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          Tongue River Winery         

                                      Quality Made Wines with fruit exclusively from the Northern Plains!  



Occasional Musings about grapegrowing and winemaking

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Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Really?  Buying more land at age 70?!

Well, we did.  The place at the beginning of our lane came up for sale— a house and almost 4 acres, with enough agricultural land for another 500 vines and some shrubbery.  We bought the place, rented out the house and Bob spent a month building 28 rows of trellis, 100 feet long apiece and has now planted just over 300 vines out of space for 500.  It will be filled by next year.  Oh, and he...

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Double Gold: Jefferson Cup!

Posted on November 20, 2018 at 8:20 PM


But we never expected to win a Jefferson Cup prize.  The Jefferson Cup Invitational invites only about 500 wineries each year out of the 8700 wineries in the US.  And of those wineries, approximately 750 wines are received for judging each November.  They are first judged for Bronze, Silver and Gold, and if every judge at a table gives a wine a gold medal, then it's a Double ...

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Pruning Finally!

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 7:30 PM

It has been a looonnngggg winter this year.  It snowed again last week, and is supposed to this coming Friday, April 13th, and then the Tuesday after that!  We've had more precipitation this winter than we ever remember, and it's made the vineyard snowy, and then muddy, and then snowy, and then....snowy!

Today I made good progress by finishing 5 rows (out of about 90).  Tomorrow should be a lovely 60° F day, so I hope to do several more.  I'm working through our...

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Late Winter blahs!

Posted on February 26, 2018 at 3:50 PM

After a record-setting amount of Winter snow, it looks like the white stuff is finally over!  We still have two feet on the ground, but I waded through the vineyard last week and checked each variety for nice green tissue.  And what I found was........nice green tissue!  In every cultivar.

Now we have to wait for some of it to melt, and hope that the river thaw is very gradual and doesn't come over the banks and flood our home and shop.  It's a worrisome thing.

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Harvest Over, Wine finessing in progress!

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Our 2017 crop beat our expectations and came in over 12,000 lbs of grapes!  This was 2500 lbs more than our second best crop back in 2013.  We also harvested a half-ton of cherries, plenty of haskaps, apples, pears and plums.  So it was a very good year.

Every day, Josh is clarifying, acid-adjusting, balancing the wines these grapes and other fruit produced.  We're glad we'll have a big batch of our po...

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Do we have enough tank space?

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Barring terrible hail, we're off to the best year in the vineyard we've ever had.  For the past two years, hard late frosts have taken out most of the fruit blossoms in this area.  But this year, nothing was going to stop our fruit from happening!  Which leads to a happy, vexing uncertainty:  Do we have enough tank space for all this fruit?

This year, for the first time we're going to get the Carmine Jewel cherry crop we deserve:  We'll probably pick close to 10...

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April 2017: Exciting New Year!

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 1:05 AM

After a month in Australia, it was wonderful to come home to cooler temperatures!  Last Saturday I did some pruning in the vineyard, and the grapes show a lot of promise this year.  A mellow winter and a nice cool, gradual spring is bringing things out of dormancy nice and slowly.  This protects the buds from late spring frosts.

Several exciting things showed up elsewhere on the property.  Unless it frosts:

1. We're going t...

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Mixed year, plenty of wine

Posted on October 1, 2015 at 1:10 AM

2015 has been another year of mixed blessings.  On the plus side, we had a nice crop of wild plums and our intense Golden Spice pears, and five times the crop of yellow raspberries, for a big increase in our Gold-medal winning White Raspberry wine.  Our Frontenac and Frontenac Gris and Frontenac Blanc did fairly well, so we'll have a boost to our very popular Warm Front, Frongria and Frontenac Trio Rosé.

On the down side, that giant wind in mid-July took the skin off of o...

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FINGER LAKES INTERNATIONAL: 3 wines�?? 3 medals!

Posted on March 26, 2015 at 12:05 AM

GOLD: Black Currant

SILVER: Frontenac Trio Rosé

BRONZE: Aronia

Just announced March 25th.  Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is a great contest to enter, because it supports special needs kids who are struggling with sickness, abuse who attend Camp Good Days in NY State.  As a Gold medal winner, we are required to send a case of our winning wine for their fund-raising auction and dinner.  We're glad to help out with such a g...

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Spring: the season of Anticipation!

Posted on March 19, 2015 at 1:55 AM

This is the time of year for anticipation! Here are a few things we're anticipating:

GRAPES:  We're pruning like crazy, hoping to see signs of green in all of the grapevines.  Some (alas!) look like they've died back to the ground again.  Winter 2013 to Oct 2014 was a really tough year.  -40° F in Dec 2013, a late spring frost (early May), and then a very late hard fall frost (Sept 7th, three weeks early) put a lot...

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