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

Chaumette May News: Letter From Hank

Hello Everyone! The first stage in the annual viticultural cycle is bud break, or as some call it bud burst. As the name suggests, it is the swelling and opening of the dormant buds that have been closed, protecting the primordia of the current year’s growth. The process takes several days once it begins, depending on the temperature. If we have 80 to 85 degree temperatures every day and warm nights, the process can take only a couple of days. But if temperatures are lower and nights are cooler, it may take four or five or six days for the process of bud swell to bud break, with the presence of the first leaf.

sporadic bud break

sporadic bud break

In a normal year, whatever that is, all of the buds on a single vine will progress at about the same pace. This year, we are seeing several things that are much different. In a large number of vines, we are seeing one or two buds that have opened, and the rest have remained swollen but not open, and in some cases, they still appear to be dormant.

Normally, we would expect buds farthest from the cane to swell first and buds farther from the trunk to swell first. This year, in many instances, the basal buds, that is buds right next to the cordons are first to break, and the buds that we would expect to be first come much later. The bud break in 2014 can be described as spotty. The only explanation I have for this is the cold winter temperatures. I believe that the buds that have not opened are viable and will just take a little bit longer to come around.

little bit longer to come around

little bit longer to come around

In past years, we have seen some examples of a delay in bud break in younger plants or in vines where we have laid down a new cordon. We have also seen late bud break in some instances from a “blind” node. This is a node that has not produced a bud for one or two years and suddenly comes to life. These phenomena are often delayed bud break.

In prior years, we have waited to declare bud break until 75% of the buds have opened. This year, I would say 75% of the vines have one or more buds that have opened, and many vines have all buds opened, but there are still some that are lagging behind. Next month I will give a full update on bud break at that time and how the growth is  progressing.

blind node

Thank you for joining us for our Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt ~ it was a glorious day, and we so enjoyed spending it with you! We hope to see you for our Mother’s Day Brunch May 11th, Chef Adam has an incredible menu he’s created for you and your family, and we have a special gift for all mothers who join us! Also, Chef Adam and Chef Rex Hale of The Cheshire Hotel in St. Louis will be collaborating for a very special dinner at The Restaurant at The Cheshire Monday, May 19th, and information is below. Chef Rex will join us at Chaumette in August for a collaborative dinner at The Barn, and we’ll announce more details about this soon!

Have a terrific month, and we look forward to seeing you soon.


Hank Signature

Chaumette April News: Letter From Hank

Spring at Chaumette

Spring is finally here!

Happy Spring! At last we are getting some warm temperatures at Chaumette, however from a purely viticultural standpoint, I am glad that the cold temperatures have lasted as long as they have. Because of these cold temperatures, the buds on the grapevines look like they did in mid-winter. “Normal” bud break for Chardonel is around the middle of April. In our disastrous weather year of 2012 we had bud break on March 22nd and a killing frost on April 12th. The delay of any signs of new growth this year are certainly welcome, because the later we have bud break, the less the chance of frost damage.

Nothing happens metabolically in a grapevine until temperatures exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, things start to change. Dormant buds begin to swell in preparation for bud break. There is, however, a second factor that affects bud break. Day length affects the emergence from dormancy for all woody plants. Believe it or not, there is a mechanism in grapevines that recognizes the gradual increase in day length that will initiate the emergence from dormancy even if it remains cold. This reaction works in conjunction with rising temperatures and will not trigger emergence from dormancy by itself. Extremely high temperatures at this time of year can trigger an acceleration of bud break. That happened in 2012. In the period leading up to March 22nd, 2012, we experienced two weeks of high temperatures in the 80’s that triggered bud break. While it has been inconvenient and unpleasant, from a viticultural standpoint, I am thankful that we have had a cold spring.

Chaumette Vine in April

Construction on the new villa suites building (suites #25 and #26) continues at a rapid pace. We expect to have the roof in place the first part of next week. This will increase the number of bedrooms within the villas and suites at The Villages at Chaumette to twenty-five. Hopefully this increase will help reduce the size of our waiting list this summer.

our '10 Vintage Port

our ’10 Vintage Port

We were thrilled to support the KWMU National Public Radio event Talk, Toast, Taste once again this year, held at The Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis. Our 2010 Vintage Port was selectedto be served with the dessert course, and we were delighted that The Four Season’s Executive Chef requested additional port to be used in the preparation of the poached pear dessert. Yes, the pears were poached in our port, and it made for an absolutely splendid food and wine pairing! 

