|Monday July 11, 2005|
A few up dates:
The Plaza Farms sales have been disappointing. We are barely covering the rent in the middle of summer. I feel this is a marketing adventure for me. I have never believed in marketing, but maybe there is something to it. I had someone come in the other day and say he had seen my name mentioned three times in the last few weeks. I hate marketing! I do not want to fool people. BUT I do want to make more wine and this adventure may help.
We start bottling tomorrow again. The wines still to be bottled are the two zins, the barbera, the petite sirah and the cab. Those will probably be my favorite ones. I am now tasting the 2004 Escuro and enjoying it immensely. But Pat thinks it is too strong. We discussed it and we came to the assumption that she was turned off by the strong finish. I love the complexity. Not everyone will like this wine!!
I have reconsidered our problem we encountered last week. I know I said the first two days of 1100 cases had to be resealed. I am not sure of that yet. Friday we will evaluate our possibilities. Tonight, I opened four wines from the first two days and all opened fine. The Block 4 could be the only wine we need to reseal. It was the first wine sealed with the Alcan closure and we have noticed the tin is thicker than the closures supplied by Scott labs. Maybe the screwcap machine was set better to accommodate the Scott vs the Alcan closure. This keeps me alive! I love adversity.
Thursday July 14, 2005
No body understands how stressful what I do involves. Haven't most of you reading this diary feel the same way. Most of us get involved in what we are doing and forget we should try to make everyone happy when we are doing what we enjoy. I love what I do. But to achieve what I do I have to be hard on the people I deal with, especially my employees. I try to treat them as friends. Maybe that is a mistake. But I do not think so. I pay well, but I require long days at bottling. I will never understand how to help make everyone happy. I am striving for a perfect day. I have to express myself and that is not how you achieve a perfect day.
Today did not start off well. I guess you could say it did since everyone showed up before 7:00 am. I say everyone lightly. My employees showed up. Today we bottled about 600 cases for friends who are getting involved in producing their own labels. We started Brendan's blend for his restaurant and it went well. Then we tried to label a back and front label for a friend. Let's call him B. B showed up and saw we were still involved with Brendan's run. Another B, BP decided to run off for breakfast and showed up after his run was well on way, but BP made up for it by helping.. M, my best friend had called earlier, But my phone was not working (Long involved computer problem I do not have time for). He showed up about 11:00 am. M had wine to bottle under his new label and I had to get it done. He and his friends were a big help.
Today was another day of problems with our new Gai monoblock and labeler. Everything that could go wrong did. I will have to go into more detail next time.
Times like this are also stressful on my Family. I apologize.
I love what I am doing. I know I demand a lot. I want to get better. I also want to make better wines for me, personally. That involves new experiments (Like no oak in some wines and hot fermentations on white wines). I will still make wines that most of you love.
I have to get back to the new bottling line. I won't mention their names again. The labeler supplied does not have instructions in English. I told them that I thought that should not be allowed. I was told by the owner; In August I would have a book in English, the factory rep would be out and everything would be fine. I said all our bottling is over and he asked me to save 200 cases to try out again. It is 11:45 Pm. I guess I should go to bed. I only need 6 hours a night, but I need to get up at 6:00 Am. Not much went right today!!!!!! But Steve and I know how to work the screwcap machine. With little help from the provider of our equipment, Steve, with very little guidance from me, has single handily figured out how to operate this machinery. He knows more than the techs. Tomorrow we have figured out how to reseal all the cases we bottled in the first two days, over 1,000 cases, in one day. Steve is very patient, much more than me, but even he has been a little stressed out. Maybe tomorrow will be the perfect day. Steve will come in happy. Our resealing goes well (200 cases an hour) and most important: I will make everyone happy. If I fail in the last one, it will not be a perfect day. But if I get 1,000 cases resealed tomorrow, not all is lost. 12::30 AM
Friday July 15, 2005
Today everything that could go right did go right. It was one of those almost perfect days. We finished resealing 1100 cases of wine in 7 hours which included breaks and lunch amounting to well over an hour. So the whole thing actually took less than 6 hours. I did the planning and Yes I paid for it!! I got 4.5 hours sleep and I feel a little tired. My daughter Kate could say that she has done all nighters at Cal Poly in Architectural Engineering. I know I need about 6 hours and I am just right then.
We sped the screwcap machine up to 50 bottles per minute. The screwcap head had no problem keeping up that pace. Catarino Brendan and I had a lot of trouble putting the bottles in the case and sealing the top and stacking it on a pallet. That is over 4 cases a minute. Matt came in about 10:45 Am and took over filling the boxes with the newly resealed bottles. He could easily fill the boxes at 4.2 cases per minute.
I am not saying Steve and I understand the screwcap machine entirely, but we do understand it better than anyone we have met.
Tomorrow is a transition day. I have to pay bills and greet our customers who want to be the first to pick-up their 2004 wines. Everyone is welcome.
I saw the first berries turning color three days ago. As some of you have noticed, our temperatures has been in the 90s and up as high as 105. With all the great green growth; that was created by all the cool temperatures through the end of May, I predict we will harvest in the first week in September.
Friday July 22, 2005
Some of you might have noticed by checking out our winery cam that we have removed everything from the winery. We are preparing to epoxy our whole floor. The only wine we still have to bottle is the 2004 ZP2C which will occur in the week starting August 15th. All the barrels of ZP2C and all the empty barrels were removed to our wine storage buildings across from the winery. Even my audio Video equipment has been moved. The whole process should be completed by the first week in August. We will still be open for tasting across the way in the storage area. 2004 wines may be picked up there also.
Next week Pat, Susie and I will travel up to Oregon and Washington to check out some colleges for Susie. I will drive and be rewarded with a good meal each night. If anyone has recommendations for dinning let us know.
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