Chaumette June News: Letter From Hank

I thought that after 22 years of grape growing, I had seen it all. Not so. We are seeing things in the vineyard this year that have never occurred before. In the last newsletter, I mentioned uneven bud break, that is on the same vine that some buds had come out and were in fact several inches long and others buds had not come out at all. That situation has taken its next step. The shoots that were out a couple of inches are now 14 to as much as 24 inches long, while the slower responding buds have now, thankfully, come out but are 4-6 inches long and others are all different lengths. So it remains an uneven growth pattern at the moment. I am happy, however, to report that the inflorescence and new bloom seems healthy. The great thing about bloom in the vineyard is the perfume. The grape flowers are what botanists describe as inconspicuous, but the perfume is abundant. Every year I recognize that we are in the bloom stage by the perfume rather than the appearance of the vines.Chaumette grapes in June

The inconsistency that I describe seems to be widespread in Missouri. I have spoken with 8 or 10 growers in recent weeks, and it seems that everyone is experiencing the same inconsistency that I describe. It is too early to forecast whether or not this will affect the quantity of the harvestbut the vines are healthy and the bloom seems normal, so we have every reason to believe that the quality of the coming harvest will be up to par. I am now convinced that the reason for the uneven bud break is from the extreme low temperature episodes that we all experienced this past winter.

Three weeks ago we had a 10 minute hail storm in this part of the state. The hail was about the size of a green pea and accumulated to a depth that covered the ground. I was having dinner in the Grapevine Grill at the time of the storm, and after about 10 minutes from a distance, it looked like it had snowed on the patio behind the Tasting Room. The temperature was in the low 40’s but somehow the hail on the ground did not melt for a long time. In fact, when I woke up the next morning and looked out on the deck at our house, there was still hail on the deck from the night before, and the temperature was 41 degrees. Luckily, the damage to the vines was confined to shredding some leaves, bruising shoots on the west side, which is the direction from which the wind was blowing, and the loss of few shoots. Standing in the window watching the storm was a pretty scary moment. The intensity of the storm made me think that there would be devastating results. Thankfully, that was not so. Mother Nature is certainly unpredictable, and this year it has been made abundantly clear.

Wine Enthusiast MagazineI’m pleased to announce that our Marketing Director Jennifer Johnson was interviewed by Wine Enthusiast Magazine about a story about esoteric wine terms, that can be read by clicking hereJennifer’s background as a Court of Master Sommeliers Certified SommelierSociety of Wine Educators Certified Specialist in Wine and contributing writer for Feast Magazine came in handy when explaining the meaning behind “barnyard,” “umami” and “chewy,” among other obscure wine terms!

Jennifer had a brief appearance in FEAST T.V.’s May episode featuring our Chef Adam Lambay, as he prepares some of his delicious dishes that pair well with Missouri wines, and beware as you watch ~ you’ll grow hungry quickly!

spit-roasted Rain Crow Ranch pork loin  with local strawberry & herb compote;

spit-roasted Rain Crow Ranch pork loin
with local strawberry & herb compote; photo courtesy Nancy Stiles, RiverfrontTimes

Thanks to all of you who joined us for our chef collaborative with The Restaurant at The Cheshire’s Chef Rex Hale and our Chef Adam Lambay in St. Louis! It was an absolutely delicious event, and please join us for Part 2 of Country Chef, City Chef on Sunday, August 17th here at The Barn at Chaumette with an initial stop at Baetje Goat Farm, where we will meet Owners Steve and Veronica Baetje! Chef Adam and Chef Rex will be preparing another superb dinner using ingredients from our local farmer friends!  Here’s a nice article from Riverfront Times

It was fantastic to see you at our Mother’s Day Brunch, and we hope that you’ll be back to enjoy our Annual Father’s Day BBQ at our Barn! Bring your frisbees and your fishing poles, and enjoy a day with your Dad while Chef Adam prepares a barbecue feast!

Lastly, we loved receiving a shout-out from Pine Ridge Vineyards, a Napa Valley producer when we posted this unfiltered photo in this tweet:

#MOvineyards RT

green growth no filter

@ChaumetteWinery: gorgeous green new growth in the vineyard!! #nofilter #MOwine @VisitMO visitstegen 

Have a wonderful June, and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Hank Signature

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