2006 Seyval Blanc

Seyval — JRose — 2006September 8th, 2006 — My Seyval Blanc hangs on the vine at J. Rose Vineyards in Damascus, Maryland, just prior to harvest.

Yes, I’m finally making the move! For better or worse, my future grape wines will be made from fruit that I choose, I harvest, I crush, I press, and I ferment.

In the past, the wines I made were either “country” wines made from local fruits such as peaches, apples, blueberries, etc., or they were grape wines made either from kits or from fresh juice purchased from Brehm Vineyards in California. Well, no more… 🙂

To date, all of my wines have turned out to be more than satisfactory (IMHO, and a high-pH cherry not withstanding) and many have won prizes. Nevertheless, I’ve always felt the need to be an apologist for my grape wines since I only controlled part of the process. It’s not so much that I’ve heard, but more that I’ve felt, the following:

“Tim, this wine is lovely!”
“Yes, it did turn out quite nicely, didn’t it? It’s from a Cabernet/Sangiovese kit I bought at The Flying Barrel.”
“Oh… I see…”


“Tim, this wine is lovely!”
“Yes, it did turn out quite nicely, didn’t it? I got the juice from Brehm Vineyards in California. They choose the grapes, pick them, crush them, freeze them, and send them to me whenever I want.”
“Oh… I see…”

As I write this, 116 lbs. of Seyval Blanc, including the grapes you see above, are going through primary. Sugar came in at 20.3 Brix and T.A. (as tartaric) was 7g/L for both the free run and press fraction. The free-run was a little lighter/greener in color and the pressed juice was a little yellower/darker in color (oxidation, I suppose) but otherwise they tested/tasted identical. (Can you tell that my press is not terribly efficient? 🙂 I added one lb. of sugar to each batch to get to 1.092 (~12.5% potential alcohol) and inoculated both with Cotes du Blanc. I’ll tweak the acids up, as needed, this winter once I have an indication of how much potassium bitartrate they are going to throw…

I’m expecting Chardonnay to come in about a week from now and Cabernet will follow — probably in the next three or four weeks. And I’ve got dibs on at least 100 lbs. of each of those as well. So I’m on my way… 🙂

So, about a year from now, the conversation will probably go something like this:

“Tim, this is a lovely white wine! What is it?”
“Yes, it did turn out quite nicely, didn’t it? It’s a Seyval Blanc.”
“Wow, I didn’t know that you grew grapes! Where did you find the space?”
“I… umm… well, I… Dammit, all in due course, okay?”

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