tanks are a much better choice than oak for bulk storage of wine. Stainless steel tanks are easily manufactured. Although they won’t last forever, they will last a very long time. At the end of their lifespan, they can be melted and recycled. Throughout their usable life, they can be cleaned and sanitized and reused over and over. Because of the alloys used to create the stainless steel, some small amount of leaching can occur into the wines. Overall, stainless steel is my second best choice for bulk wine storage.

This leads us to my #1 choice! Glass is, by far, the best material for the long-term storing of wine!
Glass can be reused “FOREVER”! Glass can be easily cleaned and sanitized! However, the biggest reason that glass gets my thumbs up is that glass is…”INERT”! Glass does NOT affect the taste of the wine that’s stored in it! If your goal is to produce world class wines and to retain the full taste, flavor & bouquet of the grape or fruit, glass is the ONLY choice! Please consider when we go to the store or winery and buy a bottle of wine, 99% of the time our wine package is made from glass! What would you think of a winery that offered its wine in only ‘Oak’ or ‘Stainless Steel’ bottles?

So, the choices are clear! Bulk Oak wine storage gets…2 thumbs down. Bulk Stainless Steel wine storage gets…1 ½ thumbs up! Bulk Glass wine storage gets…2 thumbs up!!
Made the right way…’Unfiltered’…Wine is a marvelous product. Wine aged in glass…is the best that it can be!!

Salute and Happy Days!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Florida Grape Harvest

The Florida Grape Harvest!

When the heat of central Florida reaches 100+ degrees and the afternoon thunderstorms boil with dark clouds and bolts of lightning, an annual spectacle, that few see, unfolds across our landscape. Beginning about the end of July and continuing until about October the “Florida Grape Harvest” is underway!

With colors of black, gold and red, these sweet and fragrant orbs of grapes glisten in our Florida sun. Listen closely, can you hear the ‘thump...thump...thump’ as the grapes are picked and dropped into the picking bucket? Each day the grapes become fuller and riper and sweeter. What begins as a trickle of grapes will soon become a full and raging river of grapes. Over and over the same refrain is played…Pick, thump, carry, wash, crush, ferment!
Day after day, week after week the flow of grapes continues. Even after the sun sets and the moon rises, the grape march continues. The processing of the days harvest must not stop! Only after every bucket of grapes is secure in the fermenting room can we rest.

Tomorrow morning comes early for the grape grower and the grape picker. The first rays of sunlight reveals a multitude of busy hands reaching in and out of the grape vines. Another day is dawning and the music of the Florida grape picker, again, fills the air…’thump…thump…thump’!
Then, one day in early October, the ‘thumping’ stops. Other than the cooing of a pair of Mourning Dove, the morning air is still and silent. The grape pickers have gone. The grape vines are still lush and green, but the grapes are missing from this Florida landscape. The Florida Grape Harvest has ended.
So, was all the hard work and long days and nights worth the effort? Well, we’ll not know for sure until YOU sample the wines…a year from now! Your words, your facial expressions, your eyes will tell us if we have earned your accolades. We consider YOU the judge. If YOU are happy and pleased with our wines, then we have done our work well.
So, come visit our vineyard and winery and take a peek behind the scenes. Remember, you’re the captain, you’re the supreme judge and your opinion does matter! You can visit our web site at
Salute & Happy Days!
If you have any comments or questions on this Blog or suggestions for future Blogs, please email me at   


Sunday, September 9, 2012

How the World’s Best Wines are Made

How the World’s Best Wines are Made

and….. fallen trees are memorialized!

After a recent afternoon thunderstorm, I discovered a large tree had fallen behind our house. It had, obviously, been dead for a very long time, as it was mostly lacking any bark and most of the limbs had rotted away. However, it was still massive. It had to have weighed several tons. My first thought was about the huge task that lay before me. It was going to take several hours with a chainsaw to clean this mess up.


Then, as a bolt of lightning from heaven... it came to me!

