Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ancient Fire to Attend the WineMaker Annual Conference in Stevenson, WA

In both 2008 and 2009 we have were lucky enough to bring home wine competition medals, with 17 in all as I write this.

The WineMaker Magazine International Competition is held each year, and the results are officially announced at the annual conference which we have yet been able to attend. This May we will be in making the trip and are hoping to learn new techniques, connect with others who share our hobby, drink some wine and if luck holds bring home some more hardware.

This year’s convention is being held in Stevenson Washington in the heart of the beautiful Colombia River Valley one of the most well known wine regions in the United States.

The conference combines classes and workshops with networking and finishes up with recognition for those whose wines scored highly in the competition. We are very much looking forward to clapping loudly for our peers, both those that have won medals and those who have risen to the top with best of show awards, including winemaker of the year. The swap meet on Friday is assured to be a great opportunity to share our wines with others who will also have interesting creations of their own available.

Check back soon to see what wines we will be entering into the competition and of course check back in late May to see if we were honored for our efforts again this year.


Happy New Year & Catching Up

I have written a few articles in the last couple of weeks on the bus or at the house in VT and am only now getting around to posting them. Ancient Fire is as busy as ever and expecting great things for 2010.

I hope 2010 bring you great things as well.



Ancient Fire 2010 Plan – January 23, 2010

Chilling at the Vermont house provides plenty of quiet time to collect one’s thoughts or scheme up the next big thing.

With that in mind I have been considering what to include in the 2010 Ancient Fire lineup. Here is what is on deck so far


Finishing the 2009 batches
Three Liters of Sake from a Leener's kit

Spring/Early Summer

Cabernet Sauvignon Juice/Grape Blend
Syrah Juice/Grape Blend
Chardonnay Juice/Grape Blend
Cab/Syrah Blend
White Bordeaux (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend)
WinExpert Limited Edition Petite Verdot Kit
WinExpert Limited Edition Pacific Quarter Kit
Malbec all Grape double batch

Several new techniques and pieces of equipment will be brought to bear on these batches including a crusher, press and malolactic fermentation. I am reading up on the steps now and will be ready when the time is right. Let’s hope these enhancements will bring results!

We already have a new wine underway for 2010. Margot started the WinExpert Symphony kit, a blend of white grapes, which will be given a light oak treatment and is destined for the WineMaker Amateur Competition being held again this spring.


We have decided based on our experience with fruit wines that we will only make strawberry and peach again this year, and only one batch each. We have so much light drinking wines in reserve that this won’t hurt at all, and we are sure to get these right based on our track record.


When we reach the fall we are hoping to have some first hand feedback on how our new equipment and techniques have worked. With that information we will decide what to do to end the year. It is likely we will seek out some Cab and Pinot Noir grapes, but only time will tell.



Cellar Update - Jan 23, 2010

The 2009 batches are slowly disappearing with some benefitting from cold stabilization and some just gently settling to maximum clearing. The following selections from 2009 have yet to make their way into the bottle:

Australian Riverland Reserve – this was Margot’s first and unfortunately we have experienced some protein haze which is being real fussy about clearing.

Elderberry Rose – this wine just needed some time to settle and clear. I allowed it to do that before I added a touch of sweetness to enhance the warm weather enjoyment. Summer here we come!

Moscato – this was one of two pails of fresh juice from the fall and since it came in late it has run longer than last year. It is ready to go, I just need to find some time.

Plum/Riesling – this was the other pail of fresh juice I split with Vincent and with the addition of the plums it required an extra long clearing time which from the looks of it has proved successful.

Peach (1/2 batch) – this was held over to blend 2 to 1 Peach/Moscato to make 3 gallons, with the last gallon of the Peach planned for a dessert wine. This plan will take shape in the coming weeks.

Hard Cider – I ended up with 7 barrels of cider and let them ferment dry and then completely clear before messing around with them. The time has arrived the first barrel has been racked, sweetened with strawberry syrup and is ready to bottle. The other six will get various treatments from slight sweetening to cherry and raspberry flavoring over the next month or so.

With that we can move on with the 2010 vintage which is expected to bring a bunch of new things!