Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crazy and Local

It's been a little nuts around here.  The balance from harvest time--where we were both vineyard and winery--shifted a few weeks ago.  Since then, we have been winery and sales outlets, a balance that we have a hard time finding.  It's the reason for my lack of posts this month.

I'm not complaining.  In this economic climate, I am very encouraged by our sales.  There's a sentiment in our industry that people like to drink wine in good times, and in bad times they need to drink wine.  Of course, we all know that people are watching their budgets more and more these days.  What our industry is seeing is that people are spending more on wine than they did this time last year.  Instead of buying the $20 bottle of wine, they are buying two $13 dollar bottles. 

Luckily for us, we havea lot of wines that fit that niche.  Although, the reality of it is that most folks who tend to support local wineries do it for the right reasons, with price being a lesser determining factor.  A lot of it comes down to supporting local, family-owned businesses.  (By purchasing local Pennsylvania--and Maryland--wines, you're not sending your dollars to California by way of some New York-based middle-man distributor.) 

There's also the sense of pride that comes with encouraging regionality in your life.  We all have chosen to live in this part of the world for a myriad of different reasons.  It's nice to know that there is something special about our place and time.  Makes us feel good about things. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow? and Pruning.....

By the time you read this, there's probably already been some white stuff on the ground.  That is, as long as the weather forecasters get it right.  (Don't get me started there.  As someone who obsesses about the weather for a good part of the year, I have noticed some painful inaccuracies lately.  I've got to think that recent climate change is affecting the computer models that are based on decades of older weather data......)

The vines have probably already shut down for the winter.  That's the viticultural version of hibernation.  Basically, we can't go out and start pruning them back into shape for next year until all the sap--for lack of a better word--has been pulled back down out of the canopy and into the roots.  I know of at least a couple vineyards who have taken advantage of this warmer December weather to get out and get a jump on 2010.  We're not one of them.

For the first time, we waited until after harvest to pull some of our reds from barrels.  The 2008s were great wines, and could handle the extra month or two in wood.  It's crazy to be doing red blends when it's cold out, but that's the fact this year.  And I think the wines are better for it.  Luckily, we have the space now--with ou new addition--to be able to do this.

The last tank of Vidal is almost finished fermenting.  Racking that would officially close the formal 2009 Harvest, although we have been in non-harvest mode for a week.  Although, if you ask Ray, he still feels the pressure of being behind.  In my mind, that's just normal for a winery.  But he decided he was going to move into his new house during harvest.  Anyone who knew me back in 2002 knows what a zombie I was when I did that to myself. 

I'll post in a while on the 2009s.  Suffice it to say right now that they are a whole lot better than I could have imagined them being.  They'll be really nice wines.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wine Just off the Vine

The weekend before Thanksgiving, most of the UnCork York wineries hosted the first "Wine Just off the Vine" event.  This was loosely based on the Beaujolais tradition of Nouveau, basically giving everyone a sneak peek at the next year's wines. 

I am worried about this event, because in the first and only weekend, we received over 800 visitors.  On Saturday alone, 501--or more...we missed a few we think---came by Allegro.  This is downright crazy.  Now, I don't mind that many visitors coming, believe me.  But I want to make sure that everyone who comes gets the same great experience.  And if I have to talk to more than 500 people again, it may kill me.  (Those of you who came on Saturday can attest to the fact that I was telling some people to "drink your turkey and eat the Nouveau.....")

But, on the other hand, this is a great problem to have.  Can you believe that so many came out to a local winery for one weekend?  It's crazy.  I f John and Tim were still with us, I'm not sure what they would be thinking. 

Well, for one thing, the old winery in its past state wouldn't have been capable of holding that many people.  The new addition--for warehousing space-freed up all sorts of possibilities for us.  We managed to find a great way for people tof low through one end of the winery and exit the other end, eliminating most bottlenecks (except the good kind.)  We expanded the parking lot in light of all of this,and this seems to have made a difference as well.

But what about the wines?  We tasted out our 2009 red and white Nouveau.  The red with turkey and cranberry, the white with stuffing balls.  It was a lot of fun--as Nouveau should be--and we sold about 3/4 of the white production and almost half the red.  Crazy.  For a while there I was wondering if I was going to have any left for our family's Thanksgiving.....

Anyway, it was crazy, but it's over.  Thanks to all who came out and to all who helped put this on.