Thursday, March 22, 2007

Update on Sales and Allocations

We've had great response so far to our first offer letters. Right now we've booked about 53% of the total wine we have available. It does look like we'll sell out before our official release date of April 21st.

There's a small chance that those people who signed up after March 8th and have not yet gotten an offer letter will get one after April 1st, but I think that's about a 25% chance now. The waiting list for an offer letter has gotten over 30 people long.

I really didn't want to rush people or pull the trick a lot of Napa wineries try and use about 'a long line behind you if you don't buy', but it honestly does look like if you don't get your order in soon, we'll be out of wine.

The situation in the Fall looks even worse. We're averaging 2-3 new sign ups a day right now. I think that very well may keep up through the summer, especially as the wine starts to get out around the country and people try it. We could have a waiting list of 150 by September to get the Cabernet release.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day Off...Then Back at It.

Yesterday we took our first day off in what I think was eight weeks. It's been a pretty consistent schedule for weeks now. Work the day jobs Monday - Friday. Then weekday nights are spent in the office, sending out letters, processing orders, planing the 2007 budget, and answering emails. The weekends come and it's out in the vineyard or into the winery.

Yesterday we just played around all day. Drove to Monterrey and searched for Spot Prawns. There where none, too windy for the fisherman we heard. But we did stop for some abalone and Vouvray on the wharf.

Today I'll head back off to the vineyards. I need a new weed-whacker. I cooked mine last week. The second engine failure on this one, so I'm not going to try and rebuild it again. It's also time to start spraying sulfur regularly, and even though there is some rain coming Tuesday, I want to get sulfur down.

We have bud break and good growth starting at home, so it's likely I'll see a little today in the mountain vineyards. By next weekend, everything should be starting to grow and the real spray schedule will start.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Vineyard Update.

After frantic weeks of working with banks, credit card companies, shipping companies, cork suppliers and tons of other details we finally got back out in the vineyards this weekend. It was a beautiful weekend in Northern California, really perfect for working. Except for the weed whacker dieing on me, it went pretty well.

Home Vineyard and Ottigurr Vineyard - Both had bud break. These little suburban vineyards are great measuring sticks for how things are going in the mountains. Both are usually 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule of the mountain vineyards. It really helps with planing and scheduling our spread out vineyard sites to be able to track these two closely every day.

Mount Madonna - Reed's Vineyard. I spoke with Reed last week, and things are going well. He's mostly self sufficient now, and just calls on us for advice from time to time. He's decided to not fruit the vineyard this year, and instead concentrate on shoot positioning and cordon strength. A gutsy move on his part, putting off a year three harvest and that first cash flow to concentrate on long term quality. We'll have Tempranillo and Syrah from here in 2008 and Big Basin Vineyards will take the Grenache and probably any Tempranillo we don't use.

Morgan Hill Vineyard. We finished pruning on Saturday. Not sure what this one will be named yet. It's actually not in the town of Morgan Hill, but in the foothills above the town. It's in a little valley behind the hill most people call "Morgan Hill" (Morgan Hill was a person, not an actual hill, but there's a cone shaped hill outside of town that most people call 'Morgan Hill'). This might fit into our long term plans. The vineyard is near Uvas Canyon, where I'd eventually like to plant our estate vineyard, and working it would give me some local experience with this micro-climate. No commercial fruit from here this year, it will be 2008 at least and probably 2009.

Llama Vineyard - Bonny Doon - Looks great. We did some clean up and weed removal. Stef hadn't seen this vineyard in a long time. Millie and I pruned it this year, and Stef was amazed at the progress. This has been a painful vineyard to restore, but it's in great shape now and should get us 1000-2000 pounds this year. This little location is only 6 miles from the ocean, but gets very hot during the day. It was 5 degrees warmer here on Saturday than in San Jose.

Elandrich Vineyard - Portola Valley - The weed whacker killer! It's killed my weed whacker twice now. Millie got started on some serious end post repair work (jackhammer and 50lb bags of cement serious). I got through about 70% of the weed removal. The plants look pretty good here. We need to replace the bird netting with a better quality netting this year, and if we can do that should see 2 tons of fruit or so.

Everything looks in great shape. This experience in the vineyard is helping so much with winemaking and planing too. The work is hard, but I sure do appreciate all the great knowledge gained.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Order Letters Out

We got the first wave of order letters out on Thursday evening. They just made the 6PM cut off at our local post office. Everyone who signed up before 3/1 now has a letter on the way.

We sent a test one to ourselves and that arrived Friday. We also had a few orders trickle in via fax, so we know they are starting to get out, at least in the Bay Area. By next Tuesday - Thursday they should have found there way to everyone.

The second wave will be put together on Monday and go out on Tuesday for those people who signed up after 3/1 or got us a mailing address after the first wave. Pretty exciting time right now for us!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Pictures From Bottling

Available at:

There will be a link on the website soon too.

We'll be sending out offer letters today. They should start to arrive to you soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

599 Bottles Of Wine on the Wall......

And none of them fell.

Not that there wasn't a little drama today. The labels have not yet arrived, so those will actually go on the bottles on Thursday. And some of you will get nice corks that say "Stefania" and "2005" on them. Some of you will get the rare and elusive ones with just "2005" on the cork. As in: "It just says '2005' , the cork supplier must not have sent enough corks with 'Stefania' on them".

It also looked like the Cam was not working. At least I could see El Tejano on the chat board going: "The cam is not working".

But all in all it went very well, and there are 587, 750ml bottles, and 6 magnums waiting for pick up to go to the warehouse in Napa. The wine tasted very well, with the floral and fruit notes coming out very well and the nice balance and structure the wine has.

The bottling line went smoothly and I loaded in the clean new bottles at the start of the line. Stefania should have some pictured for me to post up soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Update on Bottling!

Bottling will take place this Monday, starting at 11am. You can watch live at :

Follow the Cam link to the bottling line.

Wish us luck. I'm nervous as can be that all goes well!