[bctt tweet=”It is winter in Jersey and baby it is COLD outside!!”] Thankfully, we have not had a winter like last year. I don’t think I could handle another winter like the last one. So much snow! This year, there isn’t the snow, but man, is it bitterly cold. We made it all the way to February without any real snow, but February has come on strong. The winds are kicking 24/7 and it just goes right through you. Ski jacket, gloves, hats, scarves – they do nothing to protect you. I shiver after 2 minutes outside. Of course as I’m typing we are on our second snow day of the year. Last night we got quite a bit. We may have missed out on the snowmageddon they predicted, but the snow gods and Mother Nature are making up for it with plenty of snow, sleet and ice. UGH!
Mike does say I have a narrow window of comfort. I agree, I do not like hot nor do I like cold. That is actually one of the reasons why we fell in love with the Central Coast. The weather is perfect there all year round. We have property in Arroyo Grande just waiting for us to actually get there. Look at that average weather! It just doesn’t get better than that.
Anyway, back here in the cold it is difficult to think about Spring and what is coming down the pike but we are planning on bottling in late March or early April. We will begin to accept orders soon after, but will not be shipping until late summer. Of course, shipment will be dependent on weather. With March being less than two months away, we are evaluating bottles and corks. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Pick a bottle. What’s the difference?” Well, there are a lot of differences. First off, where is the glass coming from? The two main ones are Chinese and American glass. Then there is the color. Clear, green, antique green, brown or blue are the most common choices. Our choices are somewhat limited because of our size – not all options are available to us. Once those decisions are made now comes the things most people don’t even think of when it comes to picking up a bottle.
As you can see from the image the dimensions of the bottles are broken down. We received several samples and need to decide what we like and don’t like about each bottle. For example, bottles are either masculine or feminine, depending on their shoulders. (isn’t that cute?) The wider the shoulders, the more masculine the bottle. Then there is the neck length. Some are just too long for my liking. It’s amazing what you find out you don’t like, when you are really analyzing things. I don’t think I can ever look at a bottle the same again. Of course there is the punt size and the overall weight of the bottle. Some people argue that the weight doesn’t matter. I have to disagree. After lifting some of these bottles, I feel like there is nothing to them and that makes me think “cheap.” The bottles we are looking at range between mid 500 grams and low 700 grams. What a difference. The 500g is like lifting an empty box that you thought was full and the low 700g feels like you are doing a bicep workout. Although there is no true necessity for the punt, even though people like to think so, they vary in-depth. Which leads to another decision. Some are really short, while other are deep within the bottle. Now look at the mouth of the bottle of wine you have closest to you. (I know there is one nearby) Does it have a single or double lip. Did you ever notice the difference? For each bottle we examine, we decide what we like and don’t like and record it. We then give that information back to the supplier and he suggests other bottles. It is like taking a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces together in order to make the complete bottle.
Onto corks and capsules. Wow! so many decisions. First decision was to use corks. Although we don’t have anything against screw tops, they are being used more and more, we did want to use cork. Within the cork, there is synthetic and natural. We honestly never considered synthetic, so onto the decisions within the natural cork. Deciding on a supplier is a big decision. Suppliers treat their corks differently. We are very concerned with how they treat their corks and how they guarantee them. We also look at their data of analysis of TCA over the years. In terms of capsules, it is mostly color. But there are also different composites. You can choose tin, a tin polymer composite, or a plastic material. This is probably going to be the final decision since in my opinion it is really just aesthetics. It will have to enhance the final color decision of the bottle. It is a matter of using a “color wheel” concept. Will we want the capsule to “pop” or to “blend” with the bottle and of course how it looks with the final label. Of all the decisions, this is the one I’m least concerned with.
All of this while we are holding down our real jobs and trying to deal with the government (not to mention being 3,000 miles away from the winery.) Getting the winery up and running is a full-time job (and then some.) Talk about exciting times! All of these decisions to be made. Exhilarating but at the same time, exhausting and stressful. It’s like a domino effect. Each decision impacts another decision. Placing the decisions in a priority order is also taxing. I look at my dining room table (as you can see, we will not be using it for dining anytime in the near future) and can’t believe that we are actually doing this. We are pursuing our passion. I hope you are as lucky as we are and get the opportunity to do what you love to do! We look forward to finalizing our decisions and having an exceptional Cabernet Franc to put in these bottles. Bottling will be here before we know it, and so will the summer. It seems to have been a long road (two years in the making), but we finally will be able to do what we set out to do: allowing [bctt tweet=”Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories!”]
As I end this post, I’ll leave you with some thought-provoking questions. Not exactly “end of the world” provoking, but questions none the less. Have you ever analyzed a bottle of wine this in-depth? Have you notice these nuances in the past? Do you care about these differences? Have you ever looked or handled a bottle and observed that the seam is extremely obvious? Have you picked up a bottle and thought,”Wow, this is one heavy bottle” (or one really light one?) Have you looked at a bottle and said, “Geez, that is an awful color for a wine bottle”? Lastly, did you ever fathom that this much decision-making was involved in putting a wine in a bottle for you to enjoy?