The Flowering of the Vines

The flowering of the vines

The flowering of the vinesGreetings vineyard friends and adopt a vine family members,

We cannot stress enough that Mother Nature plays a major role in deciding our monthly classes. We have been met with some very late blooming vines as the cool nights have persisted into our supposed spring with some unique temperatures. With that being said, this past winter has left us with many new variables to measure and consider as we move into summer.

Thankfully we have the greatest vineyard management team this side of Europe. Francisco, Jacob, and Héctor Maldonado have been working everyday all winter to maintain as little winter damage as possible.

Sadly, even with the amazing efforts from our farm team, we have had some winter death amongst a few of our baby vines, some of our other garden herbs and from what it looks like, our beautiful fig trees. We are keeping our fingers crossed for new sprouts from the base of the figs as they were a time honored treat on our farm for the last 25 years.

Farmers always have at least one eye on the weather at any given time. The months of May and June are particularly tense for New Jersey wine grape growers. This is the stage of the growing season when grapevines flower and set their fruit, essentially setting the stage for the size and quality of the year’s crop.

Once the grapevines have flowered, pollination and fertilization can take place. During this stage the vineyard becomes engulfed with an amazing aroma as our vines begin the process of pollination. Grapevines are self-pollinating, so bees and other insects don’t play much of a role, but prolonged cool weather, rain or wind can prevent the flowers from pollinating completely or cause them to be fertilized unevenly – which can mean the fruit clusters will be sparse, uneven, or in the worst case, non-existent.

The term “shatter” refers to the condition that occurs when flowers don’t pollinate and don’t become berries, or when the berries fall off soon after forming. This results in what is known as a “poor fruit set.” Some varieties, such as Pinot Noir are more sensitive than others to wind or cool, rainy conditions, and therefore more susceptible to shatter. Remember, we selected Pinot Noir in the vineyard because he is one of our more finicky children and needs a little more care and love then most of the vine children. After all he is the “Prince” of the vineyard. Hopefully we have surpassed the cool crazy weather of May as we slowly grow in temperature and dryer weather in June.

While there’s not much that farmers can do about the weather, there’s still a lot to be done in our New Jersey vineyards this time of year. Francisco our vineyard manager and his crew are suckering and shoot thinning to ensure each vine is in balance in terms of the ratio of (potential) fruit to vegetation.

Here is some good news. We are truly hoping to have all of you here for the flowering of the vines. A special time of year when the plant flowers for pollination resulting in a beautiful smell thorough out the vineyard and a magical platform for which to host a vineyard meet & greet.

With that being said, we would like invite all of our “adopt a vine parents” to join us either this Saturday May 31st at 5pm or Tuesday June 3rd at 12pm. We are only offering these two classes because we really only have a period of about 7-10 days to catch this beautiful stage of development and I am hoping this weekends temperatures will allow us the chance to witness it all first hand.

If you intend on attending one of these classes please RSVP by sending us an email at Adoptavine.willowcreek@gmail.com
The fee is $20 per person for guest & non-members and free for all adopt a vine parents.
(1 vine per person)

My Kindest Regards,
Kevin M. Celli
Farm Director
Willow Creek Winery

Awesome article on Willow Creek Winery! Thank you Cape May Magazine!

Willow-Creek-Winery-openerAwesome article on Willow Creek Winery!

Pour the Wine… From Cape May Magazine

The sea mist and its sheer curtain have lifted. There’s not a cloud in the sky and the sun begins its high ride. A breeze ripples from the bay to the harbor, and you can hear the whisper of the ocean rolling in at the cove.

The water and the weather are what make Willow Creek Winery possible here on the outer coastal plain stretching along the tip of the cape. Far as the eye can see, there are grapevines in perfect rows, reaching up to meet the day.

The scent of lavender drifts across the villa veranda from a sweeping swath of pastel purple spikes. Honey bees buzz over mounds of catmint. Banks of hydrangeas are opening their big mop heads. A cock crows – as if to announce an event.

And here she comes on her golf cart – Barbara Hamilton Bray-Wilde, waving and smiling and flying up the driveway. She is the chatelaine of Willow Creek vineyards, villa, gardens and brand new winery.

This season, for the first time since planting 40 acres of vineyards over seven years ago, Willow Creek Winery is attempting to open to the public. It’s an exciting time at this historic farm on Stevens Street in West Cape May that grew lima beans and soybeans before its reincarnation as a vineyard.

“Hello, hello,” says Barbara, clutching a small orange ball. “It’s my baby Fuyu persimmon, the first one from my new tree. See, it looks like a little squashed tomato. You eat it like an apple. I have a Hachiya persimmon, too, shaped like a heart. It must be tempered by frost. It gets soft and you eat it like pudding.”

 

Read the full story here…

A Vineyard Valentines

wineglasswheartsHERES A LIST OF GREAT THINGS WE ARE OFFERING ALL VALENTINES WEEKEND LONG:
PLEASE NOTE: The following offers are only valid Valentines Weekend Friday Feb. 14th through Sunday February 16th Reservations are strongly suggested for any weekend visits to our winery.
*”IN & OUT”
Enjoy a fun relaxing wine tasting at our wine bar. Choose any 5 wines or specialty sangria samples for $10. per person and learn our signature 3 sip tasting system that will surely enhance your wine tasting experiences forever!

*”TAKE A RIDE THROUGH THE VINES & DRINK THE WINES”
Jump on our vineyard tour cart thorough our 50 acre farm and learn all about the vine to wine process followed by a wine tasting of 5 wines and finish with a glass of sangria. $30 per person
Tours run all weekend at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
(reservations strongly suggested)

*”JUST CHILL”
Make reservations for one of our private couch areas and relax with your baby. Grab some wine and some delicious cheese from our specialty meats & cheese menus and enjoy “just each other”. Purchase a bottle of wine and receive a complimentary chocolate paired with every in house bottle purchase.

*LOVE & LEARN”
Reserve a private wine tasting in one of our comfortable couch areas as one of our “farm sommeliers” walks you through an educational tasting of some of our finest wines and sangrias while you relax on a comfortable couch next to your sweetheart. $35 includes a glass of sangria at the end of you’re tasting.
(reservations strongly suggested)

“THE PERFECT DINNER”
Saturday Feb. 15th 7pm-10pm
Five Course Wine Paired Dinner, held inside the beautiful Willow Creek Winery under 7 foot crystal chandeliers. Enjoy a beautiful evening at our vineyard as our wine maker Kevin Celli and Master Chef, Brian Parker from the Southern Mansion of Cape May, will pair 5 amazing dishes to 5 of our incredible wines. We would like to keep this very intimate so seating is limited to only 50 guest.
If you are interested, please RSVP as soon as possible.
Tickets are $120 per person and include:
7pm-8pm FirePit Cocktail Hour, enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar serving tastings & wines by the glass.
8pm-10pm 5 Course Wine Paired Dinner