|Tuesday March 25, 2008
On April 1st the bottle price for our 2007 Futures will go up by one dollar so if you need more this would be the best time to purchase.
It is that time of year again. How time passes! Tomorrow, March 26th, those of you who have purchased wine from us for the last three vintages will receive an email and then a card with an offer to purchase our pre-harvest 2008 wines. Our prices will remain the same as last year with most of the wines offered at $13 a bottle to our Vintage Circle customers. Those of you who have purchased one case of wine from us over all years will receive wine at $14 a bottle. We review all orders and will adjust the price accordingly. We also will be offering a new 2007 Ultimate Cuvee consisting of 5 Barrels (125 Cases), one barrel each of Block 4, Estate Cuvee, Terre Melange, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
As I have said in past diary entries we are going way down in production because we are replanting some sections and going back to all Estate. Yes I have decided to remove some marginal vines. In 1983 I planted some Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc vines down by our creek. A virus called Pierces disease wiped out half of those 2 acres of vines within two years. A lot of research over the years have given us information on methods to prevent the little sharpshooter from destroying our vines again. Because I had no money to remove these dead vines I left all the vines that survived and have been producing Late Harvest Sauv Blanc. The cabernet vines that survived were budded over to Peloursin. Actually in the last 20 years we have not lost any more vines. The vineyard down by Dry Creek has looked strange and shown the loss of vines in a checkerboard of misses and survived vines. All those vines now have been removed and in the next two weeks we are replacing the Sauv Blanc vines with new ones and the Peloursin vines are being replaced with Grenache to be used in our Terre Melange.
Up front in our vineyard we have another problem. We have Syrah vines that are dying from a mystery disease called Syrah Decline. At this time no one has identified why this decline is destroying some Syrah vines. In the last few years we have been having trouble getting the grapes on these vines ripe and when they do get up to sugar the acid has fallen way off. In this front section I have decided to plant Aglianico to be used in my Escuro. Because of the replanting in the next few years we will be losing about 5 tons or 400 cases. Since we will not be purchasing grapes this year our production will be around 3500 cases.
Last week I did an inventory of bottled wine left to sell. We have about 1000 cases left for the 2005 vintage and 3000 cases left for the 2006 vintage. The 2006 wines are very concentrated and will last much longer than the 2005 or even the 2007 wines which will be bottled in July. We are selling a little over 5000 cases a year so it should be about three years until we get in line with our demand. By 2012 we should be back up to 5000 cases. If demand stays the same we will sell out every year. At 5000 cases sold we will be making a good profit.
Sunday March 30, 2008
We have started taking orders for our 2008 Futures and I am happy to report that our sales are keeping up with last year at this time. This offer will be good until May 31 so we will see how sales go for the rest of this period. We finished racking all the 2007 wines and they are already tasting great. Come by and taste!
I see green!! Yes I took a walk in the vineyard this morning and similar to last year all varietals are budding out at the same time. Usually the Carignan comes out first followed by the Zin and then the Petite Sirah and Cabernet, but again this year is different. Bud break is a little behind normal but with good weather we will be gaining several inches a week. I have to get ready to sulfur!
Monday April 7, 2008
Last week we had several days where we saw the low temperatures reach into the low 30's. One day we had a reading of 29 degrees, That was enough to kill 4 of my tomato plants and wipe out the green on several of my new Pinot plants. The Pinot will come back. All our other vines showed no damage. Since our high temperatures have been low also, I have seen very little shoot growth for the last week. At this time I would say we are behind normal by 10 days. A little heat will catch us up.
Our 2008 pre-harvest future sales have continued to outpace last year by a small amount. That is encouraging since our bottle sales have been down over 10% for the last several months.
Wednesday April 16, 2008
The weather has finally warmed up again. There has been little growth for the past two weeks. I will be sulfuring in the next day or two. What I can see shows a potential good crop. Right now we are only planning to produce about 3500 cases so a big crop could add to the total.
At this time our 2008 Pre Harvest Futures sales are up about 15% from last year. Also our traffic to the winery has increased so we are doing fine. That is good because now it seems we are going to have to work on the winery roof, redo all our main house roof and paint it also. With all the structures we have around here I can always plan on spending about $4000 a month on repairs and/or equipment.
The stock market has been acting pretty well lately. I have been thinking about investing a little at lower prices so I guess that is why it is not going down.
In the last two days I have been thinking about compensating customers who can't attend our events during the year. More than half our customers are out of State and most of the rest our several hundred miles away. We are also thinking of offering special discounts at these events so I am thinking of ways to reward out of the area customers. I will have more on this in the next few days.
Thursday April 17, 2008
I did go out this morning to sulfur. It was a really calm and beautiful morning.
As you know I am always reluctant to talk about politics but since this is MY DIARY I have to be honest and outspoken at times. I like Barack!!! Hillary and the Republicans are trying everything to bring him down and sure it makes me think about how young he is and what little experience he has, but of our top 6 rated Presidents, Lincoln both Roosevelts and Woodrow Wilson had less experience. I heard the debate last night. One of the things I like about him is that he has had many chances to go negative and he refuses to. I have not seen or heard him intentionally try to hurt anyone. Sure his enemies bring up things he has said or others around him have uttered but for me none of these attacks have been important. I had the chance to meet him in Marin County on April 6th. Yes I was one of 300 who showed up to hear him speak. He was there for 2 hours: 45 minutes speaking, 40 minutes answering questions and 35 minutes shaking hands. Not one second did I see him inattentive. He looked like he was really enjoying himself. The next place he attended was in San Francisco where he was recorded and said what some think was not appropriate. I know there will be more attacks. It's politics as usual. I hope Barrack stays above it.
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