About

me

A Biologist by education, an entrepreneur by necessity. Living or working in many countries over the years, since 2007 I currently call Hungary home with my wife.

For the past decade I have spent part of my time improving our home and vineyards in Hungary while also honing my skills toward becoming a master vintner.

As with my name patron St. Coemgen, I too have have had birds rest on me during quite contemplation. None, yet, have built a nest on my hand or shoulder.

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6 thoughts on “About”

  1. Dan Ashburn said:

    I am interested in making wine from the Turan (Agria) grape, as a friend and neighbor has planted a few rows of it on Whidbey Island, Washington. Where could I find information on how to get the best from the grapes being grown? Specifically, should I ferment on the skins? What type of yeast would work best? What about oak aging? Any information or direction would be appreciated.

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    • Washington State University Extension has some publications on growing Agria in Washington, and may know local vintners who can provide local experience and advices on how to get the best results from Washington grown Agria.

      Briefly, you can cold soak or ferment Agria on the skin, but since the juice is already red you will be only deepening the color, which may be desirable. Soaking/fermenting on the skins and oak aging will also leach tannins into the wine, which is also desirable if the wine will be put down for aging. But it is important to know that Agria often will have a very high tannin content in the skin, so care and monitoring should be done with soaking or fermenting on the skins so it does not make the wine too tannic. Skin contact will probably be less than you would expect, and almost always less than you would for a Cabernet, Syrah, Pinot, etc. I prefer a cold soak, as that allows me to taste the wine over time without the overburden of a yeast taste, but a cold soak is not always possible.

      As for yeast, this will depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to the expected total alcohol in the resulting wine, as different yeast strains have different alcohol tolerance levels. Red wine yeast such as Bordeaux, Pasteur Red or Montrachet are some options. I use Montrachet. But as reported by others, I have had this yeast produce hydrogen sulfides: but only in grapes from young vines which were more likely to be nutrient deficient (so adding yeast nutrients may be needed if you can not control the quality of the grapes).

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  2. Dan Ashburn said:

    Thank you very much for your response. I will get in touch with the Washington State University extension that is in our area and see what they may be able to provide me. I really appreciate your comments about cold-soaking, which I did overnight in the cellar (room temp. about 63 F – wish it was cooler) and not leaving on the skins too long as it could make the wine overly tannic. I am starting with a low Brix as the grapes did not ripen up as much as we could have liked, even thought they were on the vines until yesterday. As you well know, this is often a matter of trial and error and this is the first year we’ve gotten enough grapes off of the 5-year old vines to do something with.
    By the way, are you an American living in Hungary? My grandparents came over to the U.S. at the turn of the last century from Papa, Hungary, so I’m 50% Hungarian and would like to see the country some day.

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    • Western Cascade vines will probably never reach high sugar content, but should reach at least 19 Brix to make a stable wine (without chaptalization). The long hang time of your Agria may have softened the tannins a bit. Each year is different. Each year is a vintage. Learning how to handle different grape varieties I find is half the fun of wine making.

      Hungary (as well as many other parts of Europe) is certainly worth a visit. Pápa is probably the next best place outside Budapest to bump into Americans, mainly due to Boeing’s logistic support for the Heavy Airlift Wing there.

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  3. Greetings from Poland! I’d like to invite you to join our facebook group, Expat Bloggers – Europe,

    All the best!

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