Another Exciting Year, Big Things to Come!
Every year Hermit Woods brings with it new challenges, exciting changes, and most importantly, more opportunities for us to share our experience with you and all our winery guests. This year is no exception. We want to use the next few pages to share some of these experiences with you and provide you a glimpse into what’s on the horizon.
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As is the case every year, Ken is hard at work with this year’s vintages, perfecting his old recipes while also developing new ones. One of the highlights this year is our 2017 Red Scare. A beautiful blend of local fruit and honey produced in the style of a classic Burgundy, this may be one of Ken’s most exceptional achievements to date. To celebrate this year’s Red Scare, we have decided to bottle it in full 750 ml bottles vs. the 375’s of the past.
We will also be releasing a brand new wine this year called Winni White. Many of you may remember our first tomato wine. After much developmental trial and error, we will once again be releasing a wine made primarily from tomatoes. It has been styled after a classic dry white wine and is a blend of tomato, plum, rhubarb, and quince. We are excited to share it with you this fall.
We have also added some new equipment to our cellar. In early August, Ken, Chuck, and I traveled to NY to pick up a new 1500 gallon Brite tank custom-crafted for us by Vance Metal. This new tank will prove useful in many ways. It will increase our production by allowing us to do more large scale fermentations in the two new tanks we put into service last spring, it will give Ken more control and nuance in the crafting of many of our wines, and it will let us carbonate wine and cider in larger quantities.
With the ability to carbonate 1500 gallons of wine or cider, we can now invite Iron Heart Canning to the winery for on-site canning of our ciders and wines. We will begin with cider and explore the possibilities of canning a select few of our sparkling and still wines. We suspect all of our boater friends out there will appreciate this new development while enjoying the lake.
We have also added a capper to our bottling line, allowing us to put some of our wines under screwcaps instead of corks. Don’t worry, we are not doing away with corks altogether. Our premium wines will remain under cork; however, our younger fresher wines will now be bottled under screwcaps, making them easier to open and with no risk of cork taint. We are in the very early stages of canning and capping technologies and will look forward to your feedback as we explore new ways to package our wine.
From the Tasting Room
As you probably noticed if you visited this summer, we’ve had many new faces around. It was our busiest summer to date, so we had to bring on several new people to help us get through the summer. Some joined us just for the summer as they had to return to college, but we were sure glad to have had them around. We want to thank Ryan and Noa for all their hard work this past summer and wish them the best in their educational pursuits. We also hope they will consider joining us again next summer.
Also joining our team this year were Marylee, Elise, Erika, Kirsten, Allyson, and Merike. You will continue to see some of them in the tasting room and some have moved on, but all are loved and appreciated as part of our family.
Our Deli continues to expand under Nate’s leadership. Nate, along with his support team of JB, Jessica, and now Allyson, has perfected some of our old menu items and added some wonderful new ones. We had Wayfarer Cold Brew on tap all summer along with a few other locally made non-alcoholic beverages, and we partnered with Picnic Rock Farm to bring you farm-fresh ingredients and delicious baked goods.
As always, we love to see you when you visit us throughout the year. Remember to announce yourselves as club members. We now have over 550 club members, and as many of you are new we may not always recognize you. We always want to say hello and if time allows, share with you the exciting things that are going on at the winery.
In the Media
We made a big splash at the beginning of this summer with our inclusion in the June issue of The O Magazine. Oprah and her team chose Hermit Woods Winery and our Petite Blue Reserve wine as the one thing you should not miss while visiting New Hampshire this summer. I am sure I don’t need to explain how thrilled we were. It was a pleasure meeting all of Oprah’s fans as they found their way to Hermit Woods this summer.
Other media mentions of note: The Taste of the Seacoast did a story about Ken in their spring issue; and more recently, Lenn Thompson wrote about our Lake House White wine in The Cork Report on Long Island.
Of course, we always appreciate the occasional mention in our local press – the Meredith News, Laconia Daily Sun, and the Weirs Times.
Over the past few years, you may have heard us talk about our interest in expanding the third floor of the winery. Well, the time has finally come! We recently received the final planning board approval of our project and look forward to beginning construction very soon.
We are working with K.A. Clason Fine Woodworking to remodel the third floor (some would suggest it is the second floor, but we have come to know it as the third). Kurt has done an outstanding job envisioning the new space with us, and we can’t wait to see it come together.
Construction is scheduled to begin in late October and continue through February. We intend to remain open throughout construction, with the possible exception of a few days. We ask for your patience and understanding as construction affects our day to day operation.
With this new space will come several additions to Hermit Woods offerings. However, what we are most excited about is the opening of the Hermit Woods Loft. The Loft will be an 85 seat listening room dedicated to showcasing both internationally known musicians as well as our local talent. The environment will focus on the artists and the beautiful music they create.
We are honored to be working with Dr. Jonathan Lorentz, of NH Jazz, to create this new space and curate our new talent. Jon is a passionate performer, composer, theorist, and consultant who has been immersed in live music and music studies for most of his life. As a saxophonist, keyboardist, and vocalist, Jon pursues interaction and collaboration above all else and enthusiastically connects with other musicians and listeners to create a two-way musical conversation.
The Loft is a work in progress. We will be finetuning our vision over the next few months and will reveal our ideas to you as they develop. Needless to say, we are very excited about the possibilities.
Along with the addition of The Loft, we will be making our new space available for rent for parties, business meetings, and gatherings. The room will be flexible and configurable to meet a wide variety of uses; let your imagination be your guide. Again, as with The Loft, we are in the early stages of development. As the room comes together, we will share with you the finer points of our vision.
When not in use as a music venue or event space, our Loft will be a comfortable space for you to gather anytime we are open. It will be a bright, airy environment with lots of natural light and soft seating. You will be able to spend time with your friends and enjoy everything Hermit Woods has to offer. We look forward to hanging out with you on occasion.
Another important change will be the addition of a wheelchair access ramp to our tasting room. We have long desired to make this happen, but funds have prohibited us from proceeding. We always do what is necessary to accommodate people with mobility issues, but the addition of a ramp will make it a lot easier.
Exploring our future together
These are just a few of the many things that have been happening at Hermit Woods and a glimpse into our future. Our development as a winery has been an evolution that not even we have been able to predict. Our future looks bright, and we look forward to sharing it with you.