Promoting his latest album release, Rick Lally performs a solo show on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery's Tasting Room. Lally will also perform with the band 3 Bricks Shy on Saturday, May 19, and another act, R2 Alchemy, on July 12.
Lally's new album, It's High Time, is a reference to the span of time it took to write, record, and release his work. The album is a retrospective of songs he wrote from 1989 to 2017.
"I've been writing and playing music since I was a teen," Lally said. "I've always done it as a way to make sense of my thoughts or feelings."
"Falcon Hill," a song Lally wrote as a 13-year-old teenager, was inspired by his childhood upbringing.
"I grew up in Illinois. From 10 to 16 years of age, I lived in a suburban neighborhood," Lally said. "My backyard merged into underdeveloped park that was very much a small forest. In one section there was a clearing with a hill. I spent most of my time playing in nature and every inch of the park. I always saw all kinds of birds from that hill and would frequently see a falcon. My friends and I always called that area Falcon Hill. As I was learning the four chords in my song 'Falcon Hill,' I wrote the lyrics to express how I felt when I was out there in nature."
Lally wrote the album's title song "It's High Time" to himself.
"I have written a lot of songs. I've probably forgotten as many as I remember," Lally said. "'It's High Time' was intended to remind me and push myself to get my unrecorded songs recorded. It was also intended to urge me to pull the songs out of me that I either need to finish or start. In essence, the song was me being a cheerleader for myself!"
True to his muse, Lally writes music at his own pace and his songwriting has developed over time.
"Many of my earliest songs were just a stream of chords. Many lacked a bridge or a reprise. I have progressively improved in that area," Lally said. "I never have forced writing a song. It either happens or it doesn't. Sometimes it can take a song a long time to stew and simmer before it's ready. I have one song I wrote in a half-hour and it never changed. Others that have taken years to complete. I'm definitely a better guitar player now so that helps a lot."
The songs on the new album vary in genre.
"'No Jive' has a bluesy southern rock feel, while 'I Can't Breathe' has the feel of smooth jazz," Lally said. "'Slippin' Away' is currently playing on a Tropical Rock radio station. 'It's High Time' and 'Paralyzed' were both born to rock. Everything else is either folkie or folk rock."
Lally is also an artist. One of his paintings, "Sun Glass," is displayed in the Tasting Room.
"I have always been somewhat artistic, but never put much time into it. When I started painting, I dove in head first and began painting a lot," Lally said. "During that time, my band 3 Bricks Shy had a song called 'Screw The Cracker' with a line in the song, 'Polly wants wine.' Somehow, that song got us started with playing at wineries."
Lally's inspiration for "Sun Glass" traced back to performing at Fence Stile during the summer when it was sunny.
"I really appreciated that we continued to get chances to play at Fence Stile," Lally said. "I decided that Fence Stile would be a good home for a painting it mostly likely inspired."
It's High Time is available at iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. Visit ricklally.com for more information on his music, art, and performance dates. Check Fence Stile's calendar for upcoming music performance dates from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Below: Rick Lally as a young musician. Right: "Sun Glass" is a painting inspired by Rick Lally's performances at Fence Stile.
Hey friends, Fence Stile has been nominated for the Best Winery category in the Feast Magazine - Midwest 50 Awards.
Please vote for us. Here's how. Clink on the link below. Scroll down and select Fence Stile and enter your email address (required) to vote.
Vote until 5/13 @ 12:00am Central. Feel free to vote for as many or as few categories as you like; you can vote once per category per day.
Enter your email address for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Taste & Toast on Sun., May 6.
Vote daily for us! Thank you.
Fence Stile’s team members are sporting a new look in the Tasting Room – new T-shirts in purple, blue, dark gray and red printed with a design that reads Wine Xenos. What does this phrase Wine Xenos mean?
We know you know what wine is. If you don’t, please visit and we’ll offer a personal introduction and wine tasting ($5 for five samples). If you’ve forgotten, then you might need a reminder. Wink, wink. Either way, please join us for a visit.
What about this word, xenos?
Xenos (zee-nohs, rhymes with fructose), is a Greek word that refers to a stranger or guest. When a stranger arrives, a host is xenial and treats them as a guest, extending hospitality to visitors.
The spirit of xenos matches the motto of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. We like to say, “Good fences make good neighbors, a Fence Stile makes neighbors, good friends!”
What is a fence stile? Well, take a look at the back of our new T-shirts or our logo. A stile is a type of ladder with steps on both sides. The stile is mounted over a fence, allowing a person to easily cross over the fence. With a fence stile, neighbors can cross a fence between them, meet, and become good friends.
We think of visitors to Fence Stile Winery and Vineyards as guests, whether you’re making the trip for the first-time or you’re one of our long-time regulars. In time, our guests become friends and family.
Wine Xenos on our new T-shirts is a fun shorthand way to express this spirit. Through wine and the hospitality of our Tasting Room team, all who arrive for a visit will receive our hospitality as a guest. In time, we hope you’ll become friends and make new friends with other guests.
Also, the back of our stylish new T-shirts depicts a fence stile. You’ll note that two boards on the fence stile form an X. As a Roman numeral, X signifies the number ten (10). As a tweak to our logo, the X is a subtle design feature that refers to our upcoming tenth anniversary in 2019. This year, we’re developing plans to celebrate this milestone next year in grand style.
We invite you to visit the Tasting Room as our guest. Ask us about the new T-shirts. We have them available for sale exclusively at the Tasting Room. The shirts come in men’s and women’s styles and a variety of sizes. We also have a ladies tank top for the warmer weather. Share the spirit of Wine Xenos!
We’ll see you soon.
As winter draws to a close, the team at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery has been working outdoors in brisk weather to prune and tend to the vines.
"The intent of pruning in general is to control the size of the vine, optimize the production potential of the vine, and to maintain the balance between shoot and fruit growth," vineyard manager Shawna Mull explains.
Between fall harvest and spring bud break, pruning is necessary to review each vine in each row to monitor its condition. Dead, diseased, or severely damaged parts of the vine are removed. This step helps the vine concentrate its growth on healthy sections later in the year. When pruning, the best canes and spurs are identified that will yield fruit. This blog post explains the spur pruning process in greater detail with illustrations on cane pruning vs. spur pruning.
Vignole, Vidal, and Seyval grapevines are pruned in that order to mirror the order that white grapes will be harvested. Chambourcin and Concord are pruned last and, subsequently, harvested last in fall.
The photo gallery and videos below illustrate the important work involved with pruning. Pruned canes are gathered in piles and removed by tractor for composting or burning later.
As the weather warms up, Fence Stile will announce opportunities for volunteers to work with the team and help with "suckering" the vines. Once early growth begins in spring, the vines send up shoots, or suckers.
"Suckering is necessary to remove all unnecessary and unwanted growth so that vine's energy can be redirected to the important growth," explains Shriti, Fence Stile's owner. "We end up doing this numerous times in a season. Personally, I enjoy walking the vineyards, looking at each vine, and seeing the progress."
Check the website and Facebook page in coming weeks for more information on volunteering to help with the vines. Meanwhile, the winery's Tasting Room returns to its normal operating hours. Join us for wine tastings on Thursday, 3 pm - 7 pm, Friday 3 pm - 9 pm, Saturday 11 am - 8 pm, or Sunday 11 am - 5 pm. Visit our home page or calendar for event listings and winery tour dates.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery offers a FirePit Red wine blending workshop on Sunday, March 4th, at 1 p.m. The workshop (registration details below) is a rare, invaluable opportunity for wine drinkers to experience firsthand how unfinished wine from different grapes, such as Chambourcin and Norton in this case, is blended.
Unfinished wine refers to grape juice pressed after harvest that has undergone fermentation. Stored in stainless steel tanks, the wine is monitored to determine how its flavor, aroma and other characteristics develop. At this stage, the winemaker has not refined the wine to the point where it is ready to bottle.
"There are a number of reason and ways to blend wines," explains Shriti Plimpton, owner and founder of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. "The goal of blending is to create the best wine possible with the elements you have to work with. Blending creates a more balanced wine (and often a more complex wine). Winemakers may blend different varietals, different lots of the same varietals, different barrel lots, lots from different geographical areas of the same grape, different vintages or even different styles. Some wines lend themselves to blending in order to improve aromatics, round out the harshness or tannins or improve color. Blending can happen as early as fermentation, throughout aging or right before bottling."
Blending wine is part of the craft of winemaking that begins with harvest and crush in fall and continues in the wine production facility. Blending is typically not an experience accessible to the public. Fence Stile's blending workshop is a chance for a select few guests to "peek behind the curtain."
"To create a blend, we start with the goal," Shriti says. "The goal for FirePit Red was to create a smoky wine that you would enjoy by the fire. We want to develop a wine that is light enough to enjoy without a meal. Yet, it has the aromatics and familiarity of a warm fire."
Samples are drawn from the available target wines in the winery's tanks and barrels for the workshop. The fun and learning begins in the Tasting Room as participants work in pairs as a team. They taste each wine to understand its nuances, flavors and characteristics before blending.
"Then we create sample blends, working to highlight the strengths of each as well as account for missing elements," Shriti says. "We may have a sample that is nice and smoky but too harsh. It may need to be softened with an off-dry wine or perhaps a more fruit-forward wine. We create numerous combinations with the elements we have available to strike the right balance. The availability of the elements for us to work with often determines the quantity we are able to bottle."
