HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all !!!!

Sorry for taking so long to post…again….

Its been a quiet winter so far. The vineyard has gone dormant for the winter – most all the leaves had dropped by early December.

We finished the heavy winter pruning just before I left for the holidays, so I have to get out on the tractor with the rake attachment and pull all the dead branches out of the vineyard.
We do that so that any mildew that might have become ingrained into the wood during the season is not left in the vineyard – we pile up the cuttings and burn them. In addition, I need to get back out with the back-hoe and finish pulling up the dead vines in anticipation of the Spring re-planting. I am about 1/4 way through the vineyard, but I have the old vines (with their slightly tighter spacing) yet to do, so that will take some time.

In the meantime, the 2009 wines are all aging along nicely. With the higher yield this year, we have the opportunity to create more of the “Old Vines” (Veilles Vignes) this year. Its looking like we will get about 5 barrles (200 boxes – 1200 bottles) from this vintage (its the wine in the middle set of barrels in the picture at left). And, based on my tasting of it at this stage, and comparing it to the 2008 vintage, I think it will be a very good wine when it is ready a year or so from now.

As I mentioned before, I will be bottling the 2008 shortly (its in the near barrel) – at the same time I do the 2009 rose.
The rose is currently sitting in the L.H. stainless steel tank (one I bought this year just for the rose). On my list of “To Do’s” this next week or so is to send it through its first filtering, in preparation for testing and bottling. It will need 2 rounds of filtering- the 2nd round (‘sterile’) will occur at the time we bottle. I am thinking we should get about 250 boxes (1500 bottles) of the rose this year – about twice last year’s production. And latest tastings indicate this will be as good as last year’s, so I am happy about that.

Sales so far this winter have been slow. Without the follow-on order from Noble it would be fairly dismal – sales ‘out the door’ are a dribble at best. But Spring is coming soon, and I think the New Release of the 2009 rose will bring people back into the winery, and hopefully sell both the new rose and the 2008 red.

And – GOOD NEWS – I had the opportunity when I was in Seattle to visit with the folks at Noble Wines (Naomi Smith and others) and give them the chance to taste the new wines (2009 rose, red, and Vielles Vignes) as well as the 2008 Vielles Vignes. Thankfully, all of them had traveled well, and were received positively. So, I am hopeful that when they are released, Noble will place orders – they are great people to work with.

And MORE OF THE 2008 RED IS COMING – – -SOON!!!! The follow-on order from Noble departed here early last month, and it looks like it will arrive the end of the month….so ASK FOR IT STARTING JANUARY 25!!!!!

Remember – “ALL I ASK IS A BOTTLE A WEEK!!!!

On the personal side, there’s not much new to report. I had a great time in Seattle over Christmas with friends and family. And of course have now returned home to ‘get back to work’……..hrumph….some retirement………

Also – I am starting through the process of getting a French Driver’s License (Permit de Conduire). As it turns out some US state licenses transfer (i.e. Kansas) but Washington does not, SO I need to go through the process of both a written and driving examination….of course all in French….so we’ll see how that goes. I have signed-up with a local school who will help coordinate it all, but it means going to ‘classes’ and ‘instructor-led driving’…Back to being 16 again..But it is necessary since I have been here a year and I run the risk of my car insurance not being valid. SO off I go – I start the classes next week. I will fill you in on how it goes next time.

More later. Out to start raking.

Be well out there.