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 Growing NH Vines & Grapes

When: Thursday, May 5, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Where: Flag Hill Winery & Distillery, 297 N. River Road, Lee
Tickets: $30 per person; 21+
Visit: flaghill.com 




Rooted in NH
Take a closer look at a local vineyard

04/28/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 Whether you’ve dabbled in winemaking and want to learn more about the craft or simply want to experience a vineyard beyond a tour and tasting, head to Flag Hill for the latest edition of its educational series that offers insight into growing New Hampshire vines and grapes, led by vineyard manager Nick Bennion. 

“The whole idea of this series is to take different topics and dive deeper than you normally get in a tour,” Bennion said in a phone interview. “[It’s] designed for people [to know] the whole process, steps needed to establish a vineyard in New Hampshire.”
The Granite State differs from other winemaking regions. For example, Bennion will cover the fact that white wine grapes are more suited to the state than red wine grapes. 
“Just because you can grow a grape in New Hampshire doesn’t mean it will make the best wine possible,” he said. “Here in New Hampshire the variety we can grow are generally high acidity, don’t hold tannins well, don’t age well, so you can’t build that big-bodied red. We’ve evolved the wine industry where in New Hampshire we’re trying to focus on white grapes.”
He’ll discuss the pros and cons of white grape varieties such as cayuga, which they’re able to grow well to make a good sweet wine. 
“People are surprised we can grow grapes for quality wine in New Hampshire,” he said.  
Bennion, who is also an assistant winemaker and assistant distiller at Flag Hill, will walk the group through different parts of the process from planting to harvest, like pruning and nutrition, checking for disease and proper sunlight and airflow techniques. This is the first year Flag Hill has offered the behind-the-scenes educational workshops, which have already covered fermentation and distillation and will focus on pairing food with wine in June.
“It’s an open forum for people to come with questions, not just sitting in a lecture hall,” Bennion said. “Question, answer and side tangents, depending on who is in the crowd.”
Guests will be able to taste wine and hors d’oeuvres and get an up-close look at some of the concepts and techniques they’ve discussed, either inside with vines or out in the vineyard, weather permitting. 
“There is definitely an interest in people to embrace grape-growing because it’s something anyone can do with the right time and patience,” Bennion said. “[But] plenty of people there might not want to grow themselves. [There’s] always those people that get fascinated with wanting to know more. Just really trying to do an all-encompassing approach so people come out with a lot more knowledge.” 





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