2016 Wineclub Appreciation Party (and Andy’s Rib Recipe)

Every year after harvest we pause and give thanks to our wine club members. These amazing fans support our wines year after year. Not only do they enjoy our wines in their homes, they are our greatest ambassadors, sharing their love of Schweiger with their friends and favorite restaurants. This years’ Wine Club Appreciation Party was such a joy to host. With food pairings provided by Marks the Spot Catering, local artisan cheeses, and smokey ribs prepared by yours truly, the crowd was truly well fed. Additionally, the crowd was entertained by guitarist Nate Lopez and sleight of hand master Brian Scott.

Many guests left wanting to know some of my rib secrets. While most pit bosses never give out their rub recipes, I’m going to reveal all…

Andy’s Ribs

  • Three slabs pork baby back ribs (I get mine at Costco: high/consistent quality, fair price).
  • 12 oz of your favorite commercial bbq sauce.
  • AndyRub
    • ¼ cup smoked paprika
    • 2 TBSP Smoked Salt
    • 3 TBSP turbinado sugar
    • 1 ½ TBSP ground dried chipotle
    • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • Rinse ribs well with water. Leave membrane on the lower side, but using a sharp boxcutter (why ruin a perfectly good knife), cut through the membrane between each bone. I leave this membrane on as it adds to the collagen we will be breaking down and collecting.
  • Combine Rub ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Coat the ribs liberally on both sides with rub.
  • Wrap the ribs tightly in heavy duty foil and refrigerate overnight to 24 hours (dry brine).
  • Preheat oven to 275F
  • After resting, lay ribs meat side down. With a fork, make small perforations at the bone tips, about four each side. Flip back over onto a deep, foil lined baking sheet (I use deeper disposable aluminum trays. These holes allow collagen and excess fat to drain onto pan. Do not over crowd/overlap ribs.
  • Bake for three hours. If your oven has a convection fan, use it!
  • At this point you can either finish the ribs or store them for future: open the foil, allow ribs to cool, and rewrap in foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days or vacuum pack and freeze for up to 6 months. After refrigerating, allow 30 mins at room temperature before grilling. If frozen, put in refrigerator overnight, then 30 minutes room temperature.
  • Collect all drippings from pan in a mason jar. Refrigerate until collagen sets. Remove “Hockey Puck” of yellowish fat (don’t throw this away…this makes an amazing seasoning fat for Brussel sprouts or other vegetables). Reheat collagen until liquid and combine 4 oz with 12 oz of commercial bbq sauce.
  • Prepare a medium heat fire on grill.
  • Grill meat side down for about 5 minutes, flip, brush on bbq sauce. Continue grilling meat side up for 5 minutes. Flip, turning 90 degrees, allowing sauce to carmelize but do not let it burn. Return meat side up after another five minutes, brush on more sauce and ready to enjoy!

No More Port ?!?

Many of our club members received a bottle of Port XIII in their recent club shipment. Now that this port has been released, I wanted to reach out and let you know that we reached a decision this summer to discontinue any future Port Production.

There will be no more Schweiger Port!!!

Now that I have your attention: Don’t panic! We will continue to make the same style wine you enjoy, we are just choosing to not call it “Port” anymore. After my trip to Portugal last year, I developed a fondness for the growers and winemakers of the Duoro and Porto regions. Even though we are grandfathered in and legally allowed to call it “Port”, we no longer feel right using their legally protected place name. Instead we will use a proprietary name and will continue the roman numerals for the releases, picking up with XIV when we bottle in the spring of 2017.

“So Andy, what are you going to call it?”
Well, funny you should ask; what do YOU think we should call it? We have so many club members with creative minds; I thought I’d give you the opportunity to help out. If we pick your submission, you will receive a special 6 pack of our dessert wines, including the VERY FIRST bottle of the newly named dessert wine to come off the bottling line in May.

Have a good idea? Please email submissions to notport@schweigervineyards.com by November 30th, 2016.

What’s the future of dessert wine at Schweiger?
Our Cabernet Ports have experienced universal praise by our club over the years, so we will continue producing this Cabernet dessert wine in years where growing conditions allow us to do so. Additionally, I came back from Portugal very enthused to not only continue our red dessert wine program, but expand on it a bit. This past harvest, I tried an experiment which tastes magnificent! I’ll share more about this in early next year.  Finally, there’s another project I’m working on which I intend to release in 2019. Stay tuned…it’s going to be great!

We are very grateful for your continued support of Schweiger Vineyards and forward to your name suggestions!

Andy “NotPort” Schweiger

2016 Harvest Recap

Another harvest is now behind us. The picking bins have been put away and covered. The tractors are all lubed and greased and resting inside the barn. Seed for a cover crop has been spread and since the last of the grapes came in, we’ve received over nine inches of rain. I thought it would be fitting to take a moment and share some of the fun and excitement of the harvest just ended.

Justin and I like to be READY when harvest starts. As early as the first week of August we were pulling lids off of tanks, cleaning picking bins, servicing equipment, and cleaning, cleaning cleaning! Fred and I removed the spray rig and got all the tractors set for their most important time of year. Yeast ordered? Check! Barrels delivered? Check! Beer refrigerator stocked? Check!