Thank you all for joining us our Annual Spring Winemaker’s Dinner last weekend, and it was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces! Winemaker Mark Baehmann, Executive Chef Adam Lambay and Events Director Keith King and his team outdid themselves once again. The meal was delicious, the wines extraordinary, and Jackie and I felt very proud of our team.

We had our first wedding of the season a couple of weeks ago at The Barn at Chaumette, and we are so excited to be in the midst of wedding season once again! Hosting these joyous life occasions means a great deal to us, and we always look forward to this time of year!

 first wedding of the season

In additional wedding news, we have added airbrush makeup services to the menu of services at The Spa at Chaumette, with bridal parties in mind, and we are also in the process of installing additional lighting in The Barn parking area.

newely released '13 Unoaked Chardonel & 13 Dry Rosé

newly released ’13 Unoaked Chardonel & 13 Dry Rosé

We’ve lots of exciting things happening at Chaumette within the next month or so! We just released our 2013 vintage Unoaked Chardonel and Rosé, we now offer Brunch on Sundays, Chef Adam has rolled out terrific spring menus at our Grapevine Grill, live entertainment on Saturdays begins in May, and we will be hosting our Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch on Sunday, April 20th! 

Best of all, spring is here, and we look forward to enjoying it with you very soon!


Hank Signature


Chaumette February News: Letter From Hank

Cold Winter Greetings! Last month I described dormancy and our concern about primary bud death as a result of our sub zero temperatures. I am delighted to report that Mark Baehmann went out into the vineyard and collected buds from numerous blocks and we experienced almost no bud damage, which tells me that our vines were in good physical condition going into the cold weather. Naturally, this report is a great relief.

winter pruning

winter pruning

Our pruning efforts are moving ahead under the direction of Billy Hudson, our Vineyard Foreman. I am particularly pleased by Billy’s attention to spur spacing and maintenance of correct bud counts. When I speak of spacing, we are looking for the width of a hand between each spur rising from the horizontal part of the vine, the cordon. Bud counts are determined by evaluating the volume of last year’s canopy.  

spur spacing width of a hand is ideal

spur spacing width of a hand is ideal

spur on a cordon

spur on a cordon

In cases where we had a full canopy, we are leaving two buds on the spur coming out of the cordon. In cases where the vine lacked vigor, we are leaving only one bud. We describe this process as creating the architecture of the vine for the following growing season. We have learned that spacing and bud count are vitally important to production levels. If we were to leave additional spurs at a growing location, it would result in multiple shoots in the springtime. Interestingly enough, the ultimate result would be less fruit even though there were more shoots. The same is true of leaving too many buds. By leaving just the right number of buds on a single spur with the correct spacing between spurs, the plant is able to focus its energy on the existing buds, producing larger clusters and the correct number of clusters per shoot.

Wintertime is quiet and picturesque around here, so it is a great time to come to Chaumette. Villas are available for overnight rental, and we have even more time to visit with guests in the Tasting Room this time of year. Join us for an overnight stay and a spa treatment, a Saturday evening dinner in The Grapevine Grill, an Indian meal at Chef Adam’s “pop-up” restaurant, Lambay’s India at Chaumette, or a romantic Valentine’s dinner next weekend. We look forward to seeing you soon!

bring your sled and cross county skis!

bring your sled & cross county skis!



Hank Signature

Chaumette January News: Letter from Hank

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Last month in this column, I talked about dormancy. The news this month is low temperatures. At Chaumette on the coldest day, I saw minus 8 degrees out my window, and I was sure glad that I was not growing vines from the vitis vinifera family. You will remember that vitis vinifera includes all of our European friends like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noirand so forth. What we grow are interspecific hybrids and one native grape, Norton. The hybrid grapes have been bred to be resistant to cold temperatures as well as being slow to wake up from dormancy. In preparation for this month’s newsletter, I referenced my viticulture textbooks to be sure that I was correct on certain temperature levels.

