Tassel Ridge just published the second edition of its “Simply Extraordinary” magazine-advertisement. You can try to download it from their website or get on their mailing list. The publication is hands-down the best in Iowa covering the unique challenges of making wine in Iowa. Even though the magazine obviously keeps its focus on their own experience and products, they offer so many different kinds of wine, and the articles are so good that you will not be disappointed. The most interesting article is written by Kari DeBruin. She describes the Midwest Grape & Wine Institute at Iowa State University. they use a gas chromatograph, mass spectrometer to study the different molecules that are in a wine sample. The graphic printout of the different elements in the wine can then be matched to different known aromas and bad or good compounds can be identified. A second article has charts showing the vinification process for both white and red wines. You probably already know this, but one difference is that white grape juice goes through more refining prior to fermentation and red wine holds onto the skins longer. Another article tracks the life history of the grapes from the March bud to the Fall harvest.
Some of the interesting facts I gleaned from this second issue include:
– Iowa grapes “shut down” after they become ripe, stopping the production of additional sugars.
– Cold climate grapes produce low amounts of sugar and a lot of acid.
– Tassel Ridge uses a Korvan harvester to pick its grapes at the rate of 1.5 acres per hour.
– Vitis Labrtusca grapes can develop a strong “concord grape” taste if left to over-ripen.
– 60% of flowers never form grapes.
– The word “veraison” means the time when the grapes show their color.
– Saturday, July 30th is Tassel Ridge’s “Hawaiian Buffet.”