Yesterday was “Black Friday” and for a number of years we have participated by opening early (11 am, I like to get my rest) and by having a few “doorbuster” sale items. We had a nice steady flow of customers and we sold a good bit of wine and a few of the doorbuster items. We had a Wine Nite as part of the evening festivities and a lot of folks came out for that.
One lady said she appreciated we were not packed with customers. True, business was steady all day, but we were never packed. We are packed on Chocolate and Cheesecake festivals; we are really busy on Open House days. But on Black Friday we had time to spend with customers, especially those buying gifts of wine for friends and family.
A common problem people have is which wine to buy for a person whose taste they do not know well. We tend to steer folks to the best sellers based on whether their recipient like sweet or dry wine. If that is unknown, we tend to suggest those in the middle, off-dry to semi-sweet.
A winner this year is our so-called “Nouveau” wine for 2013, STOCKDALE. This past September we were choosing what grapes we wanted to buy for this fall to make for 2014. On a whim, I bought a French-hybrid grape I had used in years past called “Baco Noir”, typically made into a dry red wine.
So I bought a small batch of the Baco, with the intent of trying to make a young, drinkable wine we could feature on Black Friday as our celebration of the 2013 vintage. We ferment our juice into wine at very cold temperatures, 60-65 degrees, so it can take 25-30 days for a full fermentation. We started the process on October 21 and on November 18 I moved the wine (“racking” in wine-speak) into a clean barrel and let it set for five days to settle it a bit, then we bottled it. On Thursday (28th) we test-tasted it and declared it very good! We decided to not sweeten it at all, it was below ½ percent residual sugar and tasted best slightly chilled. So that’s what we got and happily, customers liked it well enough to buy it on its release the next day.
Of course, it could have been bitter and harsh, as many new wines are and not at all drinkable. My experience is an ingredient to making a great wine, but it all starts with the fruit and we got some dandy fruit in 2013. We hope you’ll stop in before 2014 and try some now, including our Nouveau…