Gala Tasting Fundraiser November 1 at Laconia Country Club
Over 700 people came out to visit the Lakes Region of New Hampshire’s wineries for their 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. “It was our biggest year ever,” said Bob Manley from Hermit Woods Winery, the organizer of the event. “We can’t thank everyone who came out to visit us this weekend enough, you make it all possible.”
Wine enthusiasts from all over New England converged on the Lakes Region to sample wine, tour wine making facilities, meet the wine makers and taste wine right from the barrels where the wine is being aged.
Participating wineries included: Gilmanton Winery, Sap House Meadery, Haunting Whisper Vineyards, Newfound Lake Vineyards, Coffin Cellars, and Hermit Woods Winery.
“By all accounts, this year’s event was a success. The feedback we have received from participants has been wonderful, all the wineries are reporting seeing 10-20% more people than years past,” said Bob. “We look forward to this event each year, it is such a great opportunity to share our knowledge and wine with wine lovers from all over and have a great time doing it.”
Everyone who visited at least four wineries was entered into a raffle for a chance to win wonderful prizes donated by the many sponsors; visitors of all six were eligible to win the grand prizes. Sponsors included Mill Falls at the Lake, Lake House at Ferry Point, Steele Hill Resort, The Black Swan Inn, The Nutmeg Inn, the Coppertoppe Inn, The Henry Whipple House, Millstone at 74 Main, and the Flying Goose Pub. The lucky winners will be announced shortly.
The Lakes Region wineries are already planning next year’s event, which will be held on October 3rd and 4th, 2015.
To view images from the weekend, follow this link: www.hermitwoods.com/photography/barrel_tasting_weekend-2014/
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region wineries will be holding their fourth annual Barrel Tasting Weekend on October 4thand 5th. This year there will be six participating wineries: Coffin Cellars, Gilmanton Winery, Sap House Meadery, Haunting Whisper Vineyards, Newfound Lake Vineyards, and Hermit Woods Winery.
Building off the success of last year’s event, where nearly 700 people from throughout New England participated, the Lakes Region wineries are anticipating an even bigger and better event this year. Bob Manley from Hermit Woods Winery, the organizer of the event, had this to say: “Even with heavy rain almost the entire weekend last year, we still had an incredible turnout and everyone had a great time. Should the weather cooperate, we expect an even greater turnout this year.”
This is an exciting event whereby guests will have the opportunity to taste young wines directly from the oak and stainless steel barrels in which they are fermenting and aging. Not only will it be a unique opportunity to taste wine in the early stages of its development, visitors will be able to meet the winemakers, tour the winemaking facilities, and learn all about the winemaking process. In addition, many of the wineries will be hosting other local vendors during the event, and offering special foods and wine-related items to guests.
The Lakes Region Wineries again plan to partner with local businesses to make this event a community wide success. Many businesses participated in previous events, including Tomina’s Cookie Dough, Little Linda’s Embroidery, Red Fox Farm, Vinona Glen Farm, Blackwater Mustard, Still Seeking Farm, Mystic Eye Creations, Buconnoisseurble and Flame Soap and Candle, For Crumbs Sake, Jehu Hot Sauce, Laconia Village Bakery, Bread Peddler, Back Door Farm, Krebs Farm, Salisbury Bakery, Huntoon Farm, Forever Boards, 2 Sisters Wine Jelly, Mill Run Spices, Sugar Whisperers, Fen Ridge Farm, and Meadows Pond Homemade Soaps. We hope that these and many other Lakes Region Businesses will join in the festivities this year.
