I talked with Chuck Zaleski of Fero Vineyards & Winery in Lewisburg, Pa recently and got the inside story on “What’s New” at his winery. When I asked about the 2014 harvest his voice filled with pride and excitement saying it was a record year in both quality and quantity. The harvest was so good that he even sold some grapes this year. It is a good thing that his vineyards are producing extraordinarily well because Chuck was planning on sales growth of 20% last year but it came in at 30%. This year he will hold growth to 20% because his focus is always on the quality of the wine being maintained and improved. Fero is the only producing Saperavi vineyard in Pennsylvania and Chuck’s plan is to double his acreage of Saperavi grapes as soon as he can acquire the vines.
Fero will be adding three new sweet wines to the menu this year. The apple, cherry and peach wines will be made from the same Grüner Veltliner grapes grown in their vineyard that produced a Double Gold medal winner at the 2015 Pa. Farm Show. Chuck makes great sweet wines but his real passion is for his excellent dry wines. The judges at the 2015 Pa. Farm Show awarded Fero Vineyards & Winery 8 medals, they are: Double Gold: Grüner Veltliner , Gold: Pinot Gris, 3 Silver: Reisling, Pinot Noir and Saperavi and 3 Bronze.
This year’s fund- raising schedule is nearly full with only a very few dates still available. New this year will be the Wine-N-Mile on May 29th. This event is similar to a Beer-N-Mile where runners race a figure 8 course through the vineyard stopping at six stations to drink 2 ounces of wine at each. After the race guests are invited to stay for live music and the summer “Happy Hour” kickoff.
If you would like more information about Fero Vineyards & Winery wine or events visit www.ferovineyards.com or call 570-568-0846
I have written several posts lately extolling the virtues off the Saperavi grape as the “Next Big Thing” for Eastern winemaking. I have never written one single post about the forgotten role that the late-ripening Lemberger grape has been cast to play in the evolution of the wine industry above latitude 40° north. Fero Vineyards & Winery in Lewisburg, Pa produces a superb example of what can be done with Lemberger grapes that have been painstakingly cared for and expertly transformed into their Estate Lemberger 2013. The beautiful garnet color is the first thing you notice about this Lemberger followed by the notes of oak. Chuck Zaleski is a master at using oak to coax out the hidden flavors from his wine while adding a sophisticated complexity at the same time. Chucks light-handed use of oak with this wine brings out the red fruit and spice (think black pepper) taste while adding depth. A medium body carries the soft tannins into a long and lingering spicy finish. This wine has good acidity which makes it pair well with red meat, barbeque and even red sauce. Note: Winemaker Chuck Zaleski suggested I should let it breath. I not only let it breath I used an aerator on a couple of glasses. His suggestion was right on the mark, the added aeration opened it up and added a little something extra. www.ferovineyards.com Update: Fero Estate Lemberger 2013 won a Double Gold medal at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC).
I had the pleasure of drinking my first Pennsylvania grown and made Saperavi recently. It strengthened my belief that the Saperavi grape has the potential to be developed into the signature red grape grown in the cool climate of the Eastern United States. Fero Vineyards & Winery 2013 Saperavi starts by revealing its beautiful dark purple color, a trademark of this wine. After admiring the deep color, aromas of red fruit with a hint of oak fills your nose. Saperavi grapes are known for producing a full-bodied wine with good structure, Fero Saperavi 2013 fulfills those expectations on both counts with style and accuracy. This East Coast Red has good acidity which complements a subtle note of oak that is carried well into a long finish. I recommend buying three bottles of this vintage, drink one now and cellar the other two. Open those bottles after aging them two years and five years, compare your tasting notes, I am sure you will be impressed by how well this wine will develop over time.
Thanks to Chuck Zaleski the owner and winemaker of Fero Winery for pursuing a progressive strategy that is not only designed to grow his business but the quality of wine produced in Pennsylvania. Fero Vineyards & Winery 965 Jpm Rd Lewisburg, Pa. www.ferovineyards.com 570-568-0846 Fero Saperavi 2013 will be judged at the Pa Farm Show this weekend 1/9/15 Update: Fero Saperavi 2013 has won a Gold medal at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC).