Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In With the New...

As we begin our eighth year in business, we look forward to new things and old things alike, with enthusiasm. Any business must constantly evolve to survive, it must remake itself every so often to progress and mature its market. Yet we also want to keep that which has made us a success, the tone and tenor of our business, along with the familiar products our customers have come to like and buy again and again.

New things include our wines made with vinifera, or European heritage grapes. For years we have concentrated on native grapes because of their lower cost. The poor economy and a “grape glut” have depressed prices to the point we have been able to buy some of these premium quality grapes at reasonable prices. We hope to be able to continue to offer these, but who knows what the future holds for grape prices?

Other new things include our widening of our wine selection, at present over 20 different wines both sweet and dry. We tried a honey wine in 2009 and expanded our fruit wines as well. One point is that we have seen dry wine sales increase markedly in 2009 and this is a good thing. Dry wines are healthier and pair better with food then the sweet wines. I also think this represents our core customers’ tastes maturing and moving into a greater amount of dry wine purchases.

We are considering the possibility of expand our facility in 2010, its at the “how much will it cost” stage at this point, but our increasing sales volume is making it hard for us to squeeze the wine we need to stock into the space we have now. We thought about a move to another building in Converse quite seriously, but it seems the dollars and cents for adding on to the carriage house just makes more sense, if you see the pun there.

New wine labels debuted in 2009, the first that did not feature 19th century artwork. The one you might have seen is OLD BEN, which honors the stuffed steer that has been displayed in Kokomo for many years. The other label features a picture of the 1930-era water tower that had been a Converse landmark and trademark. We like labels with a local connection and when we introduce WATERTOWER in 2010 as a semi-sweet Gewurztraminer wine , we think both locals and visitor will like it.

What else will 2010 bring? Keep your eye here and we will do our best to keep you up to date. Keep in mind that starting January 1, we will be open only SATURDAY and SUNDAY until June 1, 1-6pm as always. See you in the tasting room!

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