WINE BLENDING WORKSHOP
The 2017 FirePit Red Wine Blending workshop is limited to 14 participants that will work in pairs (7 pairs total). Individual participants that sign up will be paired with a partner. After a discussion on wine blending led by Fence Stile's team, participants will briefly taste three unfinished red wines to assess their flavor, aroma, and other qualities. Using these samples, the participants will create up to three blends. Each pair will select one wine from their three blends, share the blend, discuss its attributes, and explain why they chose it.
Cost for the workshop is $15 per person ($10 for Wine Club members). Limited space available. Email email@example.com to reserve a spot and list the participant name(s) for up to two people.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery offers a wine blending workshop on Sunday, March 4th, at 1 p.m. Participants will learn about the nuances of creating a blend by working hands-on with a variety of unfinished wines. The workshop is limited to 14 participants that will work in pairs (7 pairs total). Individual participants that sign up will be paired with a partner.
“Guests will learn about the delicate balance of working with unfinished wine to create a finished product, how to capitalize on the best qualities of each wine, and how to create a harmony that is the finished wine,” says Shriti Plimpton, owner of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery.
Initially, Fence Stile team members will discuss the 2017 harvest and winemaking process for that year’s wines. Then participants will briefly taste three unfinished red wines to assess their flavor, aroma, and other qualities. The unfinished wines originated from Chambourcin and Norton grapes picked during the 2017 harvest.
Using these samples, the participants will create up to three blends. Each pair will select one wine from their three blends, share the blend, discuss its attributes, and explain why they chose it.
Ideally, the goal is to develop a blend for the 2017 FirePit Red, one of Fence Stile’s most popular red wines. Participants will taste an older vintage of the wine from Fence Stile’s library and assess which blend most closely matches the bottled wine.
Cost for the workshop is $15 per person ($10 for Wine Club members). Limited space available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot and list the participant name(s) for up to two people.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery has the only wine cave in the region. While the main section of the man-made cave is reserved to store our bottled and barreled wine, our wine cave is also used for special events.
The room has been a setting for a concert video watch party, Eclipse education event in 2017, and candle-lit wine tastings as part of our winery and wine cave tour. Fence Stile can also host live music in the caves, wine and food gatherings, private parties, and speaking events with some audiovisual support available.
The wine cave may be reserved for private events separately or in conjunction with our other winery spaces in the upstairs Tasting Room. Contact us at email@example.com for more information, rates, or to arrange a visit for event planning.
The Love Lock Wall at Fence Stile Vineyard and Winery is inspired by an ancient custom. Lovers lock a padlock on a gate or fence and throw away the key, symbolically locking their love forever. Adding a Love Lock to the Fence Stile Love Lock Wall celebrates your love.
These locks on walls can be found around the world from the Pacific Rim to romantic cities in France, Italy and Spain.
The history of love padlocks dates back at least 100 years to a melancholic Serbian tale of World War I. At the bridge Most Ljubavi (literally meaning the Bridge of Love) in the spa town of Vrnjacka Banja, a local schoolmistress named Nada fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. Nada and Relja were engaged, but Relja went to war in Greece. While there, he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. Relja and Nada broke off their engagement and Nada never recovered from the heartbreak. Young women from Vrnjacka Banja started writing down their names with the names of their loved ones on padlocks and affixing them to the railings of the bridge, where Nada and Relja used to meet, as a way to project their own love.
This timeless tradition spans the world. Fence Stile created its own Love Lock Wall after opening its new Tasting Room several years ago. Couples of all ages and even family members secured their love lock to the wall as a testament to a loved one.
For Valentine's Day (or any day), carry on the tradition by adding an inscribed lock to the wall. Bring your own lock or the winery has Love Locks available in the tasting room!
While visiting during the weekends near Valentine's Day, celebrate the special day with a loved one and share a bottle of Mûre Blanche dessert wine. Mûre Blanche is a blackberry Vidal Blanc dessert wine made using juice from late harvest 2017 grapes and estate-grown blackberries. Packaged in 375-milliliter bottles, this young wine was created to drink with the arrival of spring and not meant to be aged.
Also, we have fashioned a Mûre Blanche cocktail for Valentine's Day. On February 10th and 11th, enjoy handmade Blackberry Truffles with the purchase of two Mûre Blanche cocktails.
Read more about the wine on our blog, Wine and Stile. We look forward to seeing you soon for a "lovely" visit.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery is excited to introduce Mûre Blanche - a new limited-quantity wine. Released in early February, Mûre Blanche is only available in our Tasting Room. If you purchase four bottles of this special wine during the month of February, then you will receive a pair of Fence Stile logo dessert glasses.
