At his day job with Miracle Ear in Wellsboro, Tarrence Lackran helps people have a better hearing experience. On occasional weekends at the award-winning Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in Dundee, he helps people have a better wine experience.
“I’m a hearing instrument specialist, so naturally I’m pouring wine,” he says, laughing. “I enjoy people. I want to make everyone’s tasting special.”
Tarrence has been pouring at Wiemer’s for about six months. He started out as a customer with a desire to learn, so when Oskar Bynke, one of the owners, invited him to learn pouring, he was happy to say yes.
“This has always been my favorite winery in the Finger Lakes,” Tarrence says. “They’re so meticulous with the harvesting, and that’s why the wines are so good. Oskar really takes an interest in all the customers.”
He does and he did, welcoming me personally when I arrived (more about Oskar and his viticultural wisdom in a moment). Tarrence was already pouring for several visitors, including a lady with a charming accent who was speaking knowledgeably about balances and percentages, the nose, and her preference for tasting yeast in the sparklings. Tarrence agreed with her about the strawberry, blackberry, and juniper berry at the finish of one of the selections; the tasting concluded with a Cuvee Brut that drew smiles all around.
Then Tarrence and Oskar gave me a quick tour around the winery, including a soils lesson that included a new and very detailed soil profile map. I confess it had not occurred to me that the same type of grape, say a Chardonnay, grown in different soils on the same lake (in this case, Seneca), will yield very different wines. Location on the lake plays a role as well—some Wiemer vineyards are more sheltered than others and that makes a difference in how the grapes “set up.”
How are things setting up for the 2013 season? Everything is late this year, Oskar said, but he did note that the vines had gone dormant properly as the result of a cooler winter. He said 2012 was a good year—there was an early spring, a dry summer, and timely rain.
“Sometimes you can correlate yield with quality, and 2012 was both,” said Oskar.
We won’t know for sure until harvest if 2013 will have that optimum mix. In the interim, I have my eye and my palate on a lovely Select Late Harvest Riesling from 2010.
Check out the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard at wiemer.com.