Happy New Year!
2018 was quite a year for Karamoor Estate! We are buzzing with change, honors, growth and exciting plans for the future!
Let me begin with our fall harvest. It was a difficult year with the terrible weather. I think the sun was on a hiatus!
Grapes are not created equally. The different varietals have different qualities, shape of leaves, shape and size of berries and even how tight the berries are in the clusters. The tighter the clusters, the more difficult it is to prevent them from rot and mold because the air doesn’t move freely through to help them dry. Developing a good balance of canopy management is also critical. Too much sun and air can be as damaging as not enough. All of the rain made this very difficult. Joe Rienzi, our viticulturist was quite diligent keeping up with the leaf pulling, so the grape clusters receive better exposure to the sun and to airflow. This and other techniques are key in preventing rot, mold and diseases. It also helps promote optimum ripening and sugar levels in the grapes. So as we moved through harvest, our winemaker, Kevin Robinson and Joe would go through the vineyards, each day checking the progress and quality of the grapes. They would watch the weather forecasts intently. If the grapes were close but not quite ready for harvest, they would evaluate if the grapes would withstand the torrential downpours and wind. I think Kevin referred to it as, “picking before the next deluge”. It’s better to take them down a little early than lose them to the rot, mold or falling to the ground. As the berries mature, their skins become much thinner and delicate so it is better to “use it than lose it”. Hurricane Florence destroyed many of Virginia's vineyards in September. There will be very few red wines from Virginia in 2018. The rain at the end of the season, in combination with a cold snap late in late March, killing many of the new buds ready to pop open, made our season not only difficult but yielded about 40% less than our usual harvest. Because it was necessary to get the grapes off of the vines much sooner than usual, harvest 2018 was complete two weeks early.
Another distraction from the usual harvest practices was being on constant watch for the nasty and invasive bad bug, the spotted lanternfly, aka; SLF (Lycorma delicatula) . The SLF are destroying vineyards, orchards and taking over all around our area, especially Berks County. If you see them…kill them and notify the Department of Agriculture. Though they were “spotted” near our vineyards but with swift and proper protocol, we hopefully eliminated future issues.
Lot’s of great material in 2018 for my book, “Making Wine Isn’t For Whiners”!!
Moving onward and upward, some fantastic news on our vines…we’ve had quite a few exciting visitors, been in the news and added some very prestigious accolades to our trophy case!
It started off with a full day visit from Don Winkler, Editor & Mike Potashnik, Publisher of The International Wine Review along with six other, highly regarded Pennsylvania Vineyards and Wineries including; Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery, Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery, Grandview Vineyard, Maple Springs Vineyard, Pennswoods Winery and Pinnacle Ridge Winery. Don and Mike tasted through approximately 30 wines and are writing an article about wines in the northeast and Pennsylvania. Coming soon!!
We then had another fantastic visit with Anne and Brian Yost of Wine Tourist Magazine and the The Virginia Grape. We toured the property, tasted through some wines and then they continued on to a few of the Pennsyvania and NJ vineyards. They wrote a great article and took some nice photos. I will include all links at the end of this blog.
The next honor and surprise was Karamoor Estate’s 2013 Merlot Reserve, being named Forbes Wine of the Week!! Followed by medals from the San Francisco International Wine Competition!
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2015 Merlot
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2016 Petit Verdot
SILVER MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
BRONZE MEDAL, Karamoor Estate 2015 Cabernet Franc
On the heels of these awards came the announcement of James Suckling’s American Wine Revolution reviews with Karamoor receiving 88, 89 and 90 points!
This past weekend we received the announcement from the largest competion of American wines in the world: The San Francisco Chronicle Competition, Karamoor Estate received 5 medals! One gold and four silver!!! Up against the biggest and the best with over 7000 entries...we are quite proud!! Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Karabots for their vision, making the commitment and the hard work to produce world class wines AND to Kevin Robinson, Joe Rienzi and the rest of the team for their hard work and excellent viticultural and winemaking skills!
2015 Karamoor Estate Cabernet Franc silver
2016 Karamoor Estate Chardonnay gold
2015 Karamoor Estate Meritage silver
2015 Karamoor Estate Merlot silver
2017 Karamoor Estate Sauvignon Blanc silver
All of these honors took each of us back to a quote made last year by Philadelphia’s famous food and wine critique - Craig LaBan, "Still surprised that good wine is made in Philly's suburbs? I'm not, especially from Karamoor, the passion project of Nick and Athena Karabots, who have done everything right to get the most out of their Montgomery County terroir, with impressively drinkable wines from the first vintage."
A couple of additions to our programs at Karamoor, if you are a Wine Club member. In addition to the list of perks as a member we have added “pick up parties” which will take place and be an option when it’s time for your club releases. We introduced the idea last October and received favorable responses! We will let you know when the next release and pick up party will be taking place!!
Even more exciting is the view of the tasting room located on Butler Pike!! The cement has been poured and the timbers will be up in the next few weeks!!!! Woot! Woot!! I think we’ll be seeing you in the Tasting Room this summer!!!
A couple of dates have been posted for the upcoming week Tasting &Tours! There are always some good wine specials during our tours. If you’re not a Wine Club member, you may want to check it out! The perks and the fun that go with the membership keep getting better!!
Like a new season for our vines, our goal is to learn, grow, establish and be stronger every year with everything we do! We are thrilled you enjoy being a part of our growth and success!
Cheers! To a Happy and Healthy New Year from all of us at Karamoor Estate!!
See you in the vineyard!