To celebrate Valentine's Day, we have fashioned a Mûre Blanche cocktail. On February 10th and 11th, enjoy handmade Blackberry Truffles with the purchase of two Mûre Blanche cocktails.
ABOUT THE WINE
Mûre Blanche is a blackberry Vidal Blanc dessert wine made using juice from late harvest 2017 grapes and estate-grown blackberries. Packaged in 375-milliliter bottles, this young wine was created to drink with the arrival of spring and not meant to be aged.
To develop this dessert wine, Vidal grapes were harvested in November rather than in late August or early September to develop character and sugar levels. Tasted fresh off the vine, the grape's juice yielded intense golden raisin notes and honeyed sweetness. Blackberries, harvested from Fence Stile's bushes last summer, were added to the Vidal Blanc grape crush. A wine bladder press was used to collect the fruit juices for this small-batch, limited-edition wine. After aging in a stainless steel tank, the unfiltered wine was bottled at the beginning of the New Year in early January.
Mûre Blanche was purposely unfiltered to preserve the wine's character, resulting in a slightly hazy appearance. The addition of blackberry juice infused the wine with a cranberry-rose color. Delicate berry and cranberry flavors finish with subtle sweetness.
The artwork on the wine label features an image from an original acrylic painting by Shriti's sister, Mayuri. The original painting is on display in the Tasting Room.
Visit Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, savor a bottle of Mûre Blanche or our other red, white, and sparkling wines, and stay for the beautiful sunset.
Introducing Mûre Blanche – Fence Stile Vineyard and Winery's latest release available in early February only in our Tasting Room. Mûre Blanche is a blackberry Vidal Blanc dessert wine made using juice from late harvest 2017 grapes and estate-grown blackberries. Packaged in 375-milliliter bottles, this young wine was created to drink with the arrival of spring and not meant to be aged.
The grapes were harvested in November rather than September to develop character and sugar levels. Tasted fresh off the vine, the grape's juice yielded intense golden raisin notes and honeyed sweetness. Blackberries, harvested from Fence Stile's bushes last summer, were added to the Vidal Blanc grape crush. A wine bladder press was used to collect the fruit juices for this small-batch, limited-edition wine. After aging in a stainless steel tank, the unfiltered wine was bottled at the beginning of the New Year in early January.
Mûre Blanche was purposely unfiltered to preserve the wine's character, resulting in a slightly hazy appearance. The addition of blackberry juice infused the wine with a cranberry-rose color. Delicate berry and cranberry flavors finish with subtle sweetness.
We hope you'll pick up a few bottles of Mûre Blanche, a fresh and bold addition to our wine list for a limited time only. The wine, featuring original painted artwork on the label, is perfect to share over brunch, a romantic toast for Valentine's Day, as a gift, or to simply add vibrant color and joy to the muted colors of winter.
Check our Facebook page and our website for more details on the February release of Mûre Blanche. Remember, this limited-edition wine is only available in our Tasting Room. These cases of Mûre Blanche won't last long.
Winter is a time to wind down, reflect, and spend time with others. Fence Stile Winery's Tasting Room offers the ideal venue for a leisurely wintertime getaway. Enjoy a brief excursion from the city and town, head past rolling hills and scenic country roads, and visit our winery just outside of Excelsior Springs.
Staying at The Elms? The hotel has a shuttle that will bring you to us.
Once you have arrived, we invite you to do a wine tasting (five pours for five dollars) to explore our red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, ranging from dry to semi-dry to sweet. Our Tasting Room team will guide you through the wines to arrive at something you may enjoy by the bottle or glass. Ask about our newest limited-release wine.
During winter, try a glass of warm mulled red or white wine to shake off the chill. Also, we have a delicious fall spice sangria that's hard to resist.
When the temperatures dip, we have our fireplace available to keep you warm.
Finally, order food from our Nibbles menu, featuring cheese, sausage, olives, nuts, bread, and more, if you care for a light bite. Guests may also bring food into the tasting room for a winter picnic.
Want to bring a group for a private event? We can reserve tables, our Assemblage Room, and other space for a gathering. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details and to receive information on options.
Break that cabin fever and visit us at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. We have live music, wine cave tours, and other events. Check the calendar or our Facebook page for upcoming events. We'll see you soon!
Fence Stile Vineyard and Winery owner Shriti Plimpton decided to leave the grapes on a few rows of Vidal Blanc during the 2017 fall harvest. Depending on how the grapes developed on the vine, she planned to have the grapes harvested later in the year. Juice from the late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes would be made into a new, limited-release wine for early 2018.
