Blog

Geroge Colligan Trio

George Colligan is a New York based pianist, organist,drummer, trumpeter, teacher, and bandleader, who is one of the most original and compelling jazz artists of his generation. An award-winning composer (Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant recipient) and player (winner, Jazzconnect.com Jazz Competition), Colligan is highly in demand as a sideman, having worked with players like Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Buster Williams, and Lonnie Plaxico, both on the bandstand and in recording sessions.

The George Colligan Trio will feature Domo Branch on drums, Jon Lakey on bass and George will be playing the pian. Music starts at 7:30 pm. The small plate dinner menu will be available 5 to 9 pm by Chef Alex Bourgindu. No cover, but recommend coming early as these events do fill up quickly.

George Colligan Trio

George Colligan is a New York based pianist, organist,drummer, trumpeter, teacher, and bandleader, who is one of the most original and compelling jazz artists of his generation. An award-winning composer (Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant recipient) and player (winner, Jazzconnect.com Jazz Competition), Colligan is highly in demand as a sideman, having worked with players like Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Buster Williams, and Lonnie Plaxico, both on the bandstand and in recording sessions.

The George Colligan Trio will feature Domo Branch on drums, Jon Lakey on bass and George will be playing the pian. Music starts at 7:30 pm. The small plate dinner menu will be available 5 to 9 pm by Chef Alex Bourgindu. No cover, but recommend coming early as these events do fill up quickly.

Teutonic Goes Ice Fishing

Taking a break from the great build out, Barnaby headed to Vermont to go ice fishing with a group of chefs. After the ice excursion, Hen of the Wood prepared a winemaker dinner with Teutonic. This amazing video will give you the entire experience from start to finish.

 

The Big Build

There has been A LOT going on with Teutonic Wine Company (and we are guilty for not keeping up very well on our blog site). However, now you can peek into the eye of the storm and see what’s going on with our NEW SOON-TO-BE WINERY! We found this great warehouse space in SE Portland back in July, signed the papers in August and then sat and waited for six weeks for the City of Portland to review and approve our plans.

Demo

This photo was taken just a few days after they began demolition work. All the walls were knocked out, wire was hanging all over the place and there was a lot of dust. The next big project was to work below the floor to install all the needed floor drains, grease trap (yes, we have to have one even though there will be no deep frying at Teutonic). So more drilling and tearing up.

trenches

As you can see the trenches have been dug up.

cement truck

It was freezing cold the day they poured the cement. Poor guys!

three dudes

We have so many details to figure out. Joe Karman (our architect) in the middle and Fotis Laranas (our contractor) have been so great to work with. They are both really knowledgeable and both have built urban wineries before.

sparks

These guys were working on Christmas Eve! Sparks were flying…things were getting built!

frames

It’s starting to look like something now. These are the frames for the walls.

WE HAVE A FRONT DOOR!

 

 

New front door

All the tiles from the front of the building starting falling off so we just rolled with it and decided we’ll do something completely different out front.

pink insulation

We love seeing PINK! That means our insulation is going up.

future tasting room

This will be our tasting room.

 

 

TEUTONIC TAGS BACK OF HOUSE AT RENATA

Our Teutonic Rocker Horns with Umlauts is being used for more than just our barrel heads. This nod to Spinal Tap tag can now be found in the back of house on the kitchen exit door at the newly opened Renata Restaurant in SE Portland.

Also check out the “Teutonic is the Chronic” wine section of their wine list!

Snap shot right off Renata's wine list.

Snap shot right off Renata’s wine list.

We are so honored to have our own section on a wine list. Thank you Chris Wright!

Renata dining area

Snap shot of their beautiful main dining area. It fills up quickly, so make your rezzos or expect to wait a while. But the wait sure is worth it!

A PERFECT DAY IN THE VINEYARD

Is there such a thing as a perfect day? We’ve all said it before but have we actually experienced it? I can’t think of the last time I really did have one, especially working all day in the vineyard, but this month, on a beautiful May day, I actually did. So what all happened out there in Alsea?

Diego+1

Diego in the field

We arrived at our Alsea Vineyard around 9:30 am, a mere two-hour drive from our home in Portland. The weather was warm and sunny, in the high 60’s or low 70’s. Normally I love hot weather, but when you’re working in the vineyard under the sun, it gets really hot really quickly. So this temperature was just right, and a slight breeze would blow just when you felt like your skin needed it. Our small crew of five got to work right away. The days agenda included knocking off all the suckers and cutting off shoots, tucking the vines, mowing the grass and spraying the plants with sulfer. A full days work for sure.

