A lively group of Centurions from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce visited Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery in late September for a wine tasting and retreat. After the group sampled wines and ate food from KC Pinoy food truck, they spent the afternoon on the spacious flagstone patio.
As an icebreaker, the new class of Centurions performed their best John Travolta impression for the group. Needless to say, there was plenty of talent on site that day.
Planning a corporate or nonprofit event, holiday party, family gathering, or other group event? Fence Stile has a range of options for space indoors and outdoors – patio, private deck, private dining room for small groups, cellar garden, wine cave, and, of course, our Tasting Room. Our culinary director can create a custom menu for your event. We can also create custom wine sampling and pairing options, offer winery and wine cave tours, and other amenities to make planning a memorable event fun and free of stress.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and book a date.
The New Neighbors League hosted a Murder Mystery event at Fence Stile Winery's Tasting Room. The group booked the entire facility for a murder mystery play with a gangster theme. Fence Stile's culinary director prepared a custom dinner for the group. Images courtesy of New Neighbors League. For more images of the event, visit Fence Stile's Facebook page.
Need to plan an event? Contact email@example.com for room options, custom menu, wine pairings, and further details.
In the last of our Harvest Music Playlist Series, we share some song selections by Troy Mull. Troy assists the crush pad team with his skills in driving and navigating the tractor. He moves macro-bins full of harvested grapes to the scale for weighing and then unloads the grapes from the bin into the crusher-destemmer for initial processing. He's a huge help behind-the-scenes on the crush pad as well as harvest.
Troy's "stile" in music consists of hair bands and heavy metal. He shares his rockin' list of artists and songs below. Check out other harvest playlists from winemaker Stephen Dollar, vineyard manager Shawna Mull, and general manager/culinary director Pete Dulin.
Now that the harvest season is over, we welcome guests to drop into the Tasting Room for new releases of Chambourcin and Reserve Chambourcin that are ideal for cool weather sipping. Also, we've switched from WineIn movies to FirePit Fridays in the evening (weather permitting). Enjoy a bottle of wine, a warm blanket, and conversation around our firepit on the patio. With live music on Saturdays and wine cave tours and candlelit tastings on select Friday evenings and Saturdays, Fence Stile Winery offers plenty of reasons to enjoy the fruits of harvest labor. In other words, visit us and drink some white, red, rosé, or sparkling wine that ranges from dry to semi-dry to sweet.
Troy Mull's Harvest Tractoring Playlist
Soldiers - Drowning Pool (video)
Love & War - Drowning Pool (video)
Dirt - Alice in Chains (video)
Billion Dollar Baby - Alice Cooper (video)
Man in the Box - Alice in Chains (video)
Rumbling Train - Badlands (video)
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N Roses (video)
Breaking the Law - Judas Priest (video)
Cold Gin - KISS (video)
Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne (video)
Caught in a Dream - Tesla (video)
This week, general manager and culinary director Pete Dulin contributes a music playlist of favorite songs and artists below that inspire him in the kitchen.
Join us at Fence Stile for our final harvest of the season on Sunday, Oct. 1st. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's chat about music and food. Also, another fine cook and master of the grill, Craig Jones, joins us at Fence Stile on Sunday, Oct. 8th for a grilling demonstration and dinner with wine samples. Join us for a day of food, wine, fun, and perhaps a chat about what music moves you. RSVP at email@example.com.
Winemaker Stephen Dollar's Harvest Crush Pad Playlist
Vineyard manager Shawna Mulls' Harvest Crush Pad Playlist
"Music is certainly an inspiration when I cook," said Pete. "Sometimes music provides energy to fuel my spirit during the physical work, or it provides an internal rhythm that keeps me motivated. I don't necessarily have music playing in the kitchen at Fence Stile, but the playlist below reflects my tastes in music that is as personal as the food I create to feed others. Food and music are universal, but also highly personal."
"I rarely prepare food from a recipe," added Pete. "When cooking, I try to find a balance of flavor, color, and texture to appeal to the senses. Sometimes, I think in terms of composing music (although I am not a musician) to produce layers of flavor that have high (citrus, pepper, bright, sharp), middle (comfort, mild, like rice or noodles), and low (earthy, rustic like beans or potatoes) 'notes.' It was hard to limit the length of this playlist. I cut out many songs, but this selection expresses a range of what inspires me in the kitchen."
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg - The Temptations (video): This song reminds me of the kitchen scene in The Big Chill. Food, friends, music, and dancing. That's a perfect night. I love Motown and soul music so this song is a perfect kickoff.