Once again, there will be wonderful prizes valued at over $3,000 for those guests who visit the most wineries during the course of the weekend. This year’s prizes included a three night package at Lake House at Ferry Point, a two-night stay at Mill Falls at the Lake, a two night stay at The Black Swan Inn in Tilton, a two-night stay at Steele Hill Resort, a night stay at the Coppertoppe Inn, a night stay at the Henry Whipple House in Bristol, dinner for two at Millstone at 74 Main, dinner for two at Gilmanton Winery’s restaurant, a $50 gift certificate to The Common Man Family of Restaurants, and a gift basket from participating wineries valued at over $150, $25 gift certificates at The Flying Goose Brew pub,. Door prizes and gifts will also be available at all the wineries during the event.
The event organizers really want this to be an event everyone can enjoy and participate in. “We want to provide a unique opportunity for everyone to learn about and appreciate wine,” said Bob Manley of Hermit Woods Winery. “Whether you’re a novice who is just learning about wine or a seasoned wine connoisseur, there will be something here for everyone.”
All six Lakes Region wineries pride themselves on crafting quality New Hampshire traditional, fruit, and honey wines, many of which have received awards in national and international tastings. Most of the wineries grow their grapes in their own vineyards, and all of them utilize locally grown fruit and honey as much as possible, working closely with local farmers and pickers to find the best possible fruit with which to make their wine. Lakes Region wines are available in the wineries’ tasting rooms and restaurants, as well as at local wine shops and eateries.
Participants must purchase a Lakes Region Barrel Tasting Commemorative Wine Glass to participate. Glasses will be available at all participating wineries and will cost $12.00. Click Here to learn more
Hermit Woods Winery was invited by Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor for Food and Wine Magazine, to share our Petite Blue Reserve with Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today show on Wednesday July 9th. Much to our delight, both Kathie Lee and Hoda liked our wine.
While attending a panel discussion in March hosted by Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor at Food and Wine Magazine, we had a chance to share our Petite Blue Reserve with the panel and other guests of the event. Ray Isle liked the wine enough that last week he asked if we would mind if he shared it with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today Show. Of course we were more than delighted and promptly delivered our wine to New York.
The show will be on Wednesday morning, July 9th from 10:00 to 11:00 and it is likely our wine will be on around 10:45 am.
New England can be a confusing place when it comes to wine. As wine regions go, we are like an infant taking their first steps or uttering their first words. We have a lot of growing up to do. In this confusion, fruit wine, or non-grape wine, takes center stage.
With wineries popping up throughout New England like wild flowers in Spring, a place not really known for their wine grapes, fruit wine is in abundance. If you have ever toured a New England wine trail, you have no doubt discovered many interesting concoctions, and if your experience is anything like mine, most of them have been sweet.
Don’t get me wrong, more traditional grape wines are to be found in New England (often sweet as well) and in greater numbers every year, but other fruits play a much bigger role in this part of the world than in other wine regions. And maybe this is as it should be; New England is home to an abundance of wonderful fruit that thrives in our climate with little assistance from us.
At Hermit Woods Winery, we have found that using old-school wine making techniques combined with some new approaches in wine making and blending, we can produce non-grape wines that satisfy even the most hardened grape wine enthusiasts.
By blending apples, peaches, pears, rosehips, and autumn berries (just to name just a few), we craft well-balanced, complex dry white wines made for sipping or pairing with a meal. Many of our red wines are crafted from blends of blueberries, blackberries, currents, and other dark fruits found growing wild across the northeast, and aged in oak for as long as two years. Again, offering the balance and complexity of a more traditional dry red and pairing well with a wide variety of food.
We have also found, contrary to what many fruit wine makers will tell you, well made fruit wine has the potential to improve with age. We are developing an ever-increasing library of wines that go back several years and are achieving outstanding results.
Sadly, the lack of understanding of non-grape wine is why so many of our wine-loving customers do an about face and make a beeline for the door when they see that our wine list is made up largely of fruit and honey wines. As someone who has had the pleasure of sampling and enjoying wines from many more famous wine regions of the world, I can’t say that I blame them. My only hope is that I get to the door before them and that they give me two minutes to help dispel their biases before they leave.
