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Cheers to the Best Wine in Wisconsin

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Steve w/awards

It is with great pride that we can announce that we received the Best in Show Professional Wine Award two weeks ago at the 5th annual Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition.  This was the second year in a row that Petite Pearl won Best Wisconsin Red wine and Best Overall Wine.  We also received Best in Show for our second year in a row with our Door 44 wine Bubbler as Best Sparkling Wine.  Also receiving Best in Show designation was our Frozen Tundra Original.  Overall, all 25 wines that we entered from both Parallel 44 and Door 44 wineries received a medal.

What I find very gratifying is that we received the most medals of any winery for wines made from Wisconsin grown grapes.  The competition is focused primarily on wines made from Wisconsin grown grapes.  The judges hailed from the Midwest and were familiar with cold climate grapes.  The 187 wines in this competition were evaluated on 10 attributes in a blind taste.  A Double Gold requires a unanimous decision by the judging panel and we were awarded Double Golds for Petite Pearl, Marquette, Bubbler, La Crescent, Seyval Blanc, Frozen Tundra White, and Frozen Tundra Original.

Even though we did really well, we will not be resting on our laurels as we are on a mission to create world class wine that just happens to come from Wisconsin.  I also want to thank our growers for their excellent work because as both growers and winemakers here at Parallel 44 and Door 44 we know that world class wine is grown more than it is made.

I invite you to grab some of these bottles before these wines are gone and raise a glass with me to toast the great 2014 vintages and to hope for future great vintages!

Cheers,

Steve

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Jessica's Introduction

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

 

Jessica

 

Hello!

My name is Jessica, and I am the newest team member to be added to Parallel 44 where I will be the Hospitality and Wine Club Manager.

I grew up in a small suburb of Milwaukee named Brown Deer. After high school I headed off to the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire where I received my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. I concentrated on General Management but also received two certificates in Leadership Studies and Organizational Communication. I was also fortunate enough to study abroad in Winchester, England for a semester. Outside of living in England, I traveled to multiple countries including France and Italy. I grew so much from this experience and felt that I really got to Explore My Taste just like Maria and Steve feel about their wineries.

After graduating in May, I took a couple of weeks off to travel and recuperate before starting this newest chapter of my life. I moved to De Pere at the end of June and started working just two days after. The kindness that I've felt from not only Steve, Maria, and the Parallel 44 staff but also the community members, has made me feel more than welcome into my new work and home life. I am so excited for what's to come and the experiences I will be able to share with you!

I can't wait to meet you during your next visit to Parallel 44!

 

Jess

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Tasting Tip

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Bob

 

Greetings from the vineyard!

Working in the vineyard has become much more pleasant lately the past couple of weeks as the vines are in full bloom.  It's not so much because the grape flowers are beautiful, they are rather simple and unspectacular blossoms, but the perfume from the flowers smells great. One doesn't even have to get up close to the flowers to smell, just strolling through the vineyard is enough to appreciate the olfactory delight that fills one's nostrils.

I'm often asked if I'm worried about bee colony collapse and the resulting drop in the bee population. My answer is generally, yes, but specifically related to grapes, no I'm not worried at all.  Bees are completely unnecessary to the pollination of grapes as grapes are pollinated by the wind.  Bees or no bees, there will be wine.

Talking about the perfume of grape flowers reminds me of a bit of tasting room etiquette that I'd like to pass along. I'm not in the tasting room all too often, but occasionally when I'm in there I'm hit with a wall of perfume or cologne. Now judicious application of perfume or cologne in many a social situation is completely acceptable and pleasant. However, when going to a wine tasting or just enjoying a bottle of wine in company, it is not recommended. Why? Because the wearing of perfume doesn't only interfere with your enjoyment of the wine, but the enjoyment of those around you as well because perfume's aromatics are - as they are intended - perceivable to you and others in the room.

Most of the enjoyment of wine comes from the smell and taste, and 75% of what humans perceive as taste is actually informed upon by the sense of smell, so it would stand to reason that cologne would greatly impact what one experiences from a glass of wine. Case in point, I was out for dinner not too long ago, and somebody handed me their glass of wine to smell because they said it seemed "off," they may or may not have been right, I couldn't tell because all I could smell after they handed me the glass was their perfume.

If you think about a typical perfume application location, the wrist, this makes perfect sense, and this is likely why they thought they had a bad glass of wine. So the next time you're going out for a wine tasting, please forgo the cologne and perfume, the wine will taste all the better!

-Bob

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Christmas comes in July for Ice Wine Fans.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Steve and Ice Wine

I know it seems unusual to be talking about Ice wine in the middle of summer, but the vintage of 2014 has just been bottled and I am looking forward to its release.  Wine Club members already have had the chance to pre-purchase this wine and the general public will be able to purchase starting July 18. I am very proud of the release of this 2014 Ice Wine from our estate vineyard.  We here in Wisconsin are one of the very few places on earth that can produce authentic ice wine.

