Winemaker's Notes


Dear Frogtown Citizen:

Vineyard Update.

Winter of 2009-2010 has been the coldest winter resulting in the most delayed bud break in the eleven years we have grow grapes on the Dahlonega Plateau. As I indicated in my February 2010 Notes this can be “good” or “bad” depending how the cold has affected the vines.

I am relieved to report I see only the good results so far this spring of this very cold winter. In fact the condition of the vines this spring reminds me of the early years in establishing the vineyard. Perhaps the cold took its toll on the lingering fungal diseases and bad insects over-wintering in the vineyard. The vines appear “relieved” from such diseases and insects allowing their full expression of renewal this spring!

As I write these Notes the vine are completing their flower/fruit set development stage with good results. We have experienced very manageable amounts of rain and substantial amounts of sun with below normal temperatures. All good signs.

Helen Tasting Room.

For those of you who have recently seen our tasting room site in Helen you should have noticed our progress. We have cleared trees from this very steep inclined property and commenced constructing our tasting room.

We are using all trees cleared from the site either in the form of posts and beams to be incorporated in the Helen Tasting Room or processed into fire wood which we use extensively to combat Spring frosts. A lot of cut timber has been placed on the vineyard property waiting for processing at a later date.

My plans were to plant the native American Norton vines at the Helen vineyard. Norton vines are much easier to grow and maintain than vinifera (the premium grape vine variety grown principally at the Dahlonega vineyard). What benefits Norton delivers in the vineyard is “taken back” in the winery, as Norton wines are more difficult to make into premium Frogtown wines.

After the Helen property was cleared, it was too hard to resist growing vinifera vines on two premium grape growing areas. With the prospects of planting vinifera in Helen, I decided to continue the development of interesting and different wines to be offered to our Citizens on an almost exclusive basis. This trend of offering new and different wines to wine club members and in tasting rooms has been led by vintners in the Paso Robles and Santa Barbara areas in California

Frogtown was at the head of this trend in past years when we planted the little known and cultivated Petit Manseng (white wine grape grown in the same region of France that grows Tannat), Picpoul (high acid white wine grape grown in the Rhone Valley region of France), Muscato (Italian white wine grape usually made in a dessert or sparkling wine style), and Petit Verdot (a French Bordeaux grape which is rapidly decreasing in importance in this region of France)

I have chosen the Italian varieties Teroldego, Greco di Tufo, and Vernaccia for planting in Helen. We also decided to plant in a portion of the remaining available area at the Dahlonega vineyard a very small trial of the noble Italian red grape Nebbiolo. Oh yes, this means Frogtown is now growing 25 different wine grape varieties.

Teroldego is a very deep colored red wine grape grown in the Italian region known for growing Pinot Gris. Teroldego wines somewhat resemble Zinfandel wines with less spice.
Creco di Tufo and Vernaccia are Italian white wine grapes that make rather full-bodied wines. I am excited to plant additional white wine grapes that can be made into full round white wines.
Nebbiolo is the red wine grape grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. I have only planted a small amount of Nebbiolo due to its wide-spread reputation of being very difficult to grow in other regions of Italy, let alone in “new-world” wine growing regions.

I will keep y’all posted on our experience with these grapes. We are probably four years away from selling any wines made from these grapes.

Gold in San Diego and Finger Lakes Wine Competitions.

Frogtown enjoyed wonderful results from its first two wine competitions of 2010.

We submitted nine wines to the Finger Lakes Competition (a major competition with over seventy percent of the competition wines coming from California). We received medals for ALL wines submitted; a nine for nine batting average (one Gold, four Silver, and four Bonze medals). THE MOST NOTABLE AWARDED WINE WAS OUR 2008 VINEAUX BLANC WHICH RECEIVED A GOLD MEDAL AT FINGER LAKES.

We entered this year’s San Diego International Wine Competition for the first time. We are most pleased to announce that our Shotgun, First Reload, received a GOLD Medal and our 2006 Tannat received a SILVER Medal at this competition!!!

Receiving a gold medal at a California competition for an East Coast red wine is most gratifying and speaks volumes for the ability to ripen red wine grapes at our Dahlonega vineyard. We are including in this shipment to red only and red and white Citizens a bottle of the award-winning Shotgun.
On-line access for our Citizens.

We are aware that some Citizens have had difficulty establishing and logging on to the Frogtown web site.

Here’s how to use our website

You can use our website to update your Citizens information, to order wine or to view our Calendar of Events.

To log in to your account, visit “Shop” on the home page at the end of the red banner. There is a box on the lower right hand side that says: “WINE CLUB LOGIN”. Go down to where it says Secure Login and click there.

Now you will need to login.

Log in using your Citizens number. If you don’t know your Citizens number you can use the box entitled HELP on the left to recover your information or you can email Cydney at and she will send it to you.