Previously, Fence Stile used late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes to produce Ishq, a sweet dessert wine with a rich gold color and the flavor of golden raisin. However, this new wine would have its own identity, look, and character.
Bird netting was placed over and around the rows of Vidal Blanc to preserve remaining fruit from birds and other predators prior to harvest. Long, heavy grape clusters hung on the vine until mid-November. As temperatures dipped, the vines dropped their leaves and no longer gained fuel from sunlight.
The grapes, pale green-colored in summer, deepened in hue with a palette ranging from a deep green-gold to light purplish-bronze. The additional time on the vine enabled the grapes to build sugar level, or Brix, as well as develop its flavor and aroma profile. Picked off the vine, the grapes exhibited a concentrated flavor of caramel and hint of golden raisin.
The bird netting was carefully rolled off the rows on a brisk November morning. The cool, gray day was a stark contrast to the warm, sunny harvest days in September, where valued volunteers helped picked grapes eight to ten weeks earlier. Wearing several layers of clothes for warmth, the team began the harvest and moved down the rows at a steady pace. The clusters were easier to spot since the vines bore no leaves. White five-gallon buckets, full of grapes were hauled to the winery production facility.
Since the harvest yield was much smaller than fall harvest, a wine bladder press was used to press the grapes rather than the larger, high-volume press normally used on the crush pad. A slotted metal screen forms the cylindrical body of the tri-legged press. Grapes are packed inside the press around a bladder in the center. Water is pumped into the bladder so it expands and pushes, or presses, the grapes against the walls of the cylinder. Grape juice is expelled through the slotted screen and collected in a tray that drains into a storage container.
In this case, a second fruit was also included in the grape crush – blackberries.
Last summer, Fence Stile's team harvested blackberries from its bushes near Concord grapevines located just off the private patio behind the old winery tasting room building. The blackberries, frozen for preservation until November, were added to the crush. Bright magenta berry juice and grape juice trickled down the walls of the press.
Wine from this juice was the culmination of planning, patience and development in 2017. The result is something to behold and taste – soon!
Scheduled for release in early February 2018, Vidal Noir is a blackberry Vidal Blanc dessert wine. Fence Stile's newest release is a product of several seasons – summer's bounty of homegrown berries, a late fall harvest of grapes, and wine craft over winter. We're excited to release and share this limited-edition wine.
Check back on Fence Stile's blog and social media for more details about the wine's appearance, flavor and bottling. As a limited-edition, small batch dessert wine that's meant to be consumed young rather than aged, Vidal Noir is a wine that won't last long on the shelves in our Tasting Room.
Grapevines require training during the first few years after planting to guide growth and optimize production. Even after they are established, grapevines need attention, care, and pruning at different stages of the seasons. During the winter transition between fall harvest and bud break in spring, leaves fall off the vines once temperatures drop and the weather turns cold. Bare grapevines require pruning and maintenance from January through March to remove dead wood and prepare for optimal growth in the following year.
The illustration below depicts several methods for training young grapevines and pruning. Fence Stile uses the spur pruning method on all cultivar varieties, such as Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, and Chambourcin.
"The intent of pruning in general is to control the size of the vine, optimize the production potential of the vine, and to maintain the balance between shoot and fruit growth," vineyard manager Shawna Mull explains. "The decision on how to prune can be dictated by the cultivar. Some cultivar produce better or a more even crop by cane pruning or other types of pruning. Spur pruning creates a strong cordon over the long term."
In the vineyard, the cordon is the part of the vine that looks like arms. A cordon refers to the vine's growth in a cord-like shape along a linear path that may be single or doubly split from the main vertical root vine. The cordon provides support for spurs, or shoots that grow from the vine and will produce fruit.
A formula is used for each variety of cultivar, or type of grapevine such as Seyval or Chambourcin, to calculate how many nodes/buds will be left on each vine to produce the optimal amount of fruit it can ripen.
"This number is a starting point as each vine is surveyed and treated as an individual," Mull says. "Ultimately, we are trying to achieve balance. We try to keep the spurs an even distance apart and balanced on both sides of the cordon. While making these decisions, we try to consider how each new shoot will affect the next as it grows. We try to alternate the direction to keep them from potentially creating too much shade for the neighboring spur and shoots. We always try to save the best cane that is also closest to the cordon at that spur interval. This keeps the fruit weight close to the cordon and reduces the chance of breakage during storms."
Pruning in Orderly Fashion
Fence Stile conducts pruning in the vineyard in the order that the vines would be harvested.
"The Vignoles would be first. They will also take the most time because of their vigor," Mull says. "The Seyval are the least vigorous so I would do the Vidal next and then Seyval. The Chambourcin and Concord are the latest harvests so they would be last of the established blocks."
