Well, that’s pretty much it! Harvest 2016, for the Finger Lakes wine area of upstate NY, is in the bag. Winemakers are busy in the cellars, but the backbreaking labor of bringing in the fruit is over.
The drought of summer 2016, along with hot late summer temperatures, created a harvest situation different than in years past. Usually, whites ripen first, and there is a window of staggered time to pick the grapes. This year, almost every variety was ready to pick at once, creating a push for helping hands–as well as a more aggressive grape seller’s market. Winemakers that buy grapes had to make fast decisions or be priced out to the next highest bidder. ‘Time crunch’ was the big term of this year’s harvest.
I had the opportunity once again to get my hands dirty and hand pick for a few different, local, smaller FLX grape growers. First-hand knowledge of grapes and fields make for a more educated taster and pourer of wines, so I take the chance where and when I can.
I exclusively hand picked on Seneca Lake this year-Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. As always, I learned so much from the people I worked with, the experience alone was worth the labor put in. Long hours, little pay (mostly), but you really get out of it what you put into it, and the access you get to the winemakers will absolutely change how you think about making (and drinking!) wine.
Look for 2016 vintage FLX reds as well to be exceptional–the extensive drought and heat really created an intense, smaller crop of beautiful fruit. I’ll be back in NY from California next year to try some of the Rieslings, Cabernet Francs, and Gewurtztraminers, that I helped pick, for sure…
I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel, so everyone can follow our upcoming adventures! Have a look and add it on to your viewing list, the RV is on the way back and we’re getting ready to drive across country-from the FLX to SLO 😊✌🏻️
I’m going slightly off topic, here.
I’m not going to talk about wine (yet), or tattoos, or even how the two were a huge part of my trip to Lodi, California and the Wine Bloggers Conference 2016 (WBC Website) this past weekend. I reconnected, we networked, we drank, and it was a fantastic time. More about that soon.
This post is about air travel.
It has taken me three years to become what I would consider a decent traveler. I am a nervous flier (but better each trip), get motion sick in moving vehicles, boat sick on the water, and generally arrive in much worse shape than I started in. I am a walking advertisement for Sea Bands, Bonine, and Rescue Remedy….(feel free to sponsor me). Four years ago, flying cross country, alone, would have been an absolute, panic attack inducing no-go.
I was tired of that debilitating, paralyzing fear being “my normal.” I wanted to see the world for myself. I went for hypnotherapy sessions. I tried different medications. I exist out of my comfort zone, being afraid and doing it anyway. I’m living life, and occasionally it makes me nauseous along the way! So what. Sick is uncomfortable, miserable…but do-able. Find the tricks that work for you. Eat the Pringles. Chew ginger candies. Valium and headphones work wonders.
So, here’s why I’m proud.
My journey to Sacramento airport from Syracuse, NY was supposed to be a relatively easy, two plane trip. Thanks to air traffic control and the airline I was on (United, not that it mattered, everything was a mess), it became apparent that this first time solo cross country jaunt was going to be a test to my mental fortitude as well. Delays led to missed connections and overnight groundings.
What did I do?
Not panic! I made the best of it, and planned ahead when I could. Always find outlets and chargers. Keep an empty water bottle handy.
I bought myself a fuzzy pillow and blanket set when it became apparent that I would be sleeping overnight on the Denver airport carpeted terminal floor. I amused myself at five am playing Pokemon Go (seriously). Buy the good headphones, you’ll be glad you had them. Nap when you can.
I MADE IT. FOURTEEN HOURS LATE.
Don’t freak out. Try to be cool to the other travelers surrounding you. I had some very lovely people give me tips and help me out in a couple of tough spots. Airline staff is also dealing with some major shit, so a little bit of nice can go a long way towards getting you rebooked. Don’t be THAT asshole. You know who I’m talking about.
My very first cross country solo flight? I would call it a “trial by fire,” successful escape from New York.
