We didn't make a lot of wine in 2005. Just 100 cases total. 50 cases of Syrah and 50 cases of Canernet Sauvignon. In 2006 we made 16 barrels, 400 cases, so four times more. Still not a huge amount. This year we're planning on 23 barrels, about 575 cases of wine.
I big part of this approach was to not make more wine than we could sell 'part time'. Build up slowly, get the wine out there, build a mailing list and some key restaurants and go from there.
I also know I'm making pretty unique wine. I like wine with a great smell, and well balanced. I don't like thick wines, and I don't like wines with brown flavors or jammy flavors, so I don't want to make wines like that. Those are the kinds of wines that are simple crowd favorites and fill up the bottom shelves at the supermarket. That's easy appeal, and nothing wrong with that, but I'm not out to compete with Little Penguin. I knew our wine would have to find a market. People who like elegance over thickness and pretty scent over ultra ripe flavor.
I know those people are out there, and I know they will love our wines. But I also knew that making 2000 cases to start off with would have been a hard search to find them.
We're never going to make 2000 cases of anything is the bottom line. We'll make small amounts of a few wines from special sites that let me get great balance, scent and flavor in a bottle. 100 cases here, 200 cases there, just small amounts. Copain was successful doing this, and Brian Loring, so I think it can be done. I don't want a confusing amount of wines, or wines from all over. Our wines will always be from mountain vineyards that let me make a wine I'll like. I hope enough other people like them too to let us keep making them.