Monday, December 31, 2007

Hello 2008

In many ways, 2007 was an eventful, crazy year. There were lots of good things -- the winery is certainly doing well -- but quite a few unpleasant things as well. A lot of changes..... both highs and lows.

We lost some dear friends -- some forever, another just until we see immigration reform or can find the right loophole in the law.

For a while it felt like the universe was plotting against us. And I've heard similar feelings from other folks.

So, I'm ready to start a brand new year. Let's drink a toast to 2008. Some Sassy Rosé, perhaps? To a year with less drama and more sweet contentment. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Perfect Gift

I've been know to dream up a lot of [scathingly brilliant, I think] ideas, but I can't take any credit for this one. The creator of this masterpiece is Scott Blakemore, owner of Gilbert's Chocolates. Gilbert's is a Jackson institution -- in business since 1900.

What you're looking at in the photo (left) are two bottles lovingly enveloped in Gilbert's chocolate.

A while back, Scott saw a similar chocolate extravaganza at a food show and decided to try recreating it. We gave him the "go ahead" and a couple of bottles of wine for experimentation. It took him a while to figure it all out, but, oh, was it worth it!

A little earlier this fall, Scott brought the completed bottles to show to us. We loved them! He had covered bottles of our Raspberry and Rhapsody in Red wine with food-grade shrink-wrap plastic. The chocolate goes over the top of that -- primarily dark chocolate with some squiggles of white for decoration. To eat it, you just tear the shrink-wrap plastic and break off pieces of chocolate to enjoy with your wine.

This creation is the most amazing gift! It's perfect for someone who loves wine and chocolate. And the packaging is gorgeous and decadent. Since we began selling them, we've kept the little elves at Gilbert's very busy!

(Almost) The End of the Harvest Season

The 2007 harvest season began early and is just about over... finally.

We started about two weeks early. The warm weather this summer and fall sped up the ripening of the grapes. And the warm weather kept on coming. We really didn't have a heavy frost until late October. And the last of the grapes -- for ice wine, of course -- were harvested about 10 days ago.

Harvesting is a crazy time of the year for us. Because farming and wine making are two separate (but connected) operations, each has its own chores related to the harvest. Once the grapes are picked (or picked UP, as in many instances), it gets very busy in the cellar. During the peak of the harvest season, there are many, many batches of wine fermenting at the same time.

Currently we're down to two batches that are fermenting -- both ice wines. In addition to our usual Vidal Blanc ice wine, we're also making a very small batch of Chambourcin ice wine this year.

2007 harvest photos:
Top - Holly stirring yeast into a container of grapes
Middle - Angelo and Michael moving a tote filled with juice
Lower - Unloading a truck we rented to pick up grapes from the SW side of the state