This October, I started making wine for the first time. This is the real thing, and will be released as a commercially sale-able product when ready. I had initially picked roussanne and mourvedre to work with, but ended up with neither this year. The mourvedre was already allocated to people higher on the grower's customer list than I (typical and completely fair in this industry). The roussanne I so lusted after ended up being lost to Mother Nature, as the relentless summer sun caused the vineyard to lose around half its yield. What remained went to prior customers.
I ended up with petite verdot and tempranillo, two grapes I am thrilled to be working with. Total intake for 2012 was .82 tons of petite verdot and 1.1 tons of tempranillo from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA south of Prosser, Washington. The clusters on each were absolutely beautiful, with minimal raisining, no rot, and hardly any bugs!
Fortunately for me, I had a lot of assistance from the Kramers, especially Kim, in walking me through the process of selecting yeasts, must treatments (or lack thereof), barrels, and much more. The Kramers also helped with the nitty-gritty, punching down and pumping over the fermenting bins when I was away at my day job.
The day job. I began to look for another job in mid-July, when I realized I was not a good fit for Cathedral Ridge. To succeed in the wine business you must be passionate about the wines you are selling, and I simply couldn't find that passion. In September, I went to work for a distributor here in Oregon, working the Portland Metro area, selling Pacific Northwest wine and craft beers. The job is great in many ways, offering good compensation and benefits, while challenging me to see how far I truly want to go in sales. Each month I am amazed with what I've learned about selling for a distributor, and I'm taking away many things both good and bad from my experiences.
2012 ended with a flurry of activity, and I proudly proclaim that in the last six to eight weeks of the year, I drank more Champagne than I ever have before. A rough guesstimate puts it at a case and a half. As you can tell, I am quite proud of this factoid.
What does 2013 promise then? The search for new grape sources. I haven't given up on my dream of working with grenache, and I may have a source for some of the finest domestic cabernet franc grapes, period. White wines also call to me, to that end I am actively seeking white Rhone varieties and sauvignon blanc. I hope that my Tempranillo will be released this fall, and that the petite verdot will be released in spring of 2014. Hope is just that, because as we know, the wines themselves will decide when they're ready to be released.
2013 also will bring some changes to this blog, when I move away from reviewing wine and more towards just talking about cool wines I drink. To my PR/Media friends, I'll still accept samples for review, but not nearly as many as before. I'm tired of all the crappy wines and Becky says they take up too much space in our house. She is right.
Here now I ask you, did you make any wine resolutions this year? Did you have any wine epiphanies last year?
A toast to 2013, thank you for reading along!