The same hidden force that caused this beast of a tree to fall to the ground was the same force that has clarified our wines for hundreds of years! Slowly, relentlessly, 24 hours a day, the “Force of Gravity” worked its magic. Gravity never stopped pulling the tiniest particle of the grape or fruit to the bottom of the wine barrel.

Those wine artists of years gone by, understood this silent miracle. All they had to do was to be patient…and…wait! For a year or more they waited. As each day passed, their excitement grew. Then, finally, the day of celebration arrived! With their wine thief in hand, they drew out a small amount of the wine and slowly released it into their wine goblet. Raising the goblet to their nose, they smelled the fragrance of the grape. It was a good, pure and refreshing smell! Next, came the color of the wine. It was bright, clear and vibrant! Now the moment of the greatest anticipation…the ‘First Taste’! Raising the goblet slowly to the lips, the fate was sealed. The ‘Taste’…’Flavor’ and ‘Bouquet’ of the wine rang out loud and clear. With the wine artists care, and the restive hand of gravity, another fabulous vintage of wine was born! 


The story that I have just told, is true! This story has been repeated by wine artists for most of our human existence. It is the story of the finest wines in the world. It is the story of our collective heritage. It is the story of…”UNFILTERED WINES”!!

So, as an informed consumer, you are now empowered to judge and select a perfect bottle of wine! All that you need to look for is the word on the wine label…”UNFILTERED”!

If you need further info or encouragement, please feel free to contact me or stop by our vineyard and winery. All that we produce are…Unfiltered Wines!

(PS: I’ve postponed cutting up the fallen tree. After writing this Blog, I’m thinking of turning it into a memorial. However, I should tell you, my wife thinks…otherwise!)

Thank You…’Salute and Happy Days’!

If you have any comments or questions on this Blog or suggestions for future Blogs, please email me at

“Florida Wines” a wine blog by...The Green Winer

“Florida Wines”

A Wine Blog by…

The Green Winer

On this first Wine Blog in TownTaster, I thought that it might be appropriate to talk about…”Florida Wines”!

When we think of Florida, we usually think about beautiful white sand beaches, gorgeous warm weather, bountiful sunshine and delicious Florida oranges. Yes, every one of those is a true and accurate description of Florida. In the minds of most Floridians and tourists alike, Florida is defined by each of those fabulous assets. When we think of wines, however, we rarely think of Florida produced wines. It is my prediction, that in the future, Florida produced wines will be added to that list of defining assets.

What makes me say that? Well, quite simply, we now have the grape varieties that will, and do, thrive in our environment.  My wife (Lenora) and I own and operate a “Certified Florida Farm” vineyard and winery located in eastern Manatee County (Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery  ). We grow a variety of grape known as “Muscadine”. Its heritage is native to the southeast United States and it IS a fabulous grape. In order to survive and prosper in our hot and humid environment, nature endowed this grape with one of the thickest skins of any grape in the world. As it turns out, that thick skin is an asset that’s almost unbelievable. It has 40 times the anti-oxidants and 7 times the resveratrol of any grape in the world! When you make a wine with this grape, you’ve got a wine with ‘World-Class’ potential!

Every type of wine that we currently enjoy can be made from varieties of this grape. Reds, Whites, Rose’, Blush and even Sparkling wines are being made by Florida wineries.

Currently, there are approx. 33 Florida Farm Wineries within the State of Florida. To obtain a list of these Florida wineries, go to the “Florida Department of agriculture and Consumer Services” web site at

A recent action by our Florida legislature will do much to encourage the growth of our Florida wine industry. By changing the rules to include sustainable agriculture (nature produced grapes, fruits and berries) and Florida grown fruits and vegetables, more environmentally conscience wineries will enter the Florida wine scene. The result should be more and more diverse wines for us to enjoy.

So, in the future, when you’re thinking about wine, please consider Florida Wines.

Thank you’salute and happy days’!

 If you have any comments or questions on this Blog or suggestions for future Blogs, please email me at