A few words about reopening and the challenges facing us all
Hi everyone, I hope every one of your are healthy and doing well in these challenging times.
First off, we bottled seven new wines on April 16. They are all Lodi appellation, and all except the white wine are from Lodi Rules Certified Green winegrapes. We have 2019 Grenache Blanc, the first white we've made since the 2015 Viognier. The rest are all 2018 reds - Syrah, Petite Sirah, Primitivo, two single vineyard old vine Zinfandels from Mohr-Fry Vineyard and Wegat Vineyard, and our third Maribor red blend.
I've opened a bottle of two of these, and it's nice to see that these two are not as bottle shocked as the 2017 wines we bottled a year ago. We haven't officially released them yet, but I hope soon we'll be able to - more on that later. For now, I'll say a bit about each wine.
The Grenache Blanc grapes were bought from Fields Winery - it's the same Grenache Blanc grapes that they bottle. These came in at pretty low sugar and the resulting alcohol is just 11.6%, We made 49 cases. I barrel fermented them, and if any of you remember the Fumé Blanc craze of the 90's and thereabouts, this wine reminds me of those. I found this article that describes them, but the best way to understand wine is to have a glass, and we hope we can present this to you soon.
The Syrah is from east Lodi, and soaked out to a whopping 30.8 degrees Brix. In barrel it was pretty hot but it seems to have mellowed a bit, and I hope that continues in bottle. A slight bottle chilling can help this also. We have 51 cases of this.
I'm pretty jazzed about the Petite Sirah. This is from the Mohr-Fry vineyard, and it shows classic Lodi PS character - huge, extracted and tannic, with classic aromatics of violets and asphalt. This wine drinks you. There are just 25 cases bottled.
Primitivo will be interesting. For those unfamiliar, my understanding is that Primitivo is a cultivar of Zinfandel - a clone of it. Normally different clones aren't called a different winegrape, but given how the origins of Zinfandel were a mystery until relatively recently, it's been called something totally different in each country it's mainly found. The grapes look like Zin, it smells and tastes like Zin, but one big difference is that Zin is normally the first red grapes of any harvest, but the Primitivo was our last grapes of the 2018 harvest, coming in October 12. I think this will be a crowd pleaser, as it's the most moderate of the 2018s. Just 23 cases of this wine.
We haven't made any Zinfandel since 2014, which was about half way to late-harvest territory. Lodi is known for Zins above any other wine, and we haven't had one in the tasting room for a while. Lodi's preeminent wine event is Zinfest, which I'm sure many of you have attended, so I knew it was time to make more Zin. Two things about Zinfest - it's been rebranded to Lodi Row x Row and the focus is no longer on Zin, and that it has been canceled this year because of Covid-19. Still, it'll be good to have Zin again (really, three Zins if you count Primitivo), and I couldn't be happier with these two new single vineyard offerings.
The Mohr-Fry Vineyard Old Vine Zin (planted 1945) is one that many wineries in California have bottled vineyard-designated, and a number of those of course in Lodi. It's a wine I know pretty well from tasting those, and this one is very similar or identical to them. Mohr-Fry Zin is on the jammy side.
The second old vine, single vineyard Zin is from the Wegat Vineyard. A few years ago the "Lodi Natives" project was released, where six Lodi wineries made six different old vine Zins with minimal intervention. One of those was this Wegat Vineyard, and our parents happened to be visiting from Denver and we ordered this bottle off the wine list at Wine & Roses, which I only ordered because I had no idea about it. After that bottle, I hoped to source those grapes and make it ourselves one day, and here it is! This vineyard was planted in 1958 and is farmed by Todd Maley, who I had the pleasure of buying grapes last vintage from with his Teroldego. This wine has an ethereal element which is quite unique. It has a lot of other unique (at least for Zinfandel) components that I look forward to sharing. We have only 22 cases of this wine.
The last wine we bottled this spring is the 2019 Maribor, our first Maribor since 2015. The Maribor is slotted as a reserve wine, and is always a blend, though each year we make Maribor the blend is completely different. The 2019 Maribor is a blend of 40% Wegat Zin, 20% Mohr-Fry Zin, and 40% Petite Sirah. This may be the most interesting wine we've bottled, but it'll need some time in bottle before we know this for sure.
This is a good time to transition to what's going on now. These wines will need a bit more time to recover from bottle shock, and I would think they'll be available at the latest at the next quarterly wine club shipment. We have sold a couple of bottles to people specifically looking for them (if you've done any barrel tasting of these, you may be looking forward to them). If you are interested, call or email us, I just ask that if you want to drink them soon, pull the cork and let them breathe for 2 hours or so, or decant them out.
We'd like to have a release party, but it's really uncertain if that could be a possibility this year. The reopening of wineries is a pretty hot issue within the industry right now. The current guidance is that you have to offer food service with wine, no wine bar tastings, and a winery needs to either have a large indoor hospitality area or lots of outdoor seating. All of you who have visited know that we have neither. But beyond practical things like these, I'm not sure it would even be an enjoyable experience for many wine tasters with all the changes that are being mandated of wineries. For a small winery such as ours, when reading through all the directions we've seen, it seems to boil down to that it's just too soon to reopen. For three reasons that come to mind - the experience for our guests, for what William and I need to do, and just for everyone's health and stopping the spread of Covid-19. When things cool down enough that these extra measures aren't needed, and we can see that the spread has been stopped and life is really returning to normal, this will probably be the time to reopen. And then we hope to have a release party. But if not, we'll figure something out for our wine club members and valued friends. I am very excited to get the reactions when these new wines are experienced. In the meantime, if you are interested in a curbside pickup of wine, you can find our available wines on this website and contact William (209) 400-5009 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pickup. We're currently offering a 20% discount on those and free shipping of 6 bottles or more.
Lastly, William and I want to truly express how concerned we are with the social injustice we are living through in America right now. The murder of George Floyd has affected us greatly, and we are inspired by the uprising of protests against injustice and our ingrained inequality as a society and legal system. We are also saddened to see the violence and damage that some have chosen to partake in during this time. William and I hope this leads to real justice and change, that no group will be systematically marginalized, or be victims of police brutality, and that everyone can live a happy and safe life. We are pleased to engage with people and groups fighting for these just causes in positive, meaningful dialogue, and we hope we can in some small be part of the solution. #icantbreathe