Authentic ice wine requires that the grapes be literally frozen on the vine before they can be harvested.  Generally you need about 3 days in a row where temperatures don't exceed 20 degrees.  The grapes are then crushed and pressed while still frozen.  The reasons for this is that the freezing process freezes the water inside and what is pressed out is just the highly concentrated essence of the grapes' sugars and acids.

We had an unusually early cold snap this past winter and we were picking these grapes early in the morning of November 21 at a temperature of 7 degrees.  After pressing the nearly 1500 pounds of frozen grapes we were left with about 600 half bottles of ice wine.

This is Wisconsin in a bottle, and I like to call it the sweet nectar of the Frozen Tundra. My impressions of it so far it expresses notes of honey, apple, and apricot. I look forward to get it into competitions and see how it stacks up against other ice wines of the world.

Cheers!

Steve

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Nicole's Introduction

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nicole

Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a new member of the Parallel 44 family! I am excited to start my new career as the office manager at the greatest winery in the area!

A little background on myself, I grew up in Green Bay, WI and the largest move I have made was to Howard, a suburb of the city. I have a wonderful boyfriend, Cody and an amazing 7 year old son, Talon. We also have 2 cockapoos, Bella and Brewer.

My past work experience is quite diversified. I have been a multi-store retail manager, I also owned an insurance agency for a few years, and now I have been drawn to the wine business. I am so excited to learn firsthand, the process of winemaking. I am also thrilled to be able to use my knowledge with office and retail management and blend it with a new passion of mine, wine! I also currently am a first year student at a local technical college and studying Human Resources. I love to learn new skills and make a difference for a locally owned business.

I am so thankful that Maria, Steve, and the rest of the Parallel's family has taken me under their wing! I hope to bring a lot of positivity and knowledge to our office and I cannot wait to learn and explore the new adventure in front of me, with a glass of wine!

I look forward to meeting all of you!

Nicole

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Wine and Summer – The Perfect Pairing

Thursday, June 11, 2015

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Although every season is a good for pairing food and wine, Summer, with it lighter food offerings seems to be perfect for pairing refreshing crisp white or rosé wines.  In summer, we tend to eat lighter and simpler -- fresh garden salads, grilled vegetables, fresh fruit, and simple cheese platters.  A crisp cool wine offers a refreshing option for these light foods.  There is nothing better than the look of condensation on an elegant wine glass, and savoring that first cool sip of wine.  Add in a comfortable patio chair, an outdoor view, and some nice music, and you'll agree that nothing could be more relaxing!

White wines tend to have a crisper finish than reds, which leaves our palates feeling more refreshed. When we eat a food, our palate is coated with the flavors of that food.   The crisp finish on a white wine washes over our palate and intermixes with the food, creating a unique food and wine pairing experience.  If a wine is too heavy, it can overpower the flavors of the food.  So for lighter foods, a lighter wine offers that perfect combination of flavor and body.

If you crave a wine with a little more fruit quality but the same crispness and food pairing quality of a white, rosés are also a nice summer option.  Rosés are once again becoming a popular wine style and the offerings are far more expansive than the once limited White Zinfandel.   Stroll the rosé section of your favorite wine retailer and you will find rosés that come from many different regions (including a nice selection of local rosés) and that are made from a wide variety of grapes.  Summer is a great time to explore your taste and try a  rosé!  Cheers!

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The Prefect Wine for Summer

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Couple by vineyard

Growing up my grandma use to say that only in Wisconsin can you have all four seasons in a week. While we didn't get a dose of all four season in one week, we did definitely experienced all fours seasons in the month of May. We had everything from cold and rainy to humid and sunny and everything in between. However, for the time being it looks like Mother Nature has finally calmed down and is going to give start giving us some nice weather just in time for the start of summer.

Which is great because summer really is my favorite time of year. Summer is when everyone wants to be out doing something with either family or friends. For me this means a lot of cookouts and gatherings with family and friends. This summer I plan on using our Wine of the Month, Glacier Fumé as my go to white wine. Glacier Fumé is a great summer wine, because it is a crisp, refreshing sweet wine that can be enjoyed by itself or with your next cookout. Personally I enjoy serving Glacier Fumé with barbecued pork, grilled chicken breasts or and sort of seafood, especially shrimp. Now is an excellent time to stock up. As an added bonus this month you will also get two FREE wine glasses when you purchase two bottles of Glacier Fume.

If you haven't tried Glacier Fumé yet I suggest that you take advantage of the next nice day and come pay a visit to the winery and try this excellent wine. While you're here, take a few minutes and enjoy a glass of wine while sitting on the patio.  I know that's where I'll be, once I figure out how to get my desktop to work out on the patio.

Cheers!