The Dark End of the Street - Aloe Black & The Grand Scheme (video): This song is a modern cover of a James Carr classic. I love how the beat and guitar simmers in the background.
California Soul - Marlena Shaw (video): Gorgeous vocal phrasing, soaring strings, and easy driving rhythm inspires some hip-shaking and grooving in the kitchen.
Gotta Work - Amerie (video): This song is an anthem for me. Bold, brassy, and urgent, I like to blast this in the car as I prepare for the day ahead. No matter how tired I might be, this song kicks me in high gear to keep pushing on.
The Real Thing - Bebel Gilberto (video): Shifting gears, music and cooking has more than one speed and dimension. This sexy song glides like a silky sip of bisque on the tongue. I cook with multicultural influences that are eclectic and also reflected in my music tastes.
Samba a Dois - Los Hermanos (video): Musically and vocally, 'Samba a Dois' is stripped down and intimate. It inspires the hips and soul to move, a conversation and dance between two people. Isn't that the essence of food between the cook and the diner? Magic happens when we cook with purpose and eat with intent, paying attention to the ingredients and process and the company of those around us as our senses are stimulated.
Quelqu'un m'a dit - Carla Bruni (video): Pace matters in life, whether cooking, making wine, or tending to the vineyards. Some work happens quickly – a stir-fry, the race at crush to capture the grape's juices and inherent qualities. Other work takes time - slowly simmering stock for a soup, aging wine in barrels, or nurturing vines over seasons that produce a bounty. This song reminds me to take my time.
I Keep Faith - Billy Bragg (video): Food is a constant during the highs and lows of life. We eat to celebrate a hard day's work at harvest or a birthday, but also to bond and find comfort at a funeral reception or in the aftermath of a disaster. Billy Bragg's voice and powerful lyrics remind me that we're in this life together during the struggles and triumphs. Food brings us together when we need it most.
Train in Vain - The Clash (video): Irresistible beat, urgent words. Stand by me or not at all? Raw passion runs through this song. When I'm cooking on all cylinders, lost in the moment, songs like this are just fun to sing and puts energy in the kitchen.
All Around You - Sturgill Simpson (video): Sturgill blends honest country and soul with his singular voice, a sprinkle of piano, conversational horn section, and steady bass line. The lyrics remind me to endure and strive forward. Cooking is a way to channel the heart, mind, and body into purpose with (hopefully) a bright outcome.
You and I - Wilco (ft. Feist) (video): Sweet, simple, honest. Sometimes food needs to be simply that. Not a carnival on a plate.
Live Your Life - Yuna (video): Another soulful song that's sounds light but bears a profound message to "find your light" and live your life.
Last week, vineyard manager Shawna Mull shared her harvest playlist of favorite artists and song that keep the team motivated during busy crush pad activity that takes place after the morning grape harvest. This week, Fence Stile winemaker Stephen Dollar shares a few of the many songs below that keep the Bose speakers humming during crush. Stephen has eclectic tastes that make listening fun and an adventure on the crush pad and in the wine production facility.
After a morning harvest and lunch, volunteers are invited to observe the crush pad, learn how the grapes are processed, and perhaps taste some free run juice. Learn more about volunteering for an upcoming harvest on Sunday, Sept. 24th and Oct. 1st by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Most of these songs have no specific meaning other than I am a romantic," said Stephen. "Everything I listen to seems to be about love or my wife. I like EDM (electronic dance music) and old country, so there is a big jump around throughout my music days. My dad's favorite song was "Waiting for a Train." My grandpa was the singin' salesman because of his yodeling technique, so Jimmie Rodgers just speaks for my family."
A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins (video)
Lucky Man - The Verve (video)
Common People - Pulp (video)
To the End - Blur (video)
Too Long - Daft Punk (video)
Starboy - The Weeknd (video)
Girl - Beck (video)
One Headlight - The Wallflowers (video)
Waiting for a Train - Jimmie Rodgers (video)
9/19/2017 0 Comments
Grilling expert Craig Jones will demonstrate grilling techniques and recipes for four dishes at 1 PM, accompanied by paired wine samples from Fence Stile Vineyards. Afterward at 2 PM, guests dine on a four-course meal served family-style al fresco on the patio.
$45 ticket includes expert grilling demonstration, four wine samples, and four-course meal. Additional Fence Stile wines available for purchase by the bottle and glass to accompany dinner. RSVP by emailing email@example.com or calling 816-500-6465.
Starters - Savory Addictions nuts. Crostini topped with creamy broccoli puree and cheese. Wine sampling - Fence Stile Vignoles.
Salad - Grilled romaine salad with grilled harvest vegetables. Wine sampling - Fence Stile KAIscape.
