We finish our conversation with Frédéric Bouché of Ports of New York Winery in Ithaca, New York. We touch on the Portugese language, weddings and new beginnings.
Welcome to The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast. I’m your host Forrest Kelly from the seed to the glass. Wine has a past. Our aim at The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all grape minds think alike. Let’s start the adventure. I’m the owner Frédéric Bouché and the winemaker of Ports of New York Winery. Welcome to Part 3 of our conversation with Frédéric Bouché. Can’t wait to get into it. So many fascinating stories with Mr. Bouche. Imagined having a winery with your style and the way that you’re so personable that you hear some interesting stories from your patrons had something to do.
I mean, the winery there is because we make fortified wines and expands. Not that long ago, that was beautiful fast. I had a group of Indians from India and they were all scoters. Only one of them did not speak English at all. And as we were talking about various types of fortified wines, I was using the term Madeira, which is also Portuguese. That person wouldn’t even speak English. I actually picked up on that word and get some saying it over and over again. So I asked the other guests. How come that person doesn’t speak English? Clearly knows that word. Well, this was because Madeira is the word in overdo. That means alcohol.
And that opens a completely incredible page of each story. In fact, the Portuguese have been bringing Madeira to exchange for spices.
And so it ended up being that they adopted that word Madeira to mean alcohol because, again, it’s not for this alcohol. So I understand that you do not have a vineyard on sites. You do not grow your own grapes. But this isn’t something that is new to you. This goes back a long way. The winery I grew up in, our vineyards were not on site. They were in the fall of the region, which we get them until the late 70s, early in the family. But the winery was the main building where I grew up was no more. So I don’t want to deal with going great. It’s a whole other job. So we are in the middle of it. They got along the water and it’s an open winery, one of the very first one in New York. So it was very challenging as far as laws and everything to make that happen. Well, I should mention something else, actually. We pre-buy our grapes by the ton without knowing what the harvest is, somebody quality. So in a sense, it’s as if we were growing old grape. But the final product is whatever nature is going to bring us. We’re going to deal with it. And it is truly a very different thing to own, to make the wine. Then two on top of it has to deal with a farm.
Let me see if I can get the timeline correct, you arrived in Ithaca, New York in about 1994. The thought of the winery, things started marinating, and then in 2003, there were some new laws are going to be put into effect that would affect your plans built on the land. You put the buildings up, the lights on, and you got to the equipment and everything was finished in 2006. And then four years later, you opened in 2010 and you started making the ports because that takes what you were telling me, a four-year minimum. So from 1990 forward to 2010, almost 16 years, you poured your money into this, so. Yeah. You’ve got to have some money if you want to start a wine business.
I always say to everybody, I go, you have a lot of money. Keep your job. And that’s exactly what we did. We stayed really tight to focus and invested in the know at all in this whole thing and very carefully.
I mentioned this before, but it still amazes me because I just love people that are so well-rounded and accomplished. But if you go to the Web site, it’s ports of New York dot com and you’ll see that the buildings there are Bouché has built are very authentic. And you couldn’t tell that it was freshly built.
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I love building things the way we like to have them. No, we are not afraid to do it and take it down and redo it if it needed before you like it better another way.
So we take our time and do it in a way because of the types of customers. I mean, you have I mean, there are several, but they are the basic line out there one to one problem, just what they think and the one who wants to have the floor expand. And it’s very hard to accommodate both at the same time for most of the time, people who come just for pacing and are benefiting from the full extent.
Yes. Benefiting from the whole experience is the goal. Do you have a favorite scene since you’re running everything from greeting the customer at the front door to taking the grapes and doing the paperwork work in just a building, the building? Do you have a favorite to project that you like?
Well, I think I tried to. I mean, again, my wife and I tried to enjoy every step as much as possible because sometimes it’s actual work beyond what I would like to handle.
But just like anything we do, I like to handle the cast. I like to handle the grapes themselves. Like to work on the label, you know, line up everything. And, you know, after so many years, I mean, even now white, which is your age, is to take a minimum of one-year neutral guest. It’s wonderful to put it on the shelf next to you.
Are you deciding to label it? Yeah. Yeah, I’ll take that on their label.
Yeah. So you’ve you know, obviously you’ve got your art background, but, you know, that’s difficult sometimes when you try to mix that with computers.
So we are. Yeah, I’m looking at the shelf right now, actually. I should tell you, we are. We just bottle the champagne of the sparkling wine, which is going to be the new product that we will release it hopefully sometime this summer will make all the wine. And these other wines, our full private customers, we do very few of them are here every year and people we like to interact with.
So it’s not you know, we don’t say yes to anyone because it’s a long process. You know, you’re going to have to hang out with these people quite a bit. You want to make sure you’re on the same wavelength.
Ok. As we close out our conversation, I’m going to throw you a curveball. Do you have a wine picked out for your daughter’s wedding?
Oh, my, my, my, my. A good question. We have a long way to go, and I will have no problem doing that. That’s a really good question. Ok, let’s get your contact info out there. PortsofNew York.com and the phone number is 607-220-6317
Thank you for listening. I’m Forrest Kelly. This episode of the Best Five Minute Wine podcast was produced by IHSYM. If you like the show tell your friends and pets and subscribe until next time, pour the wine, and ponder your next adventure.