Monday, October 3, 2011

Have you met Brian yet?
Brian is the newest member of the Sollo family to join the winery, and he is already proving himself a valuable addition to the team.
He came back to join us in late July, just in time for harvest. I'm not sure it was the best timing from his perspective, but it certainly was from ours! However, we were so busy trying to get everything done that we didn't make any big announcements- we just put him to work.
I hadn't realized how remiss we had been until the fall release party last Friday, when multiple people asked who he was, and said they didn't realize we had a second son. Sorry, Brian!
Anyway, he is here and you will probably be seeing him around. His official title is business manager, which so far means that he gets to take over a lot of the bookkeeping from Natalie. We are also looking forward to him working on a lot of our business processes, to try to streamline things and make them work better. He had already shown that he has lots of good ideas about how to make things work better in the tasting room. And we hope he puts his econ degree to good use in some long range planning for us.
Harvest was pretty crazy this year, and we are glad to have it behind us. The extreme drought and record setting heat was challenging. We irrigated constantly (still are, since the heat has let up but the rains haven't come). The hard winter had already cut back the fruit quantity by destroying the primary buds on several of our varieties. Then the heat stress forced us to harvest sooner than we wanted to, in order to protect the plants for future years. The bird pressure this year was incredible, as there was so little other food out there, so those growers that didn't net lost almost all their crops. Ours were netted, and we had the propane cannon going, but we still lost a lot. And the grapes we hoped to get from other Kansas growers just weren't there like we had planned on.
The good news is that although the harvest was light in quantity, it was excellent in quality. Dave is very excited by the way the wines taste even at this very young stage. And the wines we have for sale get better every year, so we remain optimistic that we will continue to be able to provide excellent wines from Kansas!