This work is easy and satisfying because you know the plant is saying “Ahh…thank you” after you knock of its suckers and cut off its shoots growing from the bottom of the trunks. Getting rid of them directs the energy to work on the fruiting canes rather than non-productive areas of the vines.
Here's what the trunk of the vine looks like before and after you cut off the suckers, water spouts and extra shoots. This needs to be done many times throughout the summer because they will grow back quickly!

This work can be fun or totally grueling, depending on your state of mind. Of course on this perfect day in Alsea, my mind was clear and went back and forth between chatting with others about completely trivial Hollywood gossip to delving into deep thoughts about life. Even my back and knees didn’t bother me that day like they normally do after bending over and squatting up and down several hundred times. As we worked our way through the rows, we all began to notice the same thing- our fruit yield looks extremely promising! Apparently there was no frost damage this year like we had for the past two years. Each fruiting cane had lots of and lots of baby clusters that will ripen into beautiful Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Pinot Blanc. Barnaby and I almost ran to each other with stretched out arms overcome with joy at the prospect that we just may get close to a ton per acre! [Note: “normal vineyards” can easily produce well over a ton per acre and in some parts of California, several tons per acre is typical. This is what you deal with when you have a cold-climate site.]

After our joyful proclamation of a promising harvest, our perfect day continued and we all went back to our duties. As each of us were getting back into our groove, we heard bees buzzing. I mean A LOT of bees buzzing. At first no one said anything, but then we all looked up and saw a giant swarm of bees coming at us. Well, not exactly at us, but in our direction. Everyone just hunkered down and let them pass over us. None of us were afraid but at the same time it was a little eerie. I filmed part of it and if you watch the short video, enlarge the image as much as you can. You can see how many bees there are if you look at the leaves of the trees, they flicker because of all all the bees.

What was happening with these bees is that they were swarming and all went into one of our hives! This was pretty exciting to witness especially since once of our hives died or they all left some time early this spring. They quickly began cleaning house and pulling out debris left behind from the last inhabitants. We were pretty bummed back in March when we saw that only hive was active. Last year we didn’t get any honey but now after this swarm, we now that we have two very active hives so hopefully that means more honey!!

This is the hive that was swarmed. As you can see, they are now very busy bees.

Lavender in the vineyard.

We planted a lot of various flowers and ground cover to give the vineyard biodiversity, both for the soil and the bees. Spring is the best time to observe how all this works together in harmony, feeding and nurturing each other. It was so satisfying to see all the hard work we have put into this vineyard finally blossom into something magical. Below is a video of Barnaby explaining what we did several years ago using seed balls to spread the seeds. Today, many of these plants thriving in the vineyard.

Around 5 pm the vineyard was mowed, all the vines where properly cleaned up and freshly sprayed with a light coat of sulpher to protect them from mildew and of course, the bees where still buzzing but slowing down a bit as the temperature was cooling down. As we wrapped up our work and all headed back to the van, we took a long look at the vineyard. “You know” Barnaby said, “I think this is the best our vineyard has ever looked.” We all slowly nodded our heads in unison and then each of us took turns saying “Yup,” “totally man” and “It sure does.”

TINY BUBBLES

It’s always exciting to roll out a new product into the market. Exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. 2014 is the year of sparkling wine for Teutonic. We’ve been holding on to a little wine that’s been sitting in tirage for several years and now we want to release these babies into the world!

Back in 2009 which was only our second harvest, Barnaby insisted on taking two barrels of our Crow Valley Riesling and make sparkling wine with it. At that time (and even now really) we need to make and sell as much wine as we can to keep this little company alive. Not only did he want to make sparkling with Riesling, but he wanted it to give it extended tirage so that is creates more complex layers and lets Riesling “do its thing” that is does so well when it has time to age.

If you’re not familiar with sparkling wine and what a pain in the arse it is to make, continue reading this blog post to get an idea. It will either give you a whole new appreciation for bubbles or you’ll think we are completely nuts to take on these projects. You be the judge.

After wine is fermented completely dry, this is the base wine to make sparkling wine. To get bubbles in your wine, it needs to referment in bottle to create carbonation. This is the traditional way of making sparkling wine or Champagne in France. Side note: Don’t call all sparkling wines “Champagne” because it’s incorrect! Only sparkling wine that was produced in the region of Champagne in France can be called Champagne. Everything else is sparkling wine, Sekt, etc. I can’t for the life of me understand why California is the only place in the world that can call their sparkling wines “Champagne.” Clever attorneys and deep pockets I guess, but I digress.

