Regional Winery Meetings Scheduled for Pennsylvania Wineries in Summer 2016
By: Denise M. Gardner
Each calendar year, Penn State Extension works with the state wine industry to schedule “regional” meetings with local producers.
Regional meetings are kindly and financially supported by the PA Wine Marketing and Research (WMRB) Board and Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA), as part of the annual operating expenses that are granted to the Penn State Extension Enology position each fiscal year. The financial support is, in part, contributed by each Pennsylvania winery in the annual assessment on the gallons of wine produced across the state, which are submitted to the PA WMRB. It is this funding mechanism that makes these visitations possible on an annual basis, and all Pennsylvania wineries are encouraged to attend.
These regional visitations by the Extension Enologist were designed to be convenient for local industry members in terms of location. While industry members, or perspective industry members are welcome to attend any of the meetings, the purpose of these meetings is for me to get out into various parts of the state while making traveling a bit more convenient for industry members.
Regional meetings are free for industry members or prospective members to attend.
All regional meetings are hosted at a local winery, and meeting locations are listed below and on the Penn State Extension Enology website.
Each region organizes their regional visits differently, and they are designed to be beneficial for that region of industry members.
Regional meetings all have a unique structure. Many are only a few hours long, offer a production tour of a local winery, and many include a tasting. In the past, regional meetings have included anything from question and answer sessions on a production tour:
To tasting bench trials created by some of the local wineries:
To hosting benchmark tastings on specific wine varieties:
To holding a short educational program on a topic of specific interest to that region.
Additionally, these visitations by the Extension Enologist offer several benefits to the local industry, including:
- meet with existing producers to discuss potential problems or challenges within the winery,
- visit with potentially new or new producers within the wine community,
- introduce new producers to existing operations to enhance networking and collaboration across the state,
- answer questions pertaining to wine production and quality, and
- review Penn State research updates pertinent to the wine community.
The tentative agendas for each regional meeting, in addition to their scheduled date, for 2016 are listed below.
- Central PA: Thursday, June 16th, hosted at Brookmere Winery
The program at Brookmere will include a production tour with a question and answer period by all attendees. Additionally, Denise will conduct an educational tasting on local Chambourcin wines produced across Pennsylvania. This was created by request from the regional producers in order to get a better idea of how Chambourcin tastes throughout the state.
- Northwestern PA (Erie County): Wednesday, August 3rd – To schedule a winery visit by Denise, please contact Andy Muza to get on the schedule.
This regional visit will follow the day after the “Stabilize Your Wine – Filtration, SO2, and Potassium Sorbate” workshop hosted by Cornell and Penn State Extension at the CLEREL Station in Portland, NY. This workshop requires pre-registration (see the attached link), and anyone is welcome to attend with paid registration.
On August 3rd, Denise will visit individual wineries to discuss winery-specific problems or to keep Denise current on what is happening in the winery. To schedule an appointment with Denise, please contact Andy Muza in the Erie County Extension Office.
- Southwestern PA: Thursday, August 4th, hosted at La Casa Narcisi Winery
The southwestern regional meeting will be held at La Casa Narcisi Winery and include a production tour. Denise will host a small educational session on high potassium winemaking with a tasting of the high potassium wines (i.e., Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) that were produced by Penn State during the 2015 harvest. Wineries are welcome to bring their own wines for feedback and welcome to stay through lunch, which can be purchased at the restaurant on site at La Casa Narcisi.
- Northeastern PA: Date and location TBD, but please reserve August 30th or 31st on your calendars
Currently, the date and final agenda for the northeastern part of the state is being discussed. But, please continue to check the “PSU Extension V&E News” listserv and Extension Enology website for updates.
More information, and updates, on each regional visit can be found at: http://extension.psu.edu/food/enology/events. Pre-registration is NOT required for anyone to attend regional meetings.
While there is not a Southeastern PA regional meeting currently scheduled, there are several events hosted in the southeastern section of PA that are conveniently located for those regional wineries. Wine Trails in the southeastern quadrant of PA are encouraged to contact Denise for specific visitations.
The most current workshop on the calendar includes the Sensory Defects for Fermented Beverages and Distilled Spirits workshop, held on June 9th, which will be hosted in Collegeville, PA (Montgomery County). Registration for this workshop is required, and details for the program can be found at the above link.
As is the past, the Penn State Extension Enologist acts as a resource for Pennsylvania wineries when production problems or questions arise. You can find contact information In addition to the list of educational programming designed for the local industry, Penn State Extension is filled with:
- Online resources via Penn State Extension’s website
- The “Wine & Grapes U.” blog site, which includes a yearlong calendar of local/regional/national events and local sales and job opportunities.
- Annual workshops including the Wine Quality Improvement (WQI) Short Course held every January, the upcoming Sensory Defects for Fermented Beverages and Distilled Spirits workshop, the PA Wine Marketing & Research Board Symposium, and many additional workshops that cover a multitude of topics. Previous workshop topics covered: micrbiological techniques for wine production, the use of sulfur dioxide in the winery, pre-harvest preparation, benchmark wine tastings, blending, and more!
- Wine Made Easy Fact Sheets, which can now be found on the Extension website! These are quick print outs designed to help winemakers in the winery. Visit the link for all of the topics currently published.
- The weekly “Penn State Extension V&E News” listserv, distributed every Friday to keep industry members current on research, real-time issues in the vineyard and winery, and upcoming events pertinent to this industry.