Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fireside Wines Earn High Praise at Jeff Cup!


The Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, celebrating its twelfth year, selects great wines from across the United States for its prestigious competition.  “While many competitions insist upon selecting a preordained number of sweepstakes winners, our judges are allowed to find the top wines, whether there are only one, two or three, or even NO winners in some categories, as happened this year,” says Jefferson Cup Invitational founder Doug Frost.

Rather than emphasizing traditional awards of gold and silver, as many wine competitions do, the Jefferson Cup invites wineries with a proven track record of excellence in competitions and tastings.  Competition organizers stress the importance of bringing awareness to wines that are “extremely deserving of the nation’s attention”.

FiresideWinery, located between Marengo and Williamsburg, is fast becoming the premiere Midwest wine destination and crafting some of the best wines in the country.  “Identifying and growing the best grapes for our particular climate is crucial”, says Fireside owner William Wyant, “and combined with expert wine making knowledge and continued attention to detail are the cornerstones of our winemaking philosophy”. 

“This competition underscores the increasing appreciation for Iowa wines by a panel of internationally recognized judges”, says Wyant.  Three Fireside wines entered into competition fared very well; two earning Medals of Excellence (Gold): BLU and 2010 IowaSeyval; and one recognized with a Medal of Merit (Silver): Iowa Frontenac.

We encourage you to stop by the winery to try these (and our other wines) for yourself.  You can find many of our wines at these fine retail stores: Locator.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Punching Down the Cap

Red wine production tends to begin in open-top fermentation tanks called micro-bins.  Once the red wine grapes are destemmed and crushed (actually, the skins are broken to release the juice) we pump the "must" (the grape skins, seeds, and juice) into these bins to ferment.

HOW DOES FERMENTATION WORK?  Wine yeast have the ability to convert sugars into alcohol (with carbon dioxide and heat as by-products). Fully ripened wine grapes tend to be very sweet, upwards of 25% sugar, and we in the wine industry refer to this percentage as degrees-Brix, or 25 Brix.  Generally speaking the yeast can convert about one-half of the sugar into alcohol, thus a 25% sugar grape juice can yield about 12.5% alcohol wine. The fermentation process creates a lot of carbon dioxide gas!

Once fermentation takes off, with the addition of a specially selected commercial yeast strain, the grape skins rise to the surface because of all that CO2 gas.  Because the grape skins contain important properties, such as anthocyanins (color pigments), tannin, and other good stuff, we want to make sure it is incorporated into the fermenting wine.  Additionally, it makes for good practice to avoid any bad micro-organisms.

So, two or three times daily we "punch down the cap" to make sure all that goodness is in the wine! :)  The following video shows the process in action.

Monday, November 7, 2011

FALL FOR WINE - Coming Soon!

Just in time for the Holidays! Join us for our annual Fall for Wine case sale. Save 20% off our regular prices when you purchase a case (12+ bottles) of your favorite Fireside wines (cases may be mixed).

NEW RELEASE - FRONTENAC (our award-winning signature dry red wine) will be released and available during the Fall for Wine event.

The 20% case discount does not qualify for enrollment in the Fireside Winery case club; however, renewals at 20% are accepted if expiration date is within one month of the event dates.