I promise, more about booze and tattoos soon!🍷✈️🍷
I’m currently sitting in Syracuse airport, starting the journey to Lodi, California! Hundreds of wine and lifestyle writers will be spending this weekend exploring local wines, farm to table foods, and networking–and BoozyLife will be one of them!
WBC2016 looks to be a very informative and fun weekend….you can follow along right here, live time on Twitter @boozylife, on my FB BoozyLife page…and look for some Periscope videos on @BoozyLife, because why the hell not 🍷😎🍾 #SeeYouInLodi
The last few months of our lives have been insane, and that is absolutely why the husband and I needed a day trip out of Ithaca! Thanks to Lenn and New York Cork Report, I was gifted a pair of tickets for a day at the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival in Lake George (ADK FEST LAKE GEORGE LINK)–excellent opportunity for a day trip, so we hit the road on a sunny Finger Lakes Saturday morning for a three hour escape to Lake George and the Adirondacks.
Lake George, NY is a quaint, picturesque town in the Northeast of NY that comes alive Memorial Day-Labor Day: cottages, restaurants, boaters, and mini golf are the main things I recall from my youth, I spent a bit of time in elementary school at a friend’s lake cottage in the village–bbq’s, lake swimming, and dock jumping, mostly…but I randomly remember a Paul Bunyan mini golf course, and rainy days of complete, excruciating boredom.
My first reaction to a Food and Wine fest in Lake George was initially surprise; would that little town attract enough wine lovers to make it an actual festival, or more of a little gatherings? There were over 60 vendors in attendance, from wineries, distillers, cideries, breweries, food trucks, and local artisans selling products ranging from goat milk soap and local cheeses all the way to fresh cut, organic potato chips and baked goods. Saturday looked like a sell out, and the crowds were enjoying the weather, the fresh air, and everything that the vendors had to offer. Long lines were friendly, and almost always worth the wait.
Right through the gate, we saw the booth pouring for Hudson Chatham Winery. I met winery co-owner Carlo DeVito at a Taste Camp event in the Hudson Valley two years ago, and am always on the lookout for their fantastic Old Vine Baco Noir. I had a chance to taste the 2014 vintage, which was absolutely one of my favorite wines of the afternoon…dark berry color, lots of body, and a smooth, lingering finish.
Finger Lakes wineries pouring included Americana Vineyards, Sweedish Hill, Goose Watch, Tug Hill, Miles Wine Cellars, and Three Brothers. Long lines and hot sun kept me from tasting many FLX wines, considering how close we are to the lake trails. I definitely had a great time tasting things that are harder to find at home.
Nine Pin Ciderworks out of Albany had some fantastic dry hard ciders; I really enjoyed the Signature Cider Blend, as well as the Ginger Hard Cider (infused with ginger and orange peel) and Blueberry (sparkling blush color, and infused with tart blueberries) for a surprisingly dry, but fruity cider. Really nice on such a hot, sunny day!
Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery is located just east of the Hudson River and situated on a 290 acre apple farm. Along with AppleJack and Vodka made with their own apples, they produce Core Black Raspberry Vodka, an incredibly light, fresh, and dry raspberry infused vodka. It would be incredible as a mixer, or standing on its own over ice, with a splash of seltzer. I need to make an effort to tour their distillery before we head for the West Coast. I love craft and local farm distilleries.
All in all, the festival was large enough to enjoy, but the crowds were manageable (except for a few food trucks) and everyone was really about enjoyment. I was very surprised at how many people in attendance were heavily tattooed, as well! Definitely not something I remembered about Lake George, but I was definitely asked for business cards, more than once!
Side note, the gal at the ID gate exclaimed our tattoos looked so ‘hardcore’ and asked if husband and I had any matching tattoos (which we do, but I had a momentary lapse of memory) which almost got me into trouble 😂 yes, we have matching Eiffel Towers that we had done at the Paris convention, two years ago!