Newer blocks of planted vines, such as Cabernet Dore, at Fence Stile "have a lot of vines that will have strong cordons already so we can prune to one bud per spur," Mull says. "Some of them, along with the Crimson Cabernet, are just making it to the wire. We will prune to one bud below the wire or to the first green internode, if not to the wire yet. We want to promote vigor in these young vines to grow strong trunks and cordons so they will be ready in a couple years to bear their first crop."
The amount of pruning that can be accomplished in a day depends on the weather. Also, pruning is specific to the cultivar's vigor and the number of canes. For example, the Seyval vines were not as vigorous as the Vidal and Vignoles.
"It takes longer to prune a hearty Vignoles vine because there are more canes and the canes are larger. If the weather is good, we can spend more than an hour or so outside at a time," Mull says. "One person can average 100-plus Seyval vines in a day. It may take two days to prune 100 of our Vignoles vines."
Pruning at Just the Right Time
Timing matters in the pruning process before bud burst occurs. As the term suggests, bud burst denotes when the vines first produce springtime growth. New buds will burst as shoots grow and, in time, develop leaves and flowers.
"If Stephen [Fence Stile's winemaker] and I start the first week of February, then we should be able to finish all the pruning by the end of March just in time for bud burst," Mull says. "We don't want to start pruning too early as the pruned plants become more susceptible to winter or cold injury. However, it is important to have all the pruning done before bud burst. The biggest fear is always that late spring frost that can cause bud damage."
Different Goals for Different Grapes
Pruning methods vary, depending on the type of grapevine and the goals for production.
"We will leave more buds on the Vignoles because we want to make the vine produce more clusters," Mull explains. "Our Vignoles produce a large amount of foliage and can become unbalanced with vigor. They are hearty with large, strong trunks and cordons. If we leave five to six nodes per spur, then we will average about 60 nodes total per vine."
Doing so insures the plant will focus its energy on clusters and not so much vigorous growth. Comparatively, the Seyval and Chambourcin are much less vigorous.
"We will leave fewer nodes per plant so that we insure enough vigor or foliage to provide ample photosynthesis to ripen the crop load," Mull says. "In simple terms, more buds per plant equates to the more clusters you should get. Fewer buds make the vine think it must grow foliage to survive so clusters are fewer. We always want balance in the vine so there's not too much vigor and just the right amount of clusters for that vigor to ripen."
Once planted, Fence Stile's vines are trained to grow into a double cordon formation. In other words, the upper cordons will form a T-shape at the top of the vertical root vine. The vine is tied to the cordon wire of the trellis for support. New fruit producing shoots will grow from the cordon spurs every spring.
"At Fence Stile we use two types of double cordon training," Mull explains. "High wire cordon training is used for cultivar that naturally like to grow downward. We purposely prune their spurs to point downward."
Other cultivar prefer to grow upward. "We use the Vertical Shoot Position to train the cordon and prune spurs pointing upward," Mull says. "The cordon is kept lower to the ground and the shoots are supported by the positioning wire built into the trellis, helping them to grow upward. The fruiting zones on either training system is kept close to the cordon at the supporting wire."
Fence Stile uses the Scott Henry training system for Concord vines. This method allows for grape clusters to grow closer to the ground for easier access while harvesting.
Missouri Wines has announced the date for the MVP Extravaganza, the ultimate reward for the most dedicated MVP members, that will take place on March 24, 2018. The evening will feature gourmet food and wine pairings, plus the opportunity to engage with the owners and winemakers from many of Missouri's award-winning wineries. This experience requires 50,000 points. Register at missouriwinemvp.com. Deadline to redeem points: January 31, 2018.
Missouri Wine Program Quarterly Sweepstakes
Enjoy a weekend getaway in Excelsior Springs!
Win a fabulous weekend getaway in scenic Excelsior Springs. You and a guest could enjoy an all-inclusive Wine Trolley Tour. The tour includes gourmet brunch paired with wine at Willow Spring Mercantile, transportation aboard the trolley, a souvenir wine bag and full-tasting experiences at three wineries, including Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. Then relax, renew and rejuvenate during an overnight stay at the beautiful Inn on Crescent Lake, Kansas City's most romantic getaway. This MVP experience is brought to you by the Inn on Crescent Lake and the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce.
During your stay in Excelsior Springs, explore the town's other attractions, including the Hall of Waters, Elms Hotel, Excelsior Springs Museum and Superior Well Pavilion. This historic area of the town is located along the East Fork of Fishing River with winding stream valleys leading into the river and hills. Explore more than 90 acres of parkland and walking trails within the city limits. Golf enthusiasts may wish to check out the Excelsior Springs Golf Course.