So the first step was to finish fermentation of our Riesling (all the way dry). When it was ready to be bottled into Champagne bottles, (it’s OK to call the bottles “Champagne” ;-) we mixed in a yeast and sugar solution which is added to the wine. When the yeast begins to eat the sugar, it will cause the wine to begin fermentation, however this time the bottles are sealed so no carbon dioxide can be released, causing bubbles to form in the wine. Sounds simple doesn’t it

I am mixing up the yeast and sugar solution which will be poured into the Riesling.

I am mixing up the yeast and sugar solution which will be poured into the Riesling.

Barnaby is pouring the yeast and sugar mixture into the wine.

Barnaby is pouring the yeast and sugar mixture into the wine.

Since Teutonic has no fancy equipment, most of the work is done by hand. After the solution is poured into the wine, it settles quickly to the bottom making it difficult to ensure that each bottle receives the proper amount of yeast and sugar. So in order to keep the solution evenly mixed throughout the wine, Barnaby’s nephew stirred it non-stop with a stainless pizza paddle while we bottled….for hours.

We can fill up six bottles at a time through this stainless filler.

We can fill up six bottles at a time through this stainless filler.

After all the wine was bottled, we tucked them away in a dark corner of the winery for several years. This bottling took place in early 2010. During these four years, the wine referments and forms tiny bubbles. A cheap and quick way to make sparkling wine is to inject it with C02. The same way you make seltzer water. These sparklers would be your Andre and Cold Duck wines. To make sure you’re getting the real deal, look for “Methode Champenoise” or “Methode Traditionelle” on the label.

Flash forward four years later. The wines which have been now sitting in tirage (with the yeast in the wine, all the sugar is gone by now) needs to be disgorged. Before you can do anything with this wine, the dead yeast cells need to be removed. Because we also don’t own riddling racks (slanted wood racks that hold the bottles by the neck at a specific angle so the yeast can work its way to the top) we put the bottles on point in crates and let them settle outside.close+up+of+bottles+up+side+down+yeast

Notice all the yeast has now fallen to the bottom (or top of the bottle). You need to be very careful when moving the bottles so they don’t stir up the yeast making the wine cloudy after you disgorge it.

To remove the yeast from the bottle, you need to freeze the yeast into a plug that shoots out when you pop off the crown cap. Photo below shows us carefully placing the bottles upside down into a styrofoam holder with ice and salt on the bottom, only freezing the very top of the neck of the bottle.
Once the yeast plug freezes, the crown cap is removed and the carbonation from the wine shoots out the plug. Barnaby designed his own disgorging chamber that captures the yeast plugs, crown caps and other messy spills. Then each bottle of wine wine needs to topped off to get it to a proper fill height. Depending on what kind of style you want to make, the topping wine or dosage can be sweetened. We decided to make an extra Brut style so we topped it with dry Riesling.

Tom+and+Barn

Barnaby is popping off the crown caps inside the disgorging chamber and Tom is topping the bottles with wine using a medical-grade dispenser and gallon jug. All equipment was creatively created by Barnaby.

One of the biggest challenges in our production line was getting the fat Champagne cork into the bottle. Each cork needs to be squeezed down enough to fit half way into the top of the bottle opening, and boy was it a challenge. Meredith and Sterling used their fair share of arm muscles to get them in.

Meredith+struggling+with+the+corker

Meredith was a trooper and never complained!

Stirling+and+Meredith

Sterling on the left with the corker.

 

Once the corks where in about half way, I used modified crown caper to compress the corks and wrap a wire cage or hood to hold down the cork. This is done one at a time of course using the same arm movement over and over again. You can imagine how my arm felt the next day.

Olga+putting+on+wire+cageIt’s always fun to work with a great group of people in a production line for several hours. You chat and get to know them better. Before I realized it, the bottles started to line up.

first+set+of+bottles+1

First set of disgorged and corked Riesling Brut!

finished+product

Here they are, all lined up and begging for labels!

2009+Riesling+Brut_resized

Riesling+brut+in+glass

Our first 2009 Riesling Brut ever poured and served with red velvet cupcakes on birthday.

The best part is drinking it right? Well since that day just happened to be my birthday, it was a perfect excuse to crack open a bottle. Tiny bubbles ran up the side of our glass and eventually making into it onto our happy tongues.

We are very pleased with the outcome of our Riesling Brut and excited to get it to you! The labels should be done some time in February so we hope we can start shipping it out in early March.

hands opening a bottle of wine with a corkscrew