One thing I love about making Sauvignon Blanc is it gives us a chance to make sure everything is ready. Almost every year, Sauvignon Blanc is the first varietal we bring in. This year we harvested the SB on September 2nd (by great coincidence, the exact same date as the 2015 harvest). The nature of processing Sauvignon Blanc involves almost every single piece of equipment we own; destemmer, press, sorting table, glycol refrigeration, argon system, bungie cords, and sometimes even electrical tape!

After bringing in the Sauvignon Blanc, the weather really cooled down, giving us two weeks to focus on racking the Sauvignon Blanc juice and monitoring its fermentation in barrel. We kept getting itchy, waiting to really start up harvest; you can’t hurry nature and we were patient. We sampled, we waited. We sampled more, we waited more.

September 15 is when we really started to open the harvest gates. Over the next 15 days we harvested almost every day, bringing in over 65 ton. When you have this many consecutive fruit days you need to manage your time carefully. The day isn’t only about farming. We would start the day getting the crew out picking at first light, then back inside to punch down and monitor fermentations. Some days we’re also draining and shoveling a tank to press off. By 10 a.m. most days, enough grapes had been picked that it was time processing fruit. This is our second harvest with a sorting table. While it is incredible to have greater control over the quality of fruit coming in the winery, it does come at an expense…finding people willing to work the table for hours on end, watching fruit come bouncing by.

Not only did our office, sales, and tasting room staff do an amazing job at jumping in whenever possible, but staff spouses, children, and friends were here. Our volunteer crew did an amazing job at pulling wayward leaves and underdeveloped fruit before it found its way into the winery.

Adding to the normal excitement of harvest, a clutch of rattlesnake eggs hatched late September. Over a 6 day period we became hyperaware as each day it seemed we were spotting a few more of these 9 inch long varmint-terminators (so small that they had not developed rattles or the distinctive head shape). You definitely are on your toes for a few hours when you bend down to grab a water hose and find a small baby rattler right next to it. Our final count was 14 of these snakes. Thankfully, nobody (human or canine) was bitten…even better, it was an injury free harvest; sore muscles, tired brains, bruises and scratches requiring fewer than 9 stitches (electrical tape works wonders) do not count as accidents, right?

Every day, the quality of the fruit we were bringing in was amazing. Justin, Fred, and I are all very excited to see how this vintage develops. We have a few experiments with new barrels and even a few new products to be bringing to your dinner table in the years to come.

So, here we are today. Both the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay have fermented dry and are aging in barrel. The red varietals are all going through malolactic fermentation; the earliest lots just completed last week and it looks like we are on target to be completely finished by the end of 2016. The vineyard is slowly going to sleep for the winter. If you have a moment, we’d love for you to come up and take a look; the leaves slowly changing yellow to orange to brown are not to be missed!

Verasion is in full swing… or … Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strange)
Don’t want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strange)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

“Changes” –David Bowie

I’m Changing! Today began the most visibly dramatic change in my life to date. Yes, pollination was fun, but this is huge…this is bigger than John Boehner changing color after he gets a spray tan touch up…this is a change inside and out. So what’s happening? Well, I’ve pretty much hit my full size…cell division has slowed to a crawl…now it’s the physiological changes.

Over the next several weeks, chlorophyll inside me is going to break down as anthocyanins start to form in my skin, giving me that red to purple to almost black appearance. Meanwhile, on the inside, malic acid is going to start to degrade and tartaric acid will take over as the primary acid present. Finally…and most importantly, the vine is going to start pumping sugar into me…I mean a LOT of sugar. By the time I’m picked, I’ll probably contain 25% sugar. As I start getting VERY ripe, pyrazines will begin to break down…these chemicals are responsible for herbaceous aromas (think of the green bell pepper aromas predominant in the the Napa Cabernets made in the 70s and 80s). With these pyrazines gone, my fruity aromas will be much more noticeable.

A Special Invitation: Schweiger’s Inaugural European River Cruise

Next March we are doing something special and exciting, the first Schweiger Vineyards trip abroad for our wine club members, friends and family. Sally and I cordially invite you to join us on a 7 night Rhine River cruise followed by a 4 night tour of Switzerland.

We’ll board the lovely ship M/S AmaSonata for two nights in Amsterdam, that wonderful city of canals, Rembrandt, windmills and bicycles. Then begin a voyage up the mighty Rhine River, visiting the German cities of Cologne, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Rudesheim and Breisach. We’ll spend a day in Strasbourg, France and tour the lovely Alsace Wine Route, sampling world class Rieslings. Upon disembarkation in Basel there is an optional land tour visiting the Swiss cities of Lucerne and Zurich, traveling high in the Alps and along the scenic lakes of stunning Switzerland. Western Europe in early spring will be cool, uncrowded and delightful, with low airfares.

On board I will hold three tastings and a paired dinner, pouring our own Schweiger Vineyards wines alongside those of the Rhine and Alsace. There are special inclusions exclusively for those traveling in our group block, booked through our tour operator Expanding Horizons.

For complete information, please visit this link:


This web site shows all the cabins with expandable pictures, details and dates. Feel free to recommend this special holiday to any friends or relations who would enjoy this kind of elegant vacation dedicated to culture and fine wine.

There is a special discount of $1,500 per cabin ($750 per person) for those depositing by September 30th, 2016. To book or to answer your questions please email or call Ruth Jelsma at our tour operator, Expanding Horizons:  Tel: 1-714-975-9063, email: Ruth@Expanding-Horizons.com.We look forward to seeing you aboard!


Fred & Sally Schweiger