By redeeming 500 MVP points for this reward, you will be entered for a chance to win. The total estimated value of this reward is $400. The entry for this sweepstakes will close on 11:59 p.m. CST on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The winner will be notified on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Wineries on the Wine Trolley Tour include Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, Four Horses and a Dog Vineyard and Winery, and Van Till Family Farm Winery. Winery Trolley Tours run the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, starting April 28 through November 10. For the best date selection, winner will need to select the date and finalize their reservation by May 15, 2018.
A Fence Stile gift certificate makes the perfect gift for the wine enthusiast in your life. Whether you treat a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or co-worker, a gift certificate is versatile and thoughtful. Remember, the gift certificate may be purchased now and used at a later time.
Visit our Tasting Room, call 816-500-6465, or email us at email@example.com to purchase a Fence Stile gift certificate.
Gift Ideas at Fence Stile
• Fence Stile gift certificates may be used toward the cost of a guided winery and wine cave tour ($35/person) or other shopping at the
• Purchase and bundle the gift certificate with a bottle of Fence Stile's red, white, or sparkling wine to add to the experience.
• Our tasting room also has stocking stuffers, such as Champagne bottle openers and stoppers, wine bottle gift bags, and bottle sealers designed to keep oxygen out. Add these wine-related goodies and a gift certificate to your gift package. It's a classy gift for any wine-loving recipient. Our team can help assemble a customized Fence Stile wine gift bag along with a gift certificate.
• The Elms Hotel and Spa, located two miles from Fence Stile in downtown Excelsior Springs, is another way to create a luxurious gift package combined with a Fence Stile gift certificate. After all, The Elms operates a shuttle to and from the winery upon request. Surprise someone with a hotel stay and a reason to visit Fence Stile with a gift certificate in hand.
• Pair a Fence Stile gift certificate with an autographed copy of author Pete Dulin's new book, Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas and Missouri. This travel guidebook covers regional wineries in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
To obtain a Fence Stile gift certificate, simply visit our Tasting Room, call 816-500-6465, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fence Stile procured three whiskey barrels from J. Rieger & Co. before Thanksgiving 2017 and filled them with Norton wine for aging. The barrels are stored in Fence Stile's one-of-a-kind wine cave (which may be viewed on a guided tour).
J. Rieger & Co. was originally established in 1887 by Jacob Rieger in Kansas City's West Bottoms. Andy Rieger, Jacob Rieger’s great-great-great grandson, and Ryan Maybee re-opened the distillery in 2014 . In short order, the distillery has earned acclaim for its whiskey, gin, vodka, and other spirits.
Seeking to expand its barrel-aging program, Fence Stile leaped at the opportunity to work with this historic distillery and obtain barrels used for aging spirits. The barrels were originally owned by Heaven Hill, a Kentucky distillery, for aging their bourbon and then by MGPI for corn whiskey before J. Rieger bought them. The barrels had the first whiskey in them for four years at Heaven Hill and at the latter distillery for 10 years. J. Rieger aged corn whiskey in the barrels next and emptied them in late November 2017.
Char from the barrels, made from white American oak per federal law, the oak itself, and the prior spirits will impart flavor and aroma to the Norton wine. Typically, whiskey barrels often impart notes of vanilla and caramel to its contents. It's tempting to lean in, breathe deep, catch aromas from the barrel exterior, and imagine what the results will be.
At this stage, it remains to be seen how the Norton will interact with the barrel and what qualities it will absorb in its character. Each barrel is unique with its own characteristics. Depending on the results of aging, wine from each barrel may be blended in a specific ratio to produce the most desirable results. Careful monitoring, tasting and testing over time will help determine how the wine evolves and when it will be ready for bottling and release.
Now that the summer/fall farmers markets are closed for the season, we're shifting to winter comfort food for the weekend specials at Fence Stile. Friday through Sunday (unless otherwise noted on our Facebook page), we will have panini sandwiches and soups to tempt your tastebuds. Here's a peek at what we have planned. Whether the temperatures are chilly or mild, we hope you'll join us for a light bite and a glass or two of wine.
Nov. 24-26 (Thanksgiving weekend)
Panini: Goat cheese, Granny Smith apple, baby spinach
Soup: Ginger carrot with creme fraiche and crackers
Soup: Lentil soup with bread
Panini: Arugula, olive tapenade, mozzarella cheese
Soup: Five-bean soup with crackers
Panini: Chipotle pepper, caramelized onion, and cheddar cheese
Soup: Potato chowder with grated cheddar cheese and bread
We'll resume our weekend winter menu in late January after everyone has a chance to recover from holiday eating!!
Winery friends, read below for more details on this Wine Trolley Tour sweepstakes prize.