Entree - Marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms and twice-baked wasabi potatoes. Wine sampling - Fence Stile 57 Red.
Dessert - Grilled peaches stuffed with blue cheese and grilled grapes. Wine sampling - Fence Stile Ishq dessert wine.
Craig is a live-fire cooking expert, the Grill Mayor for Food Network (2012), owner of Savory Addictions Gourmet Nuts, and a food blogger for the Kansas City Star. He’s also a certified KCBS BBQ judge, a master student of pizza crafting, and an enthusiastic supporter of the greater Kansas City food scene.
Fence Stile also hosts its Annual Grape Stomp (free to participate) from 11 AM and throughout the day. Join us for wine and grape-stomping fun to celebrate the end of harvest season.
Music adds energy to the busy crush pad activity that takes place after the morning grape harvest. This week, vineyard manager Shawna Mull shares a playlist below of some of her favorite artists and songs that help pass the time and keep spirits up during the crush. Look for a new playlist from winemaker Stephen Dollar next week.
After a morning harvest and lunch, volunteers are invited to observe the crush pad, learn how the grapes are processed, and perhaps taste some free run juice. Learn more about volunteering for an upcoming harvest on Sundays by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"My heart is with the Kansas City musicians," said Shawna. "Roots and blues run deep with me so my playlist consists of killer music from KC’s Samantha Fish, Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats, and AJ Gaither One Man Band. They all play cigar box guitars. AJ plays all homemade instruments. They influenced my fascination with cigar box guitar building and playing."
"I chose Katy Guillen and the Girls to turn up some Kansas City rock-n-roll. 'Fishin in the Dark' by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is one of my all-time faves," said Shawna. "'Air Stream Driver' makes me want to move and groove. I love to spin poi to this one. 'Age Like Wine,' yup, I'm working on it every day. The Steel Wheels's songs are just great examples of American roots music from the Virginia mountains. I do love a mandolin and banjo! I have three songs from G. Love & Special Sauce. There are so many good ones to choose from, but I felt that 'I Like Cold Beverages' is the best closing song for a long harvest and crush day. Cheers!"
Miles to Go - Samantha Fish (Video)
Air Stream Driver - Gomez (Video)
Unified - G. Love & Special Sauce (Video)
My Heart is In the Right Place - Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats (Video)
Hillbilly in Space - AJ Gaither One Man Band
Age Like Wine - Todd Snider (Video)
Find Your Mountain - Steel Wheels (Video)
Fishin In the Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (Video)
Don’t Get Bitter - Katy Guillen and the Girls (Video)
We've Got a Fire - The Steel Wheels (Video)
Peace Love and Happiness - G. Love & Special Sauce (Video)
I Like Cold Beverages - G. Love & Special Sauce (Video)
Harvest volunteer Philip Jeffries recorded and produced "The Grapes Are Sweeter," a short video that captures a day's harvest in Fence Stile's vineyards and scenes from the crush pad. Thanks to Philip for this amazing tribute to the harvest season.
Each weekend, we welcome volunteers to help us harvest grapes on Sundays through September and early October. Email email@example.com to reserve a spot for our harvest party which includes a harvest lunch and wine after the harvest.
Sunday, September 17th
Sunday, September 24th
Sunday, October 1st
Tentative date for our Annual Grape Stomp (I Love Lucy style) - Sunday, October 8th
Like human beings, a wine's taste is going to depend a great deal on its origins and its upbringing. – Linda Johnson-Bell
Harvest season began at Fence Stile with our first harvest last Sunday. This marks the beginning of our busiest time in every aspect of Fence Stile. This season is when we have the most requests for tours, trolleys, tour busses, and events. It is the best time to see the vineyards. Since our tasting room is surrounded by vineyards, there isn’t a bad view on the entire property. Our tasting room is busy with first-time guests and long-time friends. The vineyards have non-stop activity as we get ready for harvest. The winery is busy emptying tanks, prepping for new grapes, and getting crush equipment back in use after a 10-month hiatus.
The August weather has been highly unusual for the Midwest. Last Sunday was no exception. The team considered many scenarios and contingency plans for the day to prepare for when nature determines the grapes are ready. Volunteers and team members harvested nearly 2.8 tons of Vignoles destined for the tall blue bottles that everyone loves. This week marked the beginning of the smell of fermentation wafting into the tasting room, stains on our fingernails and clothes from harvest, and the careful dance with Mother Nature as we work to get our grapes from the vineyards through the transformation process of becoming wine.