January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014

Vitis vinifera grapes start sustaining damage below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the damage is progressive all the way to minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit for most vinifera varieties. At 8 degrees below zero, not only is there bud death but also cane death and also trunk death. It is likely that vitis vinifera grapes will be killed to the ground line or snow line if there is snow at minus 8 or below.

I have heard similar temperature occurrences in years past in Missouri that have resulted in losing entire vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon. When I describe the damage from low temperature episodes, I’m referring to the part of the vine that is above ground. These temperatures do not kill the entire plant. The root system remains viable and in the spring will send up a new sucker to become a new plant. The problem is it will then take three years to get the first small crop. In essence, the vineyard has to start over.

The grapes that we grow at Chaumette are much more able to withstand cold temperatures, but we do expect some damage. The first test we will perform next week will be to remove single buds from various parts of different vineyard blocks. Using a razor blade we will slice these buds in half. Grapevine buds are called compound buds, because they contain three separate primordia. Within the compound bud, there is a primary bud primordia, a secondary bud primordia, and a tertiary bud primordia. In the spring in most cases only one of the three buds will swell and produce a shoot. The three potential shoots will emerge in order of primary, secondary, and then the tertiary. So, if the first primordia emerges and a deer bites it off, the secondary bud of the compound bud then emerges as a replacement; if there is a late frost and that shoot is killed, the tertiary bud will then emerge with a third shoot. Every bud has three chances. 

3 primordia in compound buds

3 primordia in compound buds

Back to our dissection. The primary bud primordia is about double the size of the secondary which is larger than the tertiary. We will examine a cross section of all three of the compound buds with a magnifying glass to determine whether or not they are viable. If all three are green and healthy looking, we know that we have no damage, and the primary bud will emerge in the spring. On the other hand, if we see a brown primary bud and a green secondary bud, we can count on a much smaller harvest, because the secondary is considerably less fruitful; in fact it might produce only 50% of what would be produced by the primary bud.

So keep your fingers crossed as we do our dissections. We want to see a minimal loss of primary buds. I would like to say no loss of primary buds, but I think that is unlikely, since we did experience minus 8 degrees for our hybrid plants.

Adam's Lamb Biryani

Adam’s Lamb Biryani

In other news, we are delighted to open Chef Adam’s “pop-up” restaurant on Saturdays this February and March in our Barrel Room, Lambay’s India at Chaumette! For years, I have enjoyed Adam’s Indian featured dish on our Grapevine grill menus, and what’s more is that it pairs so well with many of our wines, such as our aromatic off-dry Vignoles, our semi-dry Chardonel and our fruit-forward red blend, Mosaic! We hope you will join us on a Saturday evening for a delicious Indian dinner!


Hank Signature


Chaumette December News: Letter from Hank

December News from Chaumette Winery
Letter From Hank

Chaumette winter landscape

Happy Holidays!
The vines are asleep. Dormancy is a very interesting phenomenon. What happens when a plant enters dormancy and moves towards deep dormancy is that individual cells shed water, which is deposited in the spaces between the individual cell’sintercellular spaces. This watermigrates through the cell membrane when temperatures drop and day length shortens. The reduction of water from the cytoplasm within the cell causes the level of salinity (or salt concentration,) to rise, providing a kind of internal “anti-freeze.” That is to say, the higher the level of salinity, the less likely the cell itself will freeze.
Vitus vinifera varieties like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah are quick to de-acclimatize when the temperature changes. When we have episodes of three to five days when the temperature reaches 60 degrees in January, (as we seem to have every January,) these vitis vinifera varieties think it is springtime and begin to de-acclimatize, that is, the water parked in the intercellular spaces starts to migrate back inside the cells. When

