Winter Wonderland at the Winery – Maybe Not!
We were wandering in the vineyard and thinking about spring being around the corner when we hit a high of 64 degrees on February 8. We felt really fortunate about the mildness of the winter THEN we took a nosedive the next week to minus 5!! Wow, what a shock for southern Illinois wineries these cold temperatures were!
Helping or Hurting?
Will the snow in the vineyard insulate the roots enough to protect them from the subzero temperatures? We’ll soon find out. We are actually happy about the several inches of snow we got at the winery, hoping it will protect our vines from damage to the rootstock. Last winter we hit a low of about -2 and were relieved to find out we hadn’t lost any of our plants. Let’s hope this year is the same.
Riesling is considered by many wine experts to be the world’s greatest white wine grape and it’s pretty hardy, but with subzero temperatures dropping lower than they have in over 20 years, I’m sure not just here at Lincoln Heritage, but all of the grape growers in the Shawnee Hills area will be anxiously awaiting spring to see how their vineyard has fared.
We chose to plant Riesling in our vineyard because it’s one of the most cold hardy of all the vinifera* grape varieties, and because of its pleasing acidity and lovely delicate fruit flavors. Our Water Tower White, for example, reminds me of apple flavors with a nice clean crisp finish.
Germany AND Cobden
Most people associate Riesling with Germany, but it’s also grown in the United States (including Cobden, home of Lincoln Heritage Winery!), Italy, France, Austria, and Hungary, to name a few countries. Riesling really compliments mild flavored fish and in fact, I think we’ll have a glass (or two) tonight with some walnut encrusted cod, homemade bread, and a spinach salad. Easy and yummy! Next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by our winery and pick up a bottle.
Sure it goes well with a variety of foods, but it’s really nice to just sit on the patio and enjoy some at the end of the day – and remember spring and patio time isn’t that far away!
*Vinifera – Vitis is the genus of the plant kingdom that includes grapevines. There are more than 60 different species of Vitis, the most famous of which is Vitis vinifera, which comes from Europe and includes the most well-known wine grapes, such as Riesling, Malbec, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and so on.