Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Talk about a week of ups and downs...

First the good news! We had a great time at our open house on Saturday. The crowd was big enough that we felt like we were really open, but small enough that we weren't intimidated trying to remember how to use the cash register. We actually sold our first bottles of wine that day, so after 5 years of planning and work, we now have revenue. (Not profit, of course, but revenue never the less.) It was extremely exciting. We are now officially open by appointment, and would love to have people call us and come in for a tasting. We won't have regular hours until the fall, when we have red wines available too.

The other big pleasure is seeing the grapes grow. The vineyard looks absolutely beautiful this week. The grapes look like the real thing, though hard and unripe. They still have a ways to go.

Which leads to the bad news.

We were out in the vineyard last evening, as we are most evenings, and found we have fungus in some of the grapes. This has been such a wet year that we are even more vulnerable than usual. We have tried to be proactive with our spray regimen and our vineyard management, but problems have crept up anyway. We try to be minimalist with our spray regimen, but haven't found any way to completely avoid spraying for fungus. It's very discouraging when we have worked so hard to keep the grapes doing well. However, we think we caught it quickly enough that we won't lose too many grapes. We try to be philosophical and take the approach of our friend and farmer Willard, who tells us when we complain about the weather not cooperating, "That's farming."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Open house at the winery! This Saturday, June 21, 2008, we will be open from 1-5 pm for anyone who wants to stop by for a tasting. We are so excited to finally have wine, bottled and labeled, ready for sale. We probably shouldn't do this until our wine has had a little time to stabilize in the bottle, but we are too excited to wait. Besides, this way we can have a chance to try things out with a very small crowd. So if you read this blog, you're invited. And if you mention this blog, Dave is offering a discount on purchases. We have a dry white, a semi-dry rose, and a sweet Seyval now for sale. (If you are looking for red wines, you will have to wait for fall. They are still aging in the barrels.)
It has been busy and fun around here lately. We got the labels in (finally!) on Friday night, and immediately got to work on labeling the White Barrel Reserve, our dry white wine. Then Saturday we finished labeling it, and then bottled the Rose and Seyval wines. Today we labeled those wines, and now we are ready for business.
The work on the building is done for the moment, and we are ready to go. (We hope!) The drainage work on the area around the building is done; it has been tested thoroughly and worked well with all the rain we have had lately. We have been fortunate not to have had severe weather or flooding, but our parking lot is still a little soggy.
So come by Saturday. We are going to have a good time!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bloom has about finished in the vineyard and baby grapes are now appearing on the vines. The wind is doing its best to destroy our trellis structure, but the vines are holding on fairly well. We are lucky in that we have not had the hail (or tornados) that have been all around us for the past week, but we are craving some peaceful weather. The sun, rain and warm temperatures have made the vines grow like crazy, and the weeds too. There is always more to do in the vineyard.
We are wondering if our labels will ever arrive. They were supposed to be here weeks ago, but problems keep cropping up. All we can do is hope that they will be worth the wait. If they ever come, we will actually be able to sell some wine, which is a very exciting prospect after all these years of planning and work. We should finish bottling the white and rose wines this weekend, and with any luck will have them labeled as well.
We have been doing some construction on the winery building, to get the tasting room ready for business. As with all construction, it seems to take forever. Although we are almost done, there are still several loose ends that need to be tied up. For example, we have a lovely new ramp but the access to it is a mess. We are having an open house this week for the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce. I hope they are forgiving of the poor access, and I hope it doesn't rain, because we had another big tree blow over, this one into our fledgling parking lot.
Yet with all the setbacks and frustrations, we have wine that we are really proud of. We can see the next step in the whole project, opening up the winery, just around the corner. It is very exciting!