Chaumette vine dormancy

temperatures drop to normal after a warm episode and temperatures dip below freezing to twenty degrees or the teens, the individual cells try to expel the water that they have just taken in.As the water is being expelled, ice crystals sometimes form, creating “little daggers,” which pierce the cell membrane, irreparably damaging the cell. In fact, in many cases the entire contents of the cell may leak through the hole created by the “ice daggers,”resulting in cell death. This damage can occur in a bud, a shoot or in severe circumstances, to the trunk of the vine.
People ask me why we grow hybrid grapes instead of vitis vinifera, and the answer lies in this January phenomenon. The hybrids we grow ~ Chardonel, Traminette, Vignoles and Chambourcin ~ are very slow to de-acclimatize. What I mean is during warm temperature episodes, our vines are very slow to allow water back in after dormancy has been reached. This is what allows our hybrid grapes to survive in the face of repeated warming & cooling episodes that occur here in Missouri in January and early February.
'13 Chaumette RoséLast week our Winemaker Mark Baehmannbrought a glass of the new Dry Rosé 2013 vintage to my office. Since we are running low on wine because of low production in 2012 due to frost and increased demand throughout 2013, we’ve decided to bottle the new wines in February of 2014. The first of these will be our new Rosé, which will soon be ready to bottle. The first tastes that I had last week tell me we will have one of the best if not the best rosé that we’ve ever bottled. The color this year is a little deeper. Last week, I had a guest who is an enologist from Greece and Italy who also has wide knowledge of French wines. I gave her a taste of the new rosé; she loved it and thought that it resembled wines that she had had from the Tavel region of southeast France. Many people feel that the best dryrosés in the world come Tavel, located on the right bank of the Rhône, west of Avignon. Imagine my smile upon hearing her say this.
Chaumette Owners Hank & Jackie Johnson
Chaumette Owners
Hank & Jackie Johnson
Thank you all for joining us for ourAutumn Annual Winemaker’s Dinner in November ~ what a terrific event it was! We hope that you have a very joyful and healthy holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

Chaumette November News: Letter from Hank

Letter From Hank
Chaumette Norton
de-stemming & pressing Norton
Harvest Greetings!
We finished harvest last week, which was the longest duration of any harvest we have ever had. Most years, we finish the middle of October, but the extra time this year was to allow flavors to develop even more in the Norton grapes. This approach seems to have paid off. This year our Norton is the deepest, inkiest looking Norton that I believe we have ever produced. The red wines go through a secondary fermentation called malolactic fermentation, in which malic acid is converted to lactic acid, a weak acid found in milk. A test known as paper chromatography is used to determine whether or not an individual wine has completed malolactic fermentation. This is accomplished by putting a large drop of each wine on a specially treated paper. The position of an additional dot in the column above each dot measures the degree to which malolactic fermentation has progressed. Yesterday, Mark brought the current test page to my office to show me with glee that all of our Chambourcins have now completed malolactic fermentation and that our Nortons are well on the way.

Chaumette Winery Rose

There are some wines that go through fermentation and almost immediately are ready to be “cleaned up” and bottled. Our Rose is one of those wines. In fact, yesterday Mark brought me the finished Rose, ready to go in the bottle. This is Rose of Chambourcin, which was picked about a month ago. We will bottle this wine in the next 30 days, and it should be available for release in early 2014.A few weeks ago, a wonderful opportunity presented itself. Chaumette was able to purchase one of the most important historic buildings in Ste. Genevieve.
Chaumette's Bequette Ribault House
The historic Bequette Ribault House
The Bequette Ribault House was built around 1790 and is one of only three post-in-ground buildings in Ste. Genevieve, and I’m told perhaps one of four in the northern hemisphere. Ste. Genevieve was settled by French Acadians who brought their building techniques to Canada from their native Northern France. Their houses were built in 2 styles: vertical logs resting on a horizontal beams, “poteaux sursolle,” and the much more rare “poteaux en terre,” which means that the vertical logs are placed directly in the ground. Some people find it hard to believe that a wooden post can remain in the ground for more than 200 years and not rot. In the case for French colonial “poteaux en terre” houses in Ste. Genevieve, red cedar was used for the logs and after about 50 or 60 years, wood “in ground” becomes unappetizing to termites, particularly the heartwood of cedar.
It is our plan to restore the Bequette – Ribault House and have it ready for tours for the spring season of 2014. When I was with the Director of the Office of Historic Preservation in Jefferson City two weeks ago, he stated that the Bequette – Ribault House is one of the most important buildings in the state of Missouri. We are excited to have this special building as part of Chaumette. To restore it and open it for viewing is part of our contribution to the city of Ste. Genevieve. For more info, click here for an article written by The Ste. Genevieve Herald.I have another exciting thing to report: we sent three of our wines to the San Diego International Wine Competition this year. Our Unoaked Chardonel won a gold medal, and our Reserve Chardonel and Reserve Chambourcineach won a silver medal. We are particularly proud of this accomplishment, because these wines were chosen out of 898 entries from around the world in one of the most prominent wine competitions in the United States. Click here for more info about the