#JAMESSUCKLING #BRIANFREEDMAN #BRIANYOST #FORBES #WINETOURISTMAGAZINE #PHILADELPHIAMAGAZINE #MIDATLANTICEVENTS #PHILLYINSIDER #CRAIGLABAN #KARAMOORESTATE #JERICHONATIONALGOLFCLUB #WINEENTHUSIAST
How about this weather, huh? Usually, by this time in the summer, I am ready to head to Canada, Alaska, or the North Pole. August's in Pennyslvania are usually just the absolute worst. High 90's with what feels like 100% humidity. I am not sure what we did to deserve this beautiful weather, but I hope it sticks around for a while.
It turns out that I am not the only one that is loving this weather. Our grapes seem to be enjoying it too! Today, we are harvesting an acre of our 2015 Chardonnay. The Chardonnay being harvested today is from the new portion of the vineyard that was planted in 2013, our more mature Chardonnay vines will be following in ripeness next week. On Monday, we are going to be harvesting our 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, which will be our first harvest of the variety, Sauvignon Blanc! So exciting. On Tuesday, we will be harvesting our Viognier and Pinot Gris, and on Wednesday, we will be harvesting the remaining Chardonnay. Check our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KaramoorEstate) for photos during harvest, I will be doing my best to keep those up to date so you guys can feel like you are right here with us while we begin our 2015 winemaking process!
On Tuesday, we got our labels for Karamoor's 2014 Chardonnay (there was a little delay with the label company; if you remember, we were supposed to have received them last week), they turned out great. Once we had the labels in hand, Kevin and the team was able to complete the bottling of our 2014 Chardonany. We made a little over 400 cases, which is not too many (2013, was almost 1000 cases), but remember that we lost a good portion of our Chardonnay vines between the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 winters. Luckily, those 400 cases worth of Chardonnay are delicious. We will release some tasting notes on this wine when the time is right, until then, just let your imaginations run wild!
I am looking forward to a slower paced and fun weekend. My brother is coming in from Chicago with his fiance. I am so excited! They fly into Philadephia on Saturday and will be heading straight out to Bucks County, to my house, as soon as their flight lands. We have some great plans for the day, my two cousins who live up in the Hoboken area are going to come to my house too, and then we are heading down to The Mann Music Center to go to a reggae festival! Did you know that The Mann carries Karamoor wines? I had never been to The Mann until July of this year. I have been a Philadelphian since I was about 8 months old (born in Maine), and for some reason, I had never made it to The Mann. Let me tell you, it is GORGEOUS. I had a tour during my visit there and I couldn't pick my mouth up off the ground for the duration of the time I was being shown around. The acoustics are great, it has a lot of charm, and it is probably the cleanest venue I have ever seen. Also, did I mention that they carry our wine? I hope that you also have some great plans for one of the final weekends of summer! Until next time...
Hi everyone! Did you have a good week? The weather has been delightful, that is for sure. I am sure that you are all wondering how my dinner party turned out last Saturday. Well, it turned out great! I would say that the highlight (besides the nectarine, raspberry margaritas) was the tuna tartare that I made using corn from our CSA share (if you live in Bucks County, check out Blooming Glen Farm, AMAZING produce) and tuna from my favorite seafood shop in Bucks County. If you are ever driving through Buckingham, you need to go to Buckingham Seafood on 413. It looks very unassuming from the outside, so unassuming that it took me 3 years of living in Bucks County to stop in. But, now I don't buy my fish (or any other seafood for that matter) from anywhere else.
SO! On Monday of next week, I will be making the short drive over to our label provider (they are in Lafayette Hill!) to go through the pre-press for our...2014 Chardonnay! It is that time again. We will be bottling on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week! The vintage from 2014 will be much smaller than 2013, only a bit over 400 cases will be produced. I think that the 2014 Chardonnay will be very well received, so be sure to stay tuned for an anticipated release date.
Did you know that we bottle all of our wines ourselves? We have our own bottling and labeling machine! We really do try to control every aspect of our wines from start to finish. We grow all of our own grapes (sourcing from nowhere), we pick our fruit by hand, we process our own fruit, we make all of our wines at our winery, and then we bottle, label, and store! The first time you have a sip of Karamoor Estate wine is the first time (unless you have snuck onto the property!) that the grapes have left our property in any way, shape, or form! I think that is the coolest thing. What a great representation of Fort Washington, PA and what is possible here.
Speaking of growing our own grapes, Kevin told me that he believes that we will be harvesting a few acres at the end of August. Guess what grapes? Nope, not Chardonnay! You are probably thinking, "But Ali, the only white grape that you guys grow is Chardonnay and it is too early to pick any of the reds!" To which I would say, "You are wrong! And you are right about the reds ;)." 2015 will be a historical year for us; we will be harvesting our first crop of Sauvignon Blanc! Along with a tiny bit of Viognier and Pinot Gris. We planted Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Viognier in 2013. I know that the whole team here is pretty excited about this, but probably no one is more excited than me. I LOVE Sauvignon Blanc. It is my favorite. I wish that it was already bottled so that I could take it with me to our favorite Indian restaurant tonight, but I guess I will have to wait until April or May of 2016 for that.
I hope that you have some awesome plans for this weekend and that those plans include some Karamoor Estate wine!! Did you know that shipping is free with a purchase of 3 bottles or more and that we can ship to anywhere in PA, NJ or about 37 other states? I can't remember if I mentioned that or not in any previous blog posts.... You should also check out our wine club options, there are some pretty great discounts that are associated with them! Until next time....