Monday, December 29, 2008

2006 Proprietor's Reserve Zinfandel-91 pts WS

What more can be said but JOB WELL DONE to Kerry and Dan. Wine Spectator scored our 06 PR Zin- 91. Let me reiterate that we don't normally submit for scores but when Wine Spectator requests specific wines-you honor that request period. We're quite pleased about this score and I'm proud of the winemakers. Only one thing to say-sorry but we just sold out last week. As Kerry and I have said, the wines keep getting better so enjoy the 2007.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blending with Kerry

To know Kerry and me is to understand that we have lives that are run by our calendars. I look forward to the appointments where I have the opportunity to blend with Kerry. What can I say but it's one of the best parts of my year to spend time with the winemakers and work towards a finished product that our consumers will hopefully love. Kerry, Dan and I just finished our blend session for the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and 2006 Taylor Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Let me try and be neutral but the Taylor is really going to be good. Not to tough to say when I love the 2005 vintage. During the session, the winemakers try blends that can range from 22% to 25% and will vary the acid too. Yep-all were very different and I know no one in their right mind feels sorry that I have (get) to taste all 20ish blends. Finalized the blend at 75% Cabernet and 25% Syrah. The 2006 Taylor is small production for us but it's really good. Love seeing the excitement of the Winemakers when they settle on the final blend and then say " each vintage keeps getting better".

The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is fun. It's our wine that really showcases the blending concept here. Every vintage the blends really do change. The 2007 doesn't have the Roussanne like the previous vintages. We just weren't able to find the quality grapes so we weren't willing to compromise the wine. 2008 has all three of our blenders (or spices as we like to refer to them). The Roussanne, Viognier and Semillon blended into the Sauvignon Blanc. I'm going to keep the blend percentages a secret just to give everyone something to look forward to tasting. I always enjoy hearing how every ones palate is so different. Some notice characteristics that other people don't etc. What eventually happens is our customers have conversations about what they taste with each other which results in an educational experience for my staff and I. It's one of the best ways for my staff to grasp what the Sauvignon Blanc is all about.

I look forward to these wines being released. April looks like the month for the Sauvignon Blanc and may be April/May for the Taylor. Stay tuned for further updates.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Problem Solving Bottling Issues

In a perfect world, all necessary pieces to the puzzle would fall in line as we approach bottling. That is not reality when you produce wine. All wineries face one issue or another during bottling and they seem to arise when we think we have all bases covered. We use a mobile bottling line so we don't face all the mechanical issue that reek havoc on wineries with there own bottling line. That can be a nightmare but on the positive side, they have more flexibility with timing for bottling.

We ran into our November issue with the labels. Yikes to say the least. Bottom line is that we bottled shiners. Now for those of you that are not aware, we are in the process of improving our look. This bottling would have had the new look for labels and capsules. Well, labels were not ready to go but our wine and bottling was. What is a girl to do?! We bottled 3400 cases of shiners! The wine is great but unfortunately our bottling is not done. This means scheduling a mobile truck to label the shiners at our warehouse in January. Not only is it staff that we have to send off site but it adds significant cost to our bottling expenses.

My problem is reallocating funds from another area into our packaging budget. Adjustment will need to be made in spending for the winery. It's not just a simple solution of increasing prices to offset the additional costs. Our prices have been set based on numerous factors (grapes, barrels, labor contracted packaging costs etc)-not costs of mistakes. Not happening here at Dutcher Crossing. Not the correct thing to do with our wine club family or loyal customers. Our customers understand increases in price based on normal increase COGs but we'll tighten our belts in other areas to get through our additional expense.