Chaumette & Annie Gunn's dinner
Chaumette & Annie Gunn’s
Harvest Celebration: Lou Rook, Jerry Jones, Hank Johnson, Adam Lambay
Sunday night the twenty seventh of October, we had our first collaborative chef event. Lou Rook III, Executive Chef of Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield and widely known chef personality came to Chaumette with his Sous Chef and Pastry Chef and worked with Chef Adam to produce one of the most memorable meals we have had. The food was laudatory, guests made it a point at the end of the meal to tell me how much they enjoyed the evening and how special the food was.

I was particularly proud of the service that Chaumette provided. Our Events Director Keith King oversaw the service of the event, and I will say that it was probably the best service that Chaumette has ever provided. The attention to detail was perfection and made a huge contribution to the delightful atmosphere of the evening. Good work Adam, Lou Rook and Keith and all of our culinary and service staff!
We hope to see you this Saturday evening at our Annual Autumn Winemaker’s Dinner, ~ Chef Adam offers Thanksgiving take-out dinners this year! 

Hank Johnson, Owner

Chaumette October News: Letter from Hank

Letter From Hank
October Greetings!
Chaumette Owner Hank Johnson
Harvest is under way. As of today, we have picked all of the Chardonel. The quantity was slightly less than what we estimated initially, but the quality is fantastic. Several things were done a little differently this year; one is that Mark used a different “juicing enzyme.” When the grapes come in from the field, we douse them with a natural enzyme to make the grapes give up their juice more easily when they are pressed, a standard wine industry practice. Mark switched enzymes with our yeast supplier this year to a newly-offered one.
Our procedure after pressing the grapes is to put the new juice in our temperature controlled tanks, turn on the cold and drop the temperature to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Within 24 hours, a layer of solids falls out of the new juice. In past years, that layer was 8 or so inches thick, and the juice remained cloudy, which is fairly standard. This year, the layer in the tank wasonly about 2 inches thick, and the juice was clear ~ atogether different from previous years. We are very pleased
Vern Isenmann, 13yr Chaumette Vineyard Crew Member
Vern Isenmann, 13yr Chaumette Vineyard
& Maintenance Crew Member
with the taste of the juice, as it is even more complex, fresh and multi-dimensional than what we have seen before. Mark brought a glass of the new juice to my office, and it was so clear that I thought it was wine that had been filtered.Instead, it was our brand-new juice.
The first vineyard block that we harvested was an area we call Thebeau I. This block was an experimental planting from about a dozen years ago in which we spaced the vines only three feet apart. In our other plantings, the vines are six feet apart with two arms spreading in opposite directions along the wire. In this closely planted vineyard, we have eliminated one of the arms, called cordons. The result is the plant has only half the amount of fruit to ripen and can devote its full energy to the smaller crop. This was the case with our Thebeau I planting. We harvested it first, because its fruit was further along in the ripening process than any other part of the vineyard.
Chaumette Chardonel Harvest
Chaumette Chardonel harvest
Another interesting difference that we had this year occurred in the block we call our Old Vineyard.This was the first block that we planted in 1992. We noticed that there was a marked difference in color between the top front of the cluster, fully exposed to the sun, and the back side of the cluster facing the inner part of the vine. The front top berries measured 27 brix, while the interior shaded berries measured 21 brix. This is the first time we have seen a variation this large. Bear in mind both grapes go into our press, and about the same amount of juice is extracted from each. In the case of the old vineyard, the final brix reading was 24.8. Brix is a measure of soluble solids in the juice of which sugars constitute 98 or 99%.
Chaumette Winemaker Mark Baehmann
Winemaker Mark Baehmann
Still another difference we experienced this year was the use of some newly released yeasts. The new yeasts are more efficient at converting sugar to alcohol. In prior years, we have used a factor of .57 times the brix, which equals about the amount of alcohol that will be expected in the wine. For the new, more efficient yeasts, we have found that we need to use a factor of .60 to accurately predict the amount of alcohol to expect. It will yield a fuller-bodied wine with greater mouthfeel ~ attributes we strive for.We have also harvested the Traminette,and we’ll start on the Chambourcin in a week or so. We believe the Nortons will be ripe in mid-October.On a completely different subject, I am delighted to announce that we have now installed a new booking engine for villas rentals. The new engine shows you a calendar of days that we are not sold out and then another screen with which villas happen to be available on that day. It goes on to provide a description of the villas that are available, and in the near future we will be uploading pictures of both the insides of the villas and the views from the villa porches. We think this will greatly simplify shopping for a villa stay. We are also in the process of simplifying the path to get to the booking engine. In the near future, we will have a way to go directly to our home page to the booking engine.