While harvest is an event, it is really the finale of almost a year of work. The grapes we harvest will reflect a year of sunshine, rain, frost, wind, temperature fluctuations, decisions made about canopy management, spraying, suckering, and more. Every decision made and everything Mother Nature serves us will be reflected in the grapes and, ultimately, in the wine. It is impossible to make good wine out of bad grapes. Every delicious sip starts with the vineyards and then, after harvest, our job is make sure we continue to shepherd the winemaking with the same diligence we gave to the grapes.
In preparation for this week, we have made and revised plans, ordered supplies and spares, repaired equipment, cleaned, sanitized, checked equipment we haven’t used since last harvest, refreshed ourselves with the controls of the equipment, and recalled past failures to ensure the lessons learned are part of the new plan and contingency planning. The practice and mental dry-runs are no different than preparing for the big game, the big event, or even the eclipse. You get one shot to get it right!
In preparation for the coming weeks, we have stocked up on water, Gatorade, snack packs, first aid supplies, favorite beverages, and even added a Bose wireless speaker. We can take turns connecting our phones to share our favorite music with the team to help get through the long days. We have talked about the intensity of the events with a team that has not been through this together yet. Tensions will be high. “Please” and “thank you” are intended, even if not spoken. Forgiveness is implied if voices are raised in a heated moment. We have the need to share neck rubs and jokes to help get through the long days. We are moving into seven-day work weeks, knowing that the next few months will be intense. Social commitments will be minimal and our family and friends will be supportive as we grind through long days. We will need our sense of humor, a common objective, and each other to help us stay motivated.
This last weekend, we were reminded that while we feel this intensity and drive, so do our guests. With one-half of a row left to pick, the odd August sky turned from a cool, cloudy, comfortable one to a dark rainy one. As the rain came down, we told our volunteer picking crew to head inside the tasting room, dry off with the towels stacked inside the door, sit by the fireplace, and enjoy a glass of mulled wine while we get lunch ready. They did not. Not one person walked away. Our incredible volunteers said they came to harvest and they were not leaving the last of the row without finishing the harvest! This is the what we all work for – this is why we are an estate winery!
Relationships are built, friendships are made, memories from previous harvest are shared, stories are told, new memories are created and, in the process, we make wine to be shared with loved ones.
My team, a talented group of individuals, will come together to marry the art and science of viticulture and viniculture. Our hope is to express the best of nature, our drive, and our passions by creating something extraordinary to share with family, friends, and loved ones. My hope is that once we have discovered each other’s musical tastes, created new memories and stories, shared a bottle on the crush pad at the end of a very long day, forgiven, and learned from the missteps, celebrated the wins, and held each other up, we emerge as a strong family. Every vintage has a story. I am excited to see our 2017 harvest story unfold.
Owner and founder
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery
After volunteers and the Fence Stile team complete the morning grape harvest, what happens next?
[Sign up to volunteer to harvest grapes on Sundays during September by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. View a gallery of photos during harvest.]
Once grapes are picked and placed in five-gallon buckets, the buckets are emptied into a yellow macro-bin that can hold hundreds of pounds of grapes. The bin is transported by a tractor to the crush pad located behind the Tasting Room and wine production facility. The grapes in the bin are weighed to calculate the total tonnage for the day's harvest.
Each bin is then unloaded into a crusher/de-stemmer machine. An auger turns and feeds the grapes into the machine which separates grapes from the stems. The stems are deposited into a tub and then dumped into an empty macro-bin for composting. The grapes are fed into a crusher that mashes them into pulp and juice. This grape mash is pumped through a hose to a press. The press further extracts juice from the grape pulp, separating skins, seeds, and pulp from the juice. The juice is pumped into tanks, where it will be inoculated with yeast after a day or two of settling. The yeast begins the process of feeding on natural sugars in the grapes to begin the fermentation process under the watchful eye of the winemaker.
Grapes harvested by volunteers and the harvest team are transported to the crush pad and crushed as soon as possible to preserve the innate quality of the fruit's aroma, flavor, and physical composition. Harvest volunteers are an essential part of the timely process that transforms grapes from the harvest season into next year's vintage of wine.
Loading grapes from the macro-bin into the crusher/de-stemmer.
An augur turns and feeds the grapes into the crusher/de-stemmer.
Once grapes are removed from the stems, the stems are deposited into a tub that will be emptied into a macro-bin for composting later.
De-stemmed grapes are fed into the crusher to produce a rough mash that breaks up the grapes. The pulp and juice is pumped into another machine that will press the pulp and skins to extract juice.
The grape pulp and skins are pressed. Juice is extracted, collected, and pumped into a tank, where it will undergo the winemaking process. Grapes from this year's harvest will become next year's bottled wine.