Blending signature wines...and the P7700

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Ben Herrmann
Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 18,832
Blending signature wines...and the P7700

Hello all:

Hope things are going well for all of you wherever you are.

One of the fastest growing segments of production in specific states is the domestic wine industry.  In North Carolina, the state where I live, we now have over 130 wineries, with an average of 5 new ones coming on line every three months.  Of particular note are the wineries in the Yadkin Valley region (Piedmont area) where close to 50 wineries/vineyards can be found.  We're talkin' world class wines.

Although my wife and I are not drinkers, we do enjoy a nice glass of wine with each meal, and when we were informed that one particular small winery - Round Peak Vineyards in Mt. Airy, NC - was holding a "Blend your own Signature Wine" event, we knew that we had to sign up.  So for $300 USD a couple, the winery would teach you how to blend various wines to come up with your own signature wine.  You would then get involved with the blending, bottling, corking, labeling, etc.  After it was all done, you got to take a full case (12 bottles) of your signature wine collection with you.

We spent this past week in this particular region and I took along two cameras - the P7700 and the Fuji X10 (which I will be on).  The weather both Friday and Saturday was horrible - heavy rains mixed with snow, poor visibility, and temps in the 30's (F) - not exactly the perfect picture-taking weather.

The P7700 did a superb job, and I was astounded at how poorly the Fuji X10 did in comparison.  When you shoot both cameras side by side, you see the superiority of the Nikon sensor, and although both cams have 12 MP's, the images captured by the Fuji resembled more like 8 - 10 MP models (and I always liked the X10).  But enough of that.

Weather conditions - temps in the 30's (F), rainy/overcast.  All P7700 images shot in RAW, AWB, Aperture Priority Mode (from f3.5 to f5.6).  ISO's ranged from 100-1600 depending on environment.  Flash images were captured using the older SB-700 in bounce mode with the Stofen Omnibounce cap attached.  Images were converted with Lightroom 4.4 RC1, digital frames were added in batch mode using IDFramer software, and all were then converted to JPG (web usage) using Irfanview.

This first winery is Sanders Ridge Winery located on Boonville, NC - and we're talkin' in the boondocks.  Their wines are superb, especially their reds (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Savignon, and Chambourcins).  The wine tasting area and their superb 4 star Bistro is located in a hand-built post and beam construction building (the owners built this by hand and it took 1.5 years).  Once you've been here, you keep coming back for more.....  Just for your info, their website is:

ISO 400 - Image taken by standing in the covered Gazego area (overlooking the pond) and looking upwards at an angle.

ISO 400 - a different angle.

ISO 1600 - converted with Lightroom and removed the little noise I found by adjusting the Luminance NR slider.

The next winery (the following day) was the Round Peak Vineyards located in Mt. Airy, NC.  For those of you not familiar with Mt. Airy (the town), it is where the actor Andy Griffith was born and his Andy Griffith TV series (Mayberry) was based on Mt. Airy.  This winery is on the outskirts of Mt. Airy and it is here where we went through the Wine blending class.  The Round Peak Winery website is:

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 200

Taken at ISO 800 - the wine tasting area at Round Peak Vineyards.

Taken at ISO 800 - this winery had several exceptionally friendly and playful dogs that greeted all those who were arriving.  They were so lovable that even if you weren't a dog person, you felt inclined to want to adopt one.  This particular female dog just wanted to be around you all of the time.

My wife learning to blend various wines based on preferences after tasting a dozen different categories of wines.  Image taken at ISO 400 with the SB-700 in bounce mode.

After the classroom session, you then went into the barrel storage area and removed the wines for precise blending before heading to the bottling area, etc.  ISO 400 with the SB-700 in bounce mode.

After purging the empty bottles with Nitrogen, the bottling process begins.  ISO 400 with the SB-700 in bounce mode.

Now on to labeling your special blend - that's the owner of the winery on the left and my son on the right.  This whole process was a great learning experience.

And finally, putting the signature blend name on special labels and then the case goes home with you!  Can't wait to try these - but they have to sit in the bottle for a good month or so before opening.

So there it is gang - nothing particular mind-boggling - but I must say I was impressed with how the P7700 handled.  Yes, there were high levels of purple fringing in certain high contrasy scenes, but I easily removed the PF in Lightroom.  Love the color tonality of the P7700....I think I'll keep it  

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA

 Ben Herrmann's gear list:Ben Herrmann's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Canon PowerShot G12 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Nikon Coolpix P330 Fujifilm X20 +45 more
Fujifilm X10 Nikon Coolpix P7700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5
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