The password is frogtown.

You will then be logged in to the secure wine shop where you can modify your profile, view your previous orders and order wine OF COURSE!!!

To check on upcoming events click on “Calendar” in the red banner. You can view all upcoming events. Note that when Outdoor Tasting Room Open is posted, that means the main Winery is closed for a private event, but the outdoor patio tasting room is open. If you are picking up a wine club shipment on one of those days, just come to the side door to the right of the building and we will help you.

As Citizens, please make sure to check our calendar, from time to time, for events specifically intended for Citizens. Bastille Day is coming up in July (we celebrate Bastille Day (July 14th) on a day closest to the actual date. This year we will celebrate you, our Citizens, on Sunday, July 11th with a Brunch followed by barrel tastings for those Citizen’s attending Brunch.

On September 11th we are offering a very special event to our Citizens. For those Citizens attending the Harvest Dinner on Saturday, 9/11, we are offering Experience Harvest with Craig.

Over the years many of you have inquired about observing a harvest at Frogtown. This is now your opportunity to pick grapes and see the harvested grapes being processed.

If sufficient tonnage is harvested, I also plan on offering this wine made from these grapes exclusively to our Citizens on a “future offer basis” which shall also be specially labeled commemorating the inaugural “Experience Harvest with Craig Event.” I will sign all bottles.

Please give us your commitment to attend this harvest event as early as possible. Depending upon your response, we may need to limit the number of Citizens attending. This is a Citizens only event, so please understand we cannot accept non-Citizens at the Harvest, but the Harvest Dinner will be open to non-Citizens, again depending upon your response to this event.

It is most important to Cydney and me that no Citizen is hurt during this event. Harvesting grapes is not without risk. Walking over uneven ground, cuts, insect stings and bites are a few ways a person harvesting grapes can get hurt. We will make special accommodations for those of you who do not want to experience harvest to its fullest extent but still desire to observe the harvesting of grapes and wine making.

Copies of all Notes from the Winemaker.

Sometimes Citizens pick-up their Wine Club shipments without receiving a copy of my current Notes from the Winemaker. Like all authors, I think a lot about what I write and do not want any Citizen (heaven forbid) missing the opportunity of reading my Notes. Soon you will be able to access present and past Notes from the Winemaker by clicking on a separate button on our web site!

For those Citizens who are receiving all red wines or white and red wines, the following two wines (rather than three wine) are included in your shipment (unless you e-mailed Cydney otherwise):

2006 FROGTOWN FAMILY RESERVE MERLOT. Wow, only the SECOND FAMILY RESERVE from the first six Frogtown vintages! This is a BIG Merlot with loads of black (blackberry, blueberry, and cassis) fruit, uniquely found in Frogtown Merlot, coupled with hints of chocolate and tobacco. This Merlot is a wonderful example of our wine-making style of mouth feel with supple, yet firm, complex tannin structure. While very drinkable now, this wine will improve in the bottle over the next year and deliver fresh Frogtown Merlot flavors and mouth feel for many years thereafter – $48.99 bottle.

FROGTOWN SHOTGUN, FIRST RELOAD. A two-vintage blend of 2005 and 2006Tannat (40%), 2006 Cabernet Franc (20%), and 2006 Touriga National (40%), Shotgun is a BIG, bold, yet supple, red wine. Bright fruity flavors develop on the pallet to an intense, chewy ripe finish, making this wine both age-worthy and enjoyable now. GOLD MEDAL WINNER AT THE SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION – $24.95 per bottle.

For those Citizens who are receiving all white wines, we are including in this shipment the following wines:

2008 FROGTOWN VINEAUX BLANC – $14.99 per bottle. Seyval Blanc and Viognier are fermented in Steel and Oak barrels. This bright crisp white wine is a refreshing combination of pineapple, citrus with a touch of toast. A small portion of the wine is put through malolatic fermentation. As state above, winner of a GOLD medal at this year’s Finger Lakes Wine Competition!

2006 FROGTOWN INCLINATION – $18.99 per bottle. Chardonnay, Viognier, and Vidal are fermented in French oak barrels to deliver ripe flavors of citrus, apple and toast. This very distinctive full-bodied white wine blend is only made by Frogtown and enjoys the recognition as one our most awarded and best-selling white wines.

2008 FROGTOWN VIOGNIER – $24.99 per bottle. Our 100% Viognier is a rich, luxurious white wine. Frogtown takes much care and pride in growing classic Viognier grapes which impart flavors of flowers, honey, peach, melon, and kiwi fruit integrated in a well-balanced full-bodied white wine that is wonderful with fresh fruits, cheese, and spicy foods. A perfect wine to pair with sushi.

Best to all,


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