StL Business JournalLastly, here is an interesting story from the St. Louis Business Journal covering the Missouri wine industry’s grape harvest this year, featuring Chaumette! Here is a link to the article.
See you soon!

Hank Johnson, Owner

Chaumette September News: Letter from Hank

Letter From Hank
Harvest Greetings!
perfect chemistry for picking

We have not seen a crop like we have hanging now for quite a number of years. The process of estimating the size of a crop is a very imperfect art.Mark and I have been in the vineyard regularly for the past several weeks, and Mark has worked out a rough estimate for the Chardonel. Our guess at this point is that we will have about seventy-three tons of Chardonel. This tonnage rivals some of our best years. Some areas of Missouri are reporting that their harvests are later than usual, but in Ste. Genevieve, we are right on schedule with our best years. For us, a normal harvest ~ if there is such a thing ~  occurs a couple of weeks after Labor Day. At the present time, the harvest parameters are where we would like to see them, and we began picking today! What that means is the grape chemistry reached its perfect level about two weeks ago, and the flavors in the individual grapes have developed to a complex multi-dimensional level. It has been our experience that it takes a week or sometimes a little bit more after the chemistry is perfect for these complex flavors to develop. Not all wineries view this as we do. In fact many of our neighbors have already begun their harvest. We think that allowing the extra time will ultimately produce a better wine.

new tanks

A lot of preparation for harvest has been accomplished. In a previous newsletter, I mentioned that our estimates of the harvest were such that we needed more tank room. The new tanks are here. The chilling system has been overhauled and is ready to do its work. The air pump motor in the press has been replaced, andthe press is working like new. All the pumps have been tested and prepared for harvest. A group of 15 pickers worked all morning and afternoon. The scales to weigh the bins were delivered and in place. All of the fermentation chemicals have been ordered and are here: yeasts, malolactic bacteria, yeast nutrients, fining agents and tannins.

Chaumette Owner Hank Johnson

The one thing that we still don’t know is how many tons of grapes we will be harvesting. If it’s at a level that I now think it is, we will be doing a couple of extra things. One is that we will again produce a “Spontaneous” Chardonel. It also looks like we will beproducing a “Rock Glade” Chardonel bottling this year.

Keep your fingers crossed!
We are ready.

Hank Johnson, Owner

Chaumette August News: Letter from Hank

Letter From Hank
July 8: gorgeous Chaumette grapes
Hello Everyone!
We have not seen a crop like we have hanging now for quite a number of years. The process of estimating the size of a crop is a very imperfect art. Mark and I have been in the vineyard regularly for the past several weeks, and Mark has worked out a rough estimate for the Chardonel. Our guess at this point is that we will have about seventy-three tons of Chardonel. This tonnage rivals some of our best years. 
The vines are clean and completely free of disease, and there is no sign of any disease anywhere in our vineyards. In the past, I have mentioned our four main enemies: black rot, phomopsis, downy mildew and powdery mildew. We have had one infestation of Japanese beetles, but it was tiny compared to prior years. We read that the population of Japanese beetles is greatly reduced throughout the state this year, and we see that here at Chaumette. Vern Isenmann has done a great job, as usual, of keeping the area under the vines free of vegetation. Our soil amendments have been made, and the recent rain has helped integrate those amendments into the soil.Hank inspecting the vineyardsOur sprays this year include nutrients that are applied to the leaves. This is the best method of incorporating the vital micro-nutrients magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper and boron. As part of the “cocktail” that we spray, a liquified fish component is incorporated that provides these micronutrients. When you drive through the vineyard after this application, it smells like you are on the seashore at the beach.This year we have hired a part time additional person in the vineyard to do shoot positioning. This means that in most of the vineyard the shoots are positioned straight up, which greatly enhances the openness of the canopy and the exposure of the grape clusters to the sun. I have only good things to report about where we stand on this year’s crop.