Sam

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The Backup Grape Buds Save the Day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bob and Vines

So last week Wednesday during the wee hours of the morning, our vines were going through some tough weather.  The temperature in the vineyard dropped into the mid-twenties.  While the vines themselves can take that, young tender shoots are vulnerable.  Unfortunately, our vines had started to grow out their new shoots for this season.  The frost last week did definitely kill many young buds and shoots.  Frost events are not absolute, that is a vine might lose a certain percentage of young primary shoots to frost but still have a good deal of shoots that somehow don't get killed by frost.  (Don't ask me why. I don't understand either.  You would expect if it's cold enough to kill one shoot on a vine, all the other ones would die too, but they don't.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that it is not so absolute!) Some vines fared better than others, and we will see a drop in how many grapes we get this year from some parts of the vineyard.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that grapes, unlike cherry or apple trees have backups.  If a cherry tree is hit with a late spring frost, and all of the blossoms are killed by frost, its game over for that season - no cherries until next year.  If some of a grapevine's shoots are killed by a frost, the vine has two more buds right next to the dead shoot ready to go.  Those backup buds are like a baseball player on the bench ready to fill in should a starting player go down with an injury.  Just as in baseball, the backups aren't as good as the starter is typically.  Backup grape buds tend to have fewer and smaller flower clusters, and therefore yield less fruit.  That said, having a lesser backup is much better than having no backup!

The vines aren't the only ones with a plan for when the worst happens.  I too have employed strategy in anticipation of frost events.  When doing dormant pruning in winter I leave extra shoots and therefore buds on the vines.  In seasons where we don't get a late spring frost I have to remove those shoots or there would be too much fruit for the vine to handle.  In frost seasons like this one I tie down those shoots to help replace buds that were lost to frost.  While things might have looked downright dark last Wednesday morning, things will green up, the backup buds will start to push this week, I will tie down the backup canes, and we'll be off for the season, maybe a little beat up, but there will be grapes!

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What Do Red Poppies, American Flags, Parades, and Picnics All Have in Common?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tractor

Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Customarily the last Monday in May, this day also marks the unofficial start of summer picnics and barbeques for many.

Memorial Day grew out of Decoration Day observances, which began after the Civil War. In those days, families gathered from far and wide at the end of May to visit cemeteries where lost soldiers had been laid to rest. They cleaned tombstones and "decorated" with planted flowers. Veterans' graves received special decoration with the placement of small American flags. After the somber visits, more joyful picnics and cookouts followed back at home. The symbolic tradition continues on today.

How do you typically spend your Memorial Day? Mine is usually spent with family and friends. We take an annual trip up to Jacksonport, Door County for Maifest. Among the parade, music, food, run, art fair, and activities, we make the trip to attend the horse pull, a hobby that extends many generations in my family.  The weekend is filled with Red Remembrance Poppies, American Flags, and a visit to my church's cemetery to watch the vets give their gun salute to the fallen soldiers. The scent of brats and burgers on the grill certainly cannot be missed.

Of course, we can't forget the wine. Parallel 44 wines are essential for all of your summer cookouts, parties, picnics, and more. Here's my list of the top 5 wines that are delicious and pair perfectly with the brats and burgers frying on the grill this weekend.

  1. Vin Du Nord- semi-sweet wine with a sweet cherry flavor, offers the fruit forward expression of a white wine and the nuanced complexity of a red
  2. Nouveau Rouge- semi-sweet red with notes of raspberry and strawberries that give way to a black cherry finish, flavor is slightly drier at room temperature and fruitier when chilled
  3. Frozen Tundra Original- sweet and tart expressions of bright cherry
  4. Frozen Tundra Red- semi-sweet red, begins with a cherry aroma and finishes with flavors of blackberry, currant, and plum
  5. Red Door- easy drinking dry red with earthy undertones, flavors of black cherries, and a smooth finish

Stop in this weekend to try these wines plus many more! We would love to be a part of your Memorial Day festivities.

Cheers!

-Taylor

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The Vines are Springing into Action

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wine & Buds

Last night was a worrisome night for me as we got precipitously close to frost damage. I checked the temperature at the vineyard every 15 minutes from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. It reached a low of 36.5 F at 5:40 a.m.  Until the vines were greeted by the rays of early morning sun light and the temperatures began to creep out of the danger zone.

Most visitors to our vineyard and winery are surprised to hear me say that I worry much more about the vines in May than I do when it is 25 below zero in January and February. These vines can withstand subzero temperatures quite well, but they don't' fare well when we have frost in early to mid-May.

Swelling Bud

Now that the buds have swelled and opened, the unfurling leaves are very prone to the killing impact of frost.  While a frost will not kill the vine, it will kill the primary bud which contains the clusters of fruit for this year's vintage.  This is devastating in two ways.  One is that we would have a very minimal crop, the second, is that the labor involved through the rest of season would need to continue but with no payoff of a vintage to harvest in September.

We dodged a bullet last night and it looks like we are probably in the clear for the rest of the season. Three years ago we suffered severe frost damage in May of 2012.  As I have said before, wine growing is farming and as a farmer you have to roll with the ups and downs of season variability.

So tonight as you enjoy a glass of wine from Parallel 44 and Door 44 join me with a toast of thanksgiving that 2015 looks to be on track for a terrific vintage.

Cheers!

Steve

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N2185 Sleepy Hollow Rd.
Kewaunee, WI 54216

(920) 388-4400
(888) 932-0044

(920) 388-4400     (888) 932-0044     N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road | Kewaunee, WI 54216

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