All of us at Hermit Woods Winery appreciate a great California or French wine as much as anyone. The bar has been set for what a great wine is for hundreds of years and it is our challenge to continue in that tradition using non-traditional fruit.
Gone are the days when the only fruit wines available are syrupy sweet and hearken back to the glory days of Boone’s Farm wines. However, we still have much work to do to change that mind set, it’s been around a long time!
Hermit Woods Winery would like to thank the editors of New Hampshire Magazine for recognizing our fruit wines by awarding us Editor’s Pick for best fruit wine in New Hampshire.
Hermit Woods Winery takes great pride in crafting wine from locally sourced, often organic fruit, in the style of the better known and more traditional grape wines. We offer a wide variety of dry style red and white wines that offer the character and complexity of many of the wines we have come to love from California and France and other wine regions of the world. Through his understanding of the art and science of making fine wine, and the use of both traditional wine making techniques as well as modern approaches, our Vintner, Ken Hardcastle has taken fruit wine to a whole new level.
Visit our tasting room at 72 Main Street in Meredith NH and discover what New Hampshire Magazine discovered. We look forward to sharing our award winning wine with you.
Published by Hawthorn Creative
Written By: Michael Persson
Clck to view PDF Mill Falls Magazine Feature Story
Hermit Woods Winery now has a gorgeous new tasting room
By Susan Laughlin
PHOTO BY SUSAN LAUGHLIN
So happy to see a fledgling winery set roots and take flight. Hermit Woods Winery folks always had high passion for their process and products, but were limited by their backwoods tasting room carved out of owner Bob Manley’s gracious Sanbornton home. With the new tasting room and winemaking facility on the real main street of Meredith, just a block west of Rte. 25, Manley and the other owners, Chuck Lawrence and winemaker Ken Hardcastle, have realized a dream. They now have significantly increased their capacity for making fruit based wines, many of which are balanced with local honey and indigenous to New England. Hardcastle is known to experiment with fermenting unfamiliar fruit, so you can find a Kiwi wine, a local fruit found on a shrub, and Knot Mead fermented with Japanese knot weed that grows unfettered along roadsides. New for the spring will be a Lake House White — peach-rhubarb wine fermented with rose hips in a Bordeaux style. A real standout is their Melange, a blend of blueberry, blackberries, elderberry and black currants designed as a complex sipping wine. Check their website for tasting room hours and locations for purchase, which include a few local farmers markets.
Clark Smith, author of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 2013 Wine Book of the Year, Postmodern Winemaking hosted a postmodern winemaking symposium yesterday in New York. Our winemaker, Ken Hardcastle, and partner Chuck Lawrence had the good fortune to be able to attend along with a small group of wine makers, winery owners, sommeliers, wine writers, and wine aficionados.
Over twenty wines were tasted during the event including Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve, the only fruit wine in the group. Much to our delight, our Petite Blue was very well received by all in attendance, including a reputable wine writer and critic, Lisa Granik, as well as Clark Smith himself. In one case, our blueberry wine was thought to be a Sarah, before being identified as a blueberry wine.
Needless to say, this was a very special opportunity for us. It is not every day a small local New Hampshire winery has the opportunity to share their wine amongst some of the top producers in the northeast and with one of the most respected voices in the wine industry. Even more important, to be the producer of the only fruit wine present, and have it be received as well, this was a real milestone for us.
And to top it off, Hermit Woods got a mention in a write up by the popular British Wine Writer, Stuart Pigott: “More extraordinary still was the 2012 Petit Blue from Hermit Woods in Meredith/New Hampshire, which provoked a lot of discussion when served blind. However, nobody got the reason for the great berry aromas: It had actually been made from wild blueberries. “I heavily manipulated it!” winemaker Ken Hardcastle with a wry smile. However, it did not taste one dimensionally fruity (there were some discrete tannins) and it had great balance. Maybe I’m amazed!”
You can read the whole story here: http://www.stuartpigott.de/?p=4222