Chaumette Fiber Optic Cable To Barn
AT&T UVerse fiber optic cable
for The Barn

In other subjects, after waiting for things to dry out since spring, we have finally been able to trench and lay the power cable and the fiber optic cable from the Tasting Room to The Barn. The cable is now in place and will be hooked up this week. We will have AT&T UVerse in The Barn in the near future, which will allow for wifi and high speed internet forcorporate meetings and other events.

The swimming pool is getting quite a workout this year. Many of our Wine Club members have begun  enjoying the pool on Saturdays and Sundays. We are delighted! All members are welcome…

Chaumette fishing
Guest Porschia Smith & her 10lb bass named “Chaumette”

Our newest villa is near completion! We expect Villa 29 to be finished in the first week of August. This will give us two more bedrooms to rent, which will be a welcome addition to our inventory.

Fishing continues in all of our lakes with a sizable number of fish being caught every weekend. We welcome everyone to try their hand anytime; remember to catch and release!

We look forward to seeing you soon at Chaumette, and we hope that you are enjoying your summer!

  Hank Johnson, Owner
Chaumette Happenings
Local Author Book Signings 
Sundays in August; 3-5pm
We are proud to celebrate all that our region has to offer, and these authors have written some terrific books! Meet Amanda, Kathryn, Chef Lou and Maddie in person and chat about what inspired them to write! What’s more ~ the  purchase of one of their books in our Tasting Room includes a 20% discount on Grapevine Grill and Tasting Room purchases for the day. See you then!

Chaumette book signings in August

August 4th ~ Amanda Doyle 
“100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die” 
St. Louis is a big city, and life is short. Whether it’s growing the “done” column of your bucket list or finding fresh ways to spend your summer in the city, this handy compendium of 100 ways to enjoy your town makes the most of your minutes.  Amanda Doyle is a twice-published author and contributing editor of Where Magazine and St. Louis Bride Magazine. 
August 11th ~ Kathryn Simpson 
“The Farmer’s Story” 
Set in the American Midwest at the start of the 21st century, a family shattered by heartbreak must decide if pride and fear will outweigh forgiveness and their faith in one another.
Kathryn Simpson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1972. She has spent most of her life in Missouri, where she worked in a print shop and an ice cream parlor. She’s been a television videographer, a newspaper reporter, and, of course, a waitress. Interestingly, Kathryn oversees The Spa at Chaumette, serving as our Spa Concierge. 
Chaumette book signing in August 
August 18th ~ Lou Rook 
“Rook Cooks: Simplicity at Its Finest” 
A collection of 120 of Annie Gunn’s Executive Chef Lou Rook III’s favorite recipes, along with Missouri wine pairings, full-color photos and the chef’s personal, colorful narrative. (Save the Date! October 27th Chef Lou and our own Executive Chef Adam Lambay will host a special dinner at The Barn at Chaumette!)
Missouri Harvest (Official Book Trailer) by Maddie Earnest and Liz Fathman 
August 25th ~ Maddie Earnest & Liz Fathman 
“Missouri Harvest” 
A guide to over 200 small farms and places where you can buy and eat local all over the state of Missouri.
Maddie Earnest is one of the region’s most innovative entrepreneurs and owner of Local Harvest Grocery, Cafe and Catering. 
Weekend Live Entertainment 

Streamline at Chaumette
Streamline @ The Barn  (Megan Thiele Studios)

Come out & enjoy some great live music!

Here is our August lineup & no cover charges, as always. Click here for our 2013 calendar!
8/3 ~ Streamline
8/10 ~ Vince Martin
8/ 17 ~ Matt Weyand
8/24 ~ Gabie McGarrah
8/31 ~ Casey Reeves
Staff Spotlight: 
Dick Jones, Tasting Room Wine Educator
Chaumette staffers Dick & Linda Jones
Dick & Linda Jones

Dick Jones began his time at Chaumette on August 14, 2004, and he has been one of our Tasting Room Wine Educators ever since. Dick has a Master’s Degree in Music from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and he is a retired educatorfrom the Park Hills, Missourischool district. Dick has served over the course of his career as the district’s elementary school principal, junior and senior high school band director, and asDirector of Special Education.Interestingly, Dick grew up with a deaf brother, and he has given many group wine presentations at Chaumette using sign language. 