Win a fabulous weekend getaway in scenic Excelsior Springs. You and a guest could enjoy an all-inclusive Wine Trolley Tour. The tour includes gourmet brunch paired with wine at Willow Spring Mercantile, transportation aboard the trolley, a souvenir wine bag and full-tasting experiences at three wineries.* Then relax, renew and rejuvenate during an overnight stay at the beautiful Inn on Crescent Lake, Kansas City's most romantic getaway. This incredible MVP experience is brought to you by the Inn on Crescent Lake and the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce.
During your stay in Excelsior Springs, you can explore the town's other attractions, including the Hall of Waters, Elms Hotel, Excelsior Springs Museum and Superior Well Pavilion. This historic area of the town is located along the East Fork of Fishing River with winding stream valleys leading into the river and hills. Explore more than 90 acres of parkland and walking trails within the city limits. Golf enthusiasts may wish to check out the Excelsior Springs Golf Course.
By redeeming your 500 points for this reward you will be entered for a chance to win. The total estimated value of this reward is $400. The entry for this sweepstakes will close on 11:59 p.m. CST on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The winner will be notified on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
*Wineries on the Wine Trolley Tour include Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, Four Horses and a Dog Vineyard and Winery and Van Till Family Farm Winery. Winery Trolley Tours run the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, starting April 28 through November 10. For the best date selection, winner will need to select the date and finalize their reservation by May 15, 2018.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery offers a rare opportunity to experience the wine bottling process and create a custom gift wine package. For the first time, we invite guests to Bottle Your Own Wine (BYOW) events on Sunday, November 12th and 19th. Reserve your spot at email@example.com.
BYOW is a chance for our 2016 harvest volunteers to follow the grape from vineyard to winery to bottle. Our other winery guests may also bottle this 2016 wine and create a memorable, handcrafted gift with a story to share.
Fence Stile’s team will show guests the steps to bottling wine. Then, guests are able to bottle, label, and sign the wines they bottled.
Sunday, November 12, 10 am to 12 pm – Sweet Enchantment (2016 Concord harvest)
Sunday, November 19, 10 am to 12 pm – Loft Red (2016 Chambourcin harvest)
To participate in BYOW, reserve your spot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These 2016 wines, Sweet Enchantment and Loft Red, will not be released to the public in 2017. BYOW is an opportunity to buy these wines in advance at current prices.
For BYOW, guests may bottle and purchase these 2016 wines (half-case minimum or more, please) that day. Guests may also buy 2015 Sweet Enchantment and Loft Red bottles. Do a vertical tasting at home with the 2015 and 2016 wines, or give both vintages as a gift! Case discounts and Wine Club discounts apply to bottled wine purchases.
Fence Stile will provide Sweet Enchantment and Loft Red wine labels and metallic markers. BYOW guests may label bottles, sign or write a message on their bottles, and create a custom, hand-crafted gift in time for the holidays.
Fence Stile can help create a red wine gift basket for BYOW orders placed on bottling days. Add a packet of red wine mulling spices, Savory Addictions nuts, or other wine-related gifts to create a custom gift basket!
After bottling, stick around to enjoy a glass or bottle of wine. Fence Stile general manager and culinary director Pete Dulin will sign and sell copies of his newest book, Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas and Missouri.
To participate in BYOW, reserve your spot at email@example.com.
BYOW Pick-up Event
Fence Stile will store purchased BYOW bottles for guests until they are ready for release.
At the BYOW Pick-up Event in the Tasting Room on Sunday, December 17th, pick up the wine(s) you bottled, labeled, and signed. BYOW wines may also be picked up any day after December 17th.
Need your BYOW wines shipped for the holidays? Fence Stile can ship wine through Vinoshipper.
Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery held its annual Grape Stomp on Sunday, Oct. 8th, to close out the harvest season. After 7-8 weeks of harvesting grapes each Sunday, this ritual is a fun way to squash some grapes, celebrate with our guests, and enjoy some wine.
There's no need to dress up in a traditional outfit like Lucille Ball in the classic "I Love Lucy" grape-stomping scene. Guests step into the tub of grapes and stems, step high, and start smashing. Before long, the grapes yield bright, aromatic juice.
Of course, the juice produced from squishing grapes isn't actually used for making wine. That's how it was done in the early days of winemaking. The alcohol produced during the fermentation process is high enough to kill microbes before wine is produced and consumed.
We enjoyed having harvest volunteers and guests out for a sunny day to play in the grapes. And the remaining grapes and juice? All of it returns to the vineyard for composting. It's part of the cycle to nourish the vines as a tribute in hopes that they flourish once again next year.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Brand and events manager, chef and cellar rat Pete Dulin documents wine, food and operations at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery through writing and photography.