Published by brian on Thu, 2011-05-19 20:16
This week has been one of planning and anticipation.
I think that an important secret to running a winery is always looking out 3-6 months ahead and really psychologically existing about six months in the future is what is required. We not only need to anticipate and to plan for, we also need to be immersed in our future.
Let me give you a few examples.
Our vineyard is under snow. Yet this week we ordered our vines to replace loss and to infill. Seven hundred fifty of those little green puppies. They arrive packed in shredded paper in large shipping boxes. We pre dig their holes and plant them in the dirt up to to about 5" below their graft union. Planting and working in the vineyard is about Sharon's and my favorite job. Did you know that all vines are grafted onto North American hybridized root stock? Otherwise the roots will be killed off by very small phyloxera bugs that exist in soils worldwide but came originally from North America whose rootstocks are immune to them. The rest of the world's are not. Our vines will be here in late April for planting, which means that it will be nice and warm for the vines in late April. Folks, that's about 50 days. You can come out and help us if you'd like.
We'll let you know...
And another thing. In two weeks the East Coast wine industry up and goes to Wineries Unlimited, what the lovely Sharon calls "Spring Break for wine makers". I just booked the rooms but have held off on the tickets. Money is so tight that we have t make sure we can pull this off. It is a great trade show and dinner with our peers each night is great fun. The classes are very interesting. I sure hope that we can make it this year. It is right there in front of us and yet everything else that follows has to be accounted for also.
For example, we met this week in the wine loft; Sharon & Kristin, Rick and I, and figured out our fruit needs for next Fall's harvest. Next Fall! That's seven months away. The amount of fruit is staggering. Tonnage: 156. Estimated cases: 9900. I am now scouring the state for sources. It is very exciting that we'll source much of it off of our own property. Our new fruit this year will include Petit Verdot, Merlot, and the lovely and delectable Petit Manseng. (What is PM you say? Well, we checked the crystal ball for 8 years from now and saw that Virginia Petit Manseng was the toast of the wine world. Mark your calendars!)
Benny and the guys did a great job last year and we are very excited about the stellar quality of the fruit we have here on the property. The crazy thing about selecting fruit is that the 2010 reds will not be released until Summer and Fall of 2012. Follow me here...we're making choices now for needs that won't be realized for almost another 30 months. We've been open now 21 months. You do the math. This is simply crazy. It is a leap of faith. We sold a bit over 5000 cases this year. We are betting that we'll need 9900 in less than 3 years.
But this really gets at something important about BOW. We work so hard to get everything right because we want to and also because we have to! Necessity is the mother of invention, right? We are about to commit to $220,000 worth of grapes which will cost another $300,000 to put in bottles, and will someday be worth $3.4M (if we don't screw em up or break em). That is our nest egg there. Literally. We'll have to beg, borrow, and steal to come up with that money all so that we can hopefully have something that you will enjoy and want to take home almost three years from now. That would keep me awake at nite if I weren't already used to it. But you know, it is part of the fun and extraordinarily complex challenge of building and operating a winery. It is a HUGE and rewarding challenge! And our job, our passion, is to make sure that you want to enjoy what we have created; what we have to offer. We have to drive to succeed, we have to assume that we are in the right path. But only time will tell, only your continued pleasure with our efforts will create our success.
We promise to keep doing our best. We hope that we see you here. And we will do everything that we can so that you and your guests will have a great time!