Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bad Planning or We Need a Bigger Winery?

We have survived the snow, so far! In the winery business continues to be brisk, I suspect many people are getting cabin fever and need to get out. I hope we have had our snow for the year, its been colder and snowier then a normal year and could use a break myself.

We had our free WINE 101 workshop last Sunday and had a very nice turnout for this program. We like helping people become more wine-literate and it gives us good feedback on what new customers want, like, and think. Watch this space for next month’s free seminar in the coming weeks!

I did have a little problem in the winery regarding the seminar. A BUNCH (way more then four) of our regular folks had made arrangements to meet at the winery and enjoy some wine and snacks. I noticed the BUNCH about 45 minutes before the seminar and went out to let them know we had another group coming in and, well. You know; --Yea, that went over like a lead balloon!

It’s never happened quite like that before and we are not sure how to handle it so it does not happen in the future. We typically ask people who plan on bringing big groups in to let us know, but we have had informal gatherings of people like this at the winery for several years, almost since we first added seating.

When all is said and done, I guess we might just say “Crap Happens” and move on. But we do encourage anyone who PLANS to bring more then six people in for a tasting or to hang around several hours, please check with us so we can accommodate you. We do not want to disappoint, honk-off, irritate, or inconvenience anyone.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Free Wine Seminar Happens Soon!

Ok, another snowstorm is hammering our area here, but we care not! All that matters is wine, wine, and more wine! We were surprised at the business we had in the winery have my prior rant as to how weather and football kills business, OK I was wrong!

New on the horizon is WINE 101, one in our continuing series of free workshops we hold at the winery. This is a fun and informative one hour session on the in-and-outs of wine. We will talk about stuff like what wine names mean, what is a varietal, and what is an AVA? The workshop will be held this coming Sunday, Feb 14, at 4:30 pm. LOOK GUYS! This is a way you can “Do Something” on a lazy winter afternoon and get credit for having good ideas,

We had a very nice time in Gas City at the Thompson-Ray house wine-tasting. The people there were very kind and said many nice things