So the craziness that is Tour de Tanks has taken off. We had a bit slower weekend as our opener, not surprising considering the bad weather on Saturday and the terrible weather on Sunday. Only 320 people came through for the whole weekend, down from around 750 in 2010.
This is not a complaint. Far from it. We have been working since the holidays to renovate our tasting room into a bigger space. Last fall we experienced four separate days when we didn't have enough space our tasting bar to accommodate all of the people wanting to taste wine. (Apologies if you were one of the ones who had to wait.) So, we decided to rip out a wall and open the space up a bit more. My father-in-law Doug did the lion's share of the work, including most of the demo and the studding out of the walls. With new paint on the walls and ceiling, it almost looks as if we have a new place.
The piece de resistance is our new bottle storage system on the new wall we created. It's something I saw originally at Deloach winery (a well-known Pinot producer in Sonoma.) The bottles are stored horizontally on metal "fingers" that stick out from the wall. It creates a large wall of wine that really shows off the great labels Kris created. We punch it up a bit by highlighting the bottles with some spotlights. All in all, I think it looks pretty sharp.
How does this tie in with Tour de Tanks you might ask? Well, we suffered from lower attendance (but still the third highest of all the wineries) and yet our sales compared to last year were the same. That's just crazy.
I'm not sure what the reason for this is, but I would like to think it's my great presentation about Merlot and how much better a grape than Chambourcin it is. But I'm pretty sure that's not the reason.
It's probably my staff. I added extra people on to help this year, and so all the visitors coming through get extra-special attention. My folks are great, and I can't believe how lucky we are to have them.
And yet, the look of the new space could be making people like our wines a little better. As a winemaker, I'd like to think this wouldn't be the case. ("Since when should surroundings affect the taste of what's in the bottle!") But humans are strange, complex, and predictably irrational beings.
Next step is to finish tiling the floor. We'll see if that helps, too.