Dick’s wife Linda has been a Tasting Bar Wine Educator for almost as long, andthey winter in Harlingen, Texas, near South Padre Island, looking after Linda’s 95 year-old mother, Leona. Three sons have blessed Dick and Linda with six grandchildren: Brianna, 22; Thomas, 21; Briley, 17; Trevor 15; Jathan, 10 and Tayler 5.Dick and Linda love to garden and can, and they live off their land to the extent that they have raised beef cattle for years after their sons were actively involved in 4H farming programs when they were children. In fact, among their sons’ many childhood accolades were when two took home the coveted Reserve Grand Champion awards for cattle and swine at the St. Francois County Fair!Dick loves working at Chaumette, because he so very much enjoys meeting people from all walks of life. “It’s just fun to visit with people, especially when you get someone to try something new and outside of their comfort zone,” he notes. Dick is studying for his Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine certificate, and he appreciates all varieties of grapes, particularly Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Chambourcin.

Dick’s favorite Chaumette wine as of late is the dry 2012 Unoaked Chardonel in its universal appeal, particularly from its ripe, fruit-forward finish. His favorite food and wine pairing is the Pretzel Encrusted Tilapia with the French oak aged 2012 Chardonel Reserve. “It’s a terrific match,” says Dick.

We think Dick is pretty terrific, too!
Wine Club News 
New Wine Club Director 
Chaumette Wine Club Manager Ryan Otto
New Wine Club Manager Ryan Otto

We are pleased to introduce our new Wine Club Director, Ryan Otto. Ryan has spent the past month training with former Club Director Shane Flottman, who has accepted his “dream job” as graphic design director for a design company in the Farmington area and continues to assist us in graphic & web design projects.

Ryan has extensive customer service experience in the hospitality industry in such cities as Denver, Chicago and Springfield, MO, and he has a passion for food and wine. Ryan looks forward to exploring the world of Missouri wine with you, and he will be at the Wine Club kiosk in ourTasting Room every Saturday from 11am until 5pm through November. Please stop by and see him, and he very much looks forward to meeting you!You can reach Ryan for questions, for help arranging reservations for our destination amenities or just to chat wine at or573-747-1000. 

pool at The Spa at Chaumette

Also, please RSVP with Ryan for our Wine Club Pool Party Sunday August 18th from 3 to 5pm, atThe Spa at Chaumette! All Wine Club members are invited to join us with our compliments for wine and hors d’ oeuvre poolside. Winemaker Mark Baehmann, Owners Hank & Jackie Johnson and former Wine Club Director Shane Flottman will be there, too!
August Wine Club Selections 
August is our 4th order for 2013, and we will be shipping our newly released ’12 Reserve Chardonel  to New Release Club and Dry Club and our newly released ‘12 Semi-dry Chardonel to our Sweet Club. We will process and ship our August order the first week in August, and pick up orders will be ready in the Tasting Room as early as August 7th. Additionally, we will process Wine Club orders in September and November, with an optional order in December for Port. We’ll announce these selections in our upcoming newsletter as they are chosen.
If you need to update your payment information you may do so bysigning in to your Wine Club membership online or by contacting me directly. Please remember, we’ll hold orders for up to six months before we contact you to ship any wine orders that are being held for you.
Refer a Friend and Receive…

Chaumette Wine Club members

Thanks so much again for your 
member referrals, and remember, 

by referring a friend to our Wine Club, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of wine for every membership referral. Refer 7 friends, and receive a complimentary overnight stay in our villas!*  Simply have your friend check “Wine Club Member” under the “referred by” section of the Wine Club application and write your name on the line provided.  Please remember that only after your friend’s first shipment is processed do we send a voucher to you for a complimentary bottle of wine, redeemable in our Tasting Room.  Lastly, our Grand Prize is: refer 14 members, and receive a Weekend Getaway for Two at Chaumette! This includes an overnight stay with dinner for two and a bottle of wine at our Grapevine grill as well as an in-villa breakfast package!

We look forward to seeing you soon!