I have has been saying for years that if we had enough Brianna grapes, we would produce a sparkling wine from it. This is that wine!
This wine is the first we will release from 2020. While 2020 was a challenging year, it wasn't in this NH vineyard. The extreme dry growing conditions made for no disease pressure on these grapes.
We have 23 rows of Brianna grapes that are now all productive. We harvested Brianna on August 29th and 30th; a total of 1.8 tons of Brianna. Firefly is the first sparkling wine produced from these grapes. Our Brianna is grown without the use of pesticides and only in our vineyards surrounding #thecrushpad in Derry.
We also produced a smaller batch of Brianna still wine (as we have since 2012).
A special thank you to my colleague and friend, Brian Ferguson @ Flag Hill winery. His talk during the New Hampshire Winery Association meeting about producing aromatic white wines shortly before these grapes were harvested gave me several ideas about how to improve the process and quality of this wine!
In an attempt to produce better wines, we kept the juice on the skins overnight. We added dry ice to the must to keep it cold and prevent it from either fermenting or oxidizing - both things that take away from the flavors of this wonderful grape. We pressed it the next morning and let the juice settle. We then racked the juice away from anything that was left in the tank - to allow only the cleanest juice to be fermented. For Firefly, we stopped the fermentation with a tiny amount of residual sugar and chilled the wine to stop fermentation. We then filtered the wine and took it to Flag Hill to be bottled as sparkling wine. The result is the best Brianna wine we have ever tasted!
- Mike Appolo