Here we are near the end of August and we are just waiting for the grapes to decide when they are done ripening.  Although ahead of schedule from last year, we are only about fifty percent done.  We are anticipating a late September harvest. But it is all up to the fruit and Mother Nature. We want them to hang on the vine as long as possible to soak up all that great flavor. You can read about The Basics of Crush in this Wine Spectator brief article.

While we are waiting for this year’s harvest it is time to start pulling double duty.  We are busy with last year’s wine.  The wine is in barrel and developing. We sampled our wine while we were in Paso Robles last month and will have another sample sent to us in September. It seems to be barrel aging well and we are excited with how it is tasting.
Now it is a matter of waiting and dealing with compliance.  I’m sure everyone knows how much fun it is dealing with the government.  We are currently in the process of getting the all important O2 license from California. This is what allows us to officially be a winery as an Alternating Proprietor.  This means that we are sharing a facility with other wineries to reduce the overall cost of a winery start up.  Additionally, we need to get a CDFA license which will allow us to handle the grapes. (how funny is that?) And of course, we need to establish a bond, because the state of California wants to make sure they get their portion of the taxes.  Doesn’t that all sound like fun? It is definitely not the glorious side of having a winery.
This correlates to a lot of check writing, and a lot of reading legal documents.  Ultimately, a lot of waiting – this is one of the crazy things about being in the wine industry. If you are a person who needs instant gratification, this is not a business for you. You need to adopt the “good things come to those who wait” mentality to be in this business. We will have a second vintage in barrel before our first vintage is released. Wine is a two year investment, both in time and in capital.  You can read how and why we decided to enter this venture.
While this is happening, we are working behind the scenes for this year’s vintage. With about a month before we harvest, we need to start preparing for when the fruit is ready to be picked. We need to arrange for the rentals of the “half-ton” baskets.

Dracaena WinesThese are the baskets that the fruit will be collected in. Plus we need to arrange for transportation of our fruit from the vineyard to the crush facility which is about forty-five minutes away. These two things may not seem too difficult to accomplish, but remember there are a lot of wineries picking and moving fruit all at the same time and there are only so many companies to move the fruit. It is not like scheduling a furniture delivery, where you are picking what day is convenient for you, here the fruit decides what day they are ready and when they are ready, you better be. Granted, we have a rough time estimate and as it gets closer we will be taking sugar (Brix) levels so we can have a more accurate time frame, but if you wait until then to line everything up you will be too late.   Demand is high so you have to secure your space early.  Remember, “The early bird catches the worm” or in this case the delivery truck.

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  1. Very interesting posts on the journey of your endeavors! We’ll have to check out Dracaena Wines next time we’re up at Lake Nacimiento! Cheers to your harvest and your in barrel vintage, and keep that checkbook replenished! -KJ

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Lake Nacimiento is a beautiful area, do you go often? Our tasting room will be in SLO and would love for you to stop by. I just ordered more checks from the bank. LOL!

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