Happy New Year. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2015 at 4e Winery.

Since receiving our state and federal winery licenses in November, we have been busy working on this year’s wines and planning for the summer. Formulas for our non-grape wines have been approved by the federal Tax and Trade Bureau and we are working on the designs and approvals of our labels.

Currently Fermenting

Marquette – a dry red wine with fruity cherry notes and structured oak. This has completed primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation and is now quietly sleeping on French oak. It will be some time before we release this limited production as it has to be aged to perfection. We anticipate producing only about 7 cases of this wine.

Rhubarb – two styles. Our rhubarb wine is a staple in the Cook household. We love it dry and some of our 35 cases will be produced dry. But we know that many people love it with a bit of sweetness. So, we will be producing two different versions of our rhubarb wine. One will be dry and would be comparable to a nice bottle of chablis. The other will be touched with a kiss of sweetness if you are looking for that robust rhubarb flavor to come through.

Aronia – the super antioxidant berry. Aronia berries have been touted as one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidant phytonutrients. It is on the astringent side but also has wonderful cherry-like fruit flavors. It is unique and makes a good wine. Our aronia wine will be finished off-dry to bring out those fruit characteristics. And it will have a nice tannin and oak structure to carry it on the palate and make for a wine that would also go well with food.

Blue Gold – think adult lemonade. I mentioned earlier that we had our hands on top quality blueberries from Oregon. We have fermented this with lemon and will sweeten it up to make a balanced, tangy, fruity, refreshing wine. This will likely be our first wine released early this spring – just in time for sipping on the patio in the summer.
4e-avatarAnd speaking of labels, we are working on designing labels for our two lines of wines. Our grape wines will be labeled with a simple and elegant 4e logo. Our non-grape wines will be labeled under our prairie essence line of wines. This speaks to going back to the basic elements and elicits thoughts of the northern prairie where we live. I hope you will like them.

So far our winter has been rather mild, or as mild as North Dakota winters can be. Temperatures have been mostly above zero and even above freezing for the last couple of months. This is good news for the grape vines. If the rest of the winter, and the growing season cooperate, we hope to get a small first harvest from our estate grapes this year. We are also planning to source other grapes from the region to ramp up our winemaking in the fall for 2016.