Wines of the South Competition Results are in!

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Wines of the South Competition Results are in!

304 wines from 14 southern states competed in Wines of the South, a contest devoted to promoting the Tennessee and regional wine industry.

"Wines of the South is an annual regional wine competition designed to promote and celebrate the great tastes of Southern vintages. Wineries in fourteen southern states are invited to submit wines for the competition...2014 marked the 13th year for the Wines of the South competition. Wines of the South Medals are recognized by consumers throughout the southern United States."- Wines of the South website. Read more about the competition by clicking here.

We had some serious competition this year! We are proud to have brought home 7 awards and even prouder to be a part of the growing number of award-winning regional wineries. Congratulations to all the winners!

Here are Beans Creek's results:

Silver: Apropos and Chardonel

Bronze: White Muscadine, Cynthiana, Vidal Blanc, Shof's Rosé, and Valley Home Sparkling Strawberry.

For a full list of all the winning wineries, click here

 

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Tom Explains How He Makes Sparkling Wine

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Tom Explains How He Makes Sparkling Wine

Tom invited his guests in the wine cellar, and I followed them. He opened the door. It was dark. He turned on the light. “Follow me and watch your step,” Tom said. I smelled a combination of toasted oak, cedar, vanilla and yeast aromas.

We went down and stood in front of the rack which held the bottles of sparkling wine. The bottles were upside-down. “We make our sparkling wine here,” the winemaker said. He started describing the process.

“In order to make sparkling wine, we make still wine first. Wine is fermented grape juice. Through fermentation, sugar turns into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is a bi-product of fermentation.”

“After the still wine is ready, we can make it bubbly.”

He explained that winemakers can use three ways to make sparkling wine.

First, the carbon dioxide may be a result of a carbon dioxide injection. This is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide in a liquid. The process involves carbon dioxide under high pressure. When the pressure is reduced, the carbon dioxide is released from the solution as bubbles and the solution becomes fizzy.

“I call this Pepsi Champagne,” Tom said.

Second, the carbon dioxide may result from a natural fermentation in a large tank. When the still wine is ready, the winemakers add sugar and yeast to cause the secondary fermentation. Carbon dioxide is produced and trapped in the wine while the wine is in the tank. The wine is then bottled.

Third, winemakers use the traditional method, also called method champenoise. This is the same method that is used for the production of French Champagne. After the still wine is ready, it gets bottled. Then, the winemaker adds sugar and a hint of fresh yeast to provoke the secondary fermentation. Carbon dioxide is produced and trapped in the wine while the wine is in the bottle.

“We use the traditional method,” Tom said. “We make our still wine and then bottle it, add sugar and yeast and put on crown caps. The addition of sugar and yeast causes the secondary fermentation. During the secondary fermentation, carbon dioxide is trapped in the wine and the bubbles are created. The bottles stay upright at first. Then we lay them on their sides. And later, we put them in the racks at 45 degrees. We turn the bottles clockwise three times a day. This process is called riddling. Riddling is necessary so the wine can become clear. We riddle our bottles manually.  Manual riddling has been largely abandoned because of the high labor costs. Many wineries use mechanized riddling equipment instead. Not at Beans Creek.”

He took a bottle from the rack and said, “Our sparkling wine has tiny bubbles. The smaller the bubbles, the better the sparkling wine. This is some of the finest sparkling wine in the world.”

He showed us the bottle and pointed to its neck so we could see the lees. “When all the lees settle at the necks, we freeze the neck of the bottle. Then, we remove the crown cap and the lees pop out as a plug.”

We heard a pop and saw how the bubbly liquid pushed the lees out. Each of us held the crown cap, smelled it and touched the lees. 

Tom took a rubber mallet and hit the plastic closure with it. “Hi-tech,” he said smiling.

“Then, we put the wire cage around the bottle top.” He took a wire and started turning it around. “It takes exactly six turns,” he said.” Five and a half won’t hold it, six and a half will break it.”

“Now, let’s taste it,” he said. He poured for all of us. He saw the enjoyment on the faces of his guests and said, “Not bad for an old Tennessee boy with overalls.”

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Janet Watson Earned the Bragging Rights

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Janet Watson Earned the Bragging Rights

Beans Creek Winery offered a Wine Blending Class/Competition on May 10, 2014. Winemaker, Josh Brown, taught the participants how to combine wines according to Beans Creek's high standards. The guests created their own blends using Cayuga, Chardonel and Traminette wines, all made from locally grown grapes. Participants learned about the wines that were used for creating the blend. Winemakers, Tom and Josh Brown, judged the blends and chose the winner. Congratulations to Janet Watson! She created the winning blend for a specialty wine which will be released before the Bonnaroo music festival! This year, Bonnaroo Festival starts on June 12, 2014.

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Good Wine. Good Deeds.

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Good Wine. Good Deeds.

We just got the results from the 14th annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition! Beans Creek proudly brought home a gold medal for Traminette and silver medals for Midnight Sun and Apropos! 3749 wines were entered in the competition. Wineries from 20 countries and all 50 states entered wines. 75 judges did a blind judging. The judges did not see the brand of the wine or where it came from.

It makes us even happier to have participated in this competition knowing that the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is the most charitable wine competition in the world! 100% of the proceeds from the competition and a Wine Auction Dinner (featuring the award-winning wines from the competition) are donated to Camp Good Days, an organization that provides a camping experience and more for children and adults facing the toughest challenges of life. Children touched by cancer, HIV/AIDS, and violence gather at a recreational facility on beautiful Keuka Lake (Finger Lakes, central NY) to spark new smiles, re-kindle friendships and enjoy a week where they can simply be kids. It's a wonderful organization!

Learn more about the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and see all the 2014 winners by clicking here.

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How Can Wine Glasses Make a Difference

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How Can Wine Glasses Make a Difference

Have you ever wondered how wine glasses make a difference when you taste wine?

There are three characteristics of wine glasses that can affect the taste of wine: the material of the glass, the size of the bowl and the shape of the glass.

First, the material makes a difference, not only visually, but practically. Crystal is the best material you can choose for wine glasses. Crystal has a rough surface that helps agitate the wine when swirled, allowing you to better smell and enjoy the wine. It increases the production of bubbles in Champagne. Also, crystal is the only material that allows for the production of very thin glasses with thin rims.

Second, the size of the glass affects the taste of wine. White wines develop their full potential in glasses with a smaller bowl.  White wines are delicate and a smaller bowl allows the aromas to concentrate. Red wines show off in glasses with a larger bowl. Larger glasses with broader bowls provide red wine greater surface area for swirling. That allows the oxygen to unlock their fabulous flavors.

Third, the shape of the glass has an impact on the tasting experience. You taste different things in the different areas of the mouth: sweetness on the front of the tongue, acidity on the side of the tongue, and tannins at the back of the tongue. The shape of the glass directs the wine to a specific area of your mouth, affecting how you taste the wine. The shape of the wineglass has a huge impact on how you taste a wine by enhancing specific flavors.

The concept of using glasses specifically designed for each wine was introduced by Professor Claus Riedel. Today, Riedel is one of the biggest and most respected glass companies in the world. The company has performed wine tastings throughout the world for more than 45 years. Riedel representatives educate more than 20,000 consumers annually. Learn more about Riedel glasses by clicking here.

Beans Creek Winery offers Riedel wine tasting classes to explain the difference the glasses can make when you taste wine. Mike Liedel, Riedel representative, and Tom and Josh Brown of Beans Creek, demonstrate how the glasses enhance specific aromas of the wines. Check our events page often to see when the next class will be.

Remember, though the glass is important, the wine is more important. As Josh Brown says, “If you happen to have Beans Creek wine and just a plastic cup, drink the wine from the plastic cup.”

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