Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hello Again...

More news from the south of France.....HARVEST !!!!

As I mentioned in my last posting, it looked as though harvest was going to be early. WELL I was certainly right about that.....WE ARE FINISHED ALREADY - - 2-3 WEEKS EARLY!!!

We started with a small crew (5 people) picking the rose grapes (cinsualt and grenache) on Thursday, the 21st of August, and finished on Friday the 22nd. Because it has been so hot in the afternoons, we only picked in the mornings (3 hours/day). That way the fruit came into the winery cool - which is perfect for making a rose.
The following week (last Tuesday - the 25th) we started with the bigger job of picking the red - which is really the balance of the grenache in the vineyard. We upped the crew size to 17 for the job, and started picking that morning. By working all day Tuesday, we were able to finish the vineyard by early afternoon on Wednesday the 26th - about 1/2 day quicker than I had planned - what a crew (as you can see) !!!!
It is tradition to share a brief repas after harvest....a min-celebration of finishing 'vendange'. Needless to say, they all earned it. The juice is now burbling away turning into wine. The rose's (the cinsault and grenache are fermenting separately) are nearly all done. And the reds (one cuvee of old vines and one of the rest) are coming along nicely. Harvest this year is going to be a bit larger than last...and the fruit quality is MUCH improved. I am excited to see what we can do with what we've grown.......we'll see.

AS for sales...things have been slow recently. But I keep looking for the next opportunity to showcase the wine and get people to try it...not in a panic quite yet.

Which brings me to you-all. I know how you all are real excited about me 'living the dream' over here..and hope I am going to be successful.......if for no other reason than to have someone over here to come visit!!!

WELL - here's your chance to help. As you know I sold a small amount of wine to Noble Wines, Ltd. of Seattle - a local distributor/importer. The wine is due to arrive in Seattle in the next 10 days, and should be available shortly thereafter in local wine shops. And that's where you come in:
To make sure its a success - it needs to sell..which means the shops need BUYERS - like YOU!

So here's what I want you to do:

First - -You go to your local wine shop and ask for the wine by name: "Mas de la Lionne Cotes du Rhone" . Tell them you want to buy 2or 3 bottles - that way they will order a 6-pack (which is how it is being marketed). The more wine shops the better.

Next - - you each tell 2 friends to go and do the same...and then have them tell 2 friends...and have them tell 2 friends.........well - you get the idea.

Before you know it, there will be a virtual run on the wine, and they will have to come back to me for more..and then I will be successful..and then I will still be here NEXT YEAR WHEN YOU WANT TO COME VISIT!!!

Like the guys in the Blue Diamond Almond and Bartels & James commercials used to say:


And I thank you for your support.

I think that's it for now..I need to get back out into the winery and look after the juice.

Be good out there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hi All

Its been a busy month since my last report...Lots going on!

VINEYARD - The grapes are coming ripe very quickly - looks like its going to be a good harvest - fruit is nice and healthy..and plentiful this year.

As we did last year, we'll pick the cinsault and a corresponding amount of grenache first - to make the rose (it gets picked, crushed and immediately pressed - then fermented as though it were a white wine...slow and cool.) Then come back about a week later and pick the rest of the vineyard - all grenache - to make both the Cotes du Rhone red as well as try again to make a special cuvee. As you remember, I only ended up with 1 barrel of the special cuvee from last year - I needed the rest to help the Cotes du Rhone.

Anyway - with the hot weather and lack of rain over the last month or so, its looking like we could start as early as before end of the month (more than a week early) - and finish about 10 days later.

WINE - Sales are going pretty well - I have sold all but about 8 cases of the rose (out of 75) and have been able to sell about 150 cases of the red here in France, and of, course I sold the 50 cases to Seattle. So its been a good start.

By the way - tell all your friends - the wine: 'Mas de la Lionne 2008 Cotes du Rhone' is in Noble Wines, Ltd. catalog - so stores, etc. can start asking for it. The wine is due to arrive the first week of September - a mere 3 weeks from now.

Keeping with sales news, I think I mentioned that I was going to participate in the medieval fair in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which occurred over last weekend (8-9 August). It was their 25th 'Fete de Veraison' - the celebration of the town founding in the 14th century.

Well I did it. I put up a stand, and set out my wares, and offered tastes and bottles.....and surprisingly I got a pretty good reception - for being the new guy on the block, and for not offering a Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Tavel of Gigondas (i.e. big name) wine. ( I know, I know...signage needs work - not enough of a draw- need banners...another lesson for next year!)

We poured about 50 bottles of wine (1/2 red and 1/2 rose) for tasting. And, with the help of my neighbors' son Simon, we sold about 20 cases - also about 1/2 rose and 1/2 red.

MOST importantly - I got the name out to a very large audience - GREAT PUBLICITY!!

I think that's it from here for now. Need to go start getting ready for vendange - lining up the people, checkout the equipment, get supplies (yeast, etc), clean barrels......its coming soon!

More once we get through vendange.

Be good out there.