The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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NEW YORK STATE O ver the last three years, 40 individuals have "graduated" from Millbrook Vineyards & Winery's Winegrowing Boot Camp. The program kicked off in 2012, aimed at amateur and professional grape and wine enthusiasts seeking a "hands-on vineyard experience." Thirty-year veteran viticulturist and winemaker John Graziano runs the Boot Camp, which begins on April 18th and requires participants to dedicate roughly eight Saturdays throughout the 2015/2016 growing season to visit Millbrook to tend to eight personal assigned vines in Millbrook's "Lollipop Hill" vineyard. (The winery is accessible by Metro North train for anyone without a car). Students will experience sessions on pruning and tying, bud break, shoot positioning, leaf pulling, grape flavor profiling, harvest and bottling. "We believe strongly in learning by doing," says Graziano. "I consistently hear from our participants that they had no idea how hard it is to grow great grapes successfully. And we learn to work with Mother Nature who challenges us in the Hudson Valley with rain, which can lead to mildew and insects. Students who participate in our Boot Camp can apply their vineyard and grape growing knowledge to all wine regions around the world." The focus of the Boot Camp centers on Millbrook's Tocai Friulano grapes, which were first planted in 1990. Owner John Dyson figured that any grape that can grow and make great wine in Northern Italy along the Alps can surely survive New York State win- ters—and he was right. "Our Tocai is distinctive in the Hudson Valley climate and grows well in our gravel and shale soils," explains Graziano. The program is ideal for anyone working in the beverage indus- try—particularly wine—who might be interested in pursuing work on the vineyard side, or just interested to gain a hands-on perspective of viticultural practices. The cost is $795 per person and includes all seminars, vineyard equipment, lunches, a seat at the winery's annual Tocai Celebration Luncheon in May, and Harvest Party Luncheon in October, plus one twelve- bottle case of the Tocai wine you will bottle in March of 2016. As for what students might expect this coming growing season, Graziano says, "Every season is different. Last winter, we anticipated heavy bud losses due to extremely low temperatures and left twice as many buds to help compensate. Well, we ended up with almost double our normal crop. The 2014 season started off late and wet but it was warm and dry during harvest and the vintage turned out to be one of our best. Our wines are all about what Mother Nature gives us that year—truly a farming endeavor." To learn more about the Boot Camp, visit PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLBROOK VINEYARDS & WINERY John Graziano (jeans and red plaid shirt, standing) watches as students learn to prune Tocai vines. A Winegrowing "Boot Camp" in the Hudson Valley by Jonathan Cristaldi MILLBROOK VINEYARDS & WINERY WINEMAKER JOHN GRAZIANO LEADS PARTICIPANTS IN CULTIVATING A BLOCK OF TOCAI FRIULANO VINES FROM BUD-BREAK TO HARVEST PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLBROOK VINEYARDS & WINERY

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