What do you do when you live 3000 miles away from your winery? You count on the people you surround yourself with to help you out!  Sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes it doesn’t. 

In case you have been living in a cave, California has been in a drought. How Mother Nature is dealing with this in the past few years has equated to an early harvest. But in 2013, it was late. November 4th to be specific.  Yep, we picked our 2013 Cabernet Franc in November. [We are looking at mid October this year]

After 22 months, it was finally time to bottle. We were scheduled to bottle on August 12th. We were excited and thrilled to take this next step.  So we booked our flight, arranged for a car and hotel and all was good.  Until, August 6th came.  It was 6pm EST when we opened an email, stating that the bottling line truck was not going to be able to run on our day and it was going to be scheduled another day. Now, if you are living where your winery is this may not have been a big deal, but when you are 3000 Miles away and have 72 Hours to work with, it becomes a big deal. 

There was not much sleep that night.  Upon getting up from bed, we still could not do anything because of the three hour difference between NJ and CA. Patiently [but nervously] we waited until 1pm EST, 9am PST and a phone call was made. We were able to determine that we would now bottle on the 17th.  We immediately called Delta to reschedule [hello, penalty charges for changing flights] cancelled all hotels and the car and rebooked everything. Thankfully, we were able to make all changes. 

Our flight on the 16th was scheduled for 6am EST.  We had to fly through Minneapolis to arrive in San Jose at 11am PST.  After the two hour drive to Paso, we would still have some time to enjoy all that Paso Robles provides. We woke up at 3am EST to get to the airport. We showered and got ready then headed downstairs to get ready to leave. That’s when we saw it – the notification that our flight was delayed 2 hours and we would miss our connecting flight.  One hour later, we finally had new flights arranged, but we weren’t getting in until 7:30pm PST, which meant arriving into Paso Robles around 10:30pm PST. You know what they say about best laid plans. 

The one positive that came out of driving to Paso late at night was that the stars were shining as we drove down the 101. Good- gave time to reflect; bad -made me think of Draco. We made it to the Paso Robles Inn without any issues and we fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.  

Since Mike’s vacation is limited and he has the option to work from home, he didn’t take vacation days. What this meant was he had to wake up 4am PST to be able to work on the Eastern work time table. I really don’t know how he did it, but he did. When I woke up [about 2 hours later] we headed to Starbucks so he could work some more and I could have some breakfast.  While there, we got a call saying that our bottling time was moved up and we needed to get there ASAP.

We jumped in the car and arrived at the winery ready to go.  We handed over our labels and bottles and were ready to go.  BUT, the labels were wound the wrong way. Bottling lines are either set up left or right.  Our labels were right and the bottling line was left.  So what did we have to do? We had to hand re-wind our labels.  45 minutes later and possibly needing another shoulder surgery, our labels were wound in the correct direction. 

Amazingly, for the most part things went smoothly.  We had two bottles break, and some cases that the glue on the bottom did not stick, but in the overall scheme, nothing major occurred.  We are so thankful for that!  After bottling was completed, we headed over to Pack n Ship and let them know that our wine was in bottle and they could pick it up whenever they wanted. 

Twenty four hours later, our wine was in the storage facility and resting in bottle. We took a few bottles home for us to sample and we will Coravin in a few weeks to see how the wine is progressing. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not there is bottle shock. Maynard Amerine et al. of UC Davis, stated that bottle shock does in fact exist and that it simply is a temporary state of oxidation that can last as much as a month in the bottle and that shows up about a week after the wine had been bottled. The research states that it occurs because of the level of oxygen that is introduced into the wine on many—but not all—bottling lines. Since Mike and I will only release the wine if it meets our standards, we will continue to taste throughout September and decide if we will release.  If all goes as we expect, we will be officially releasing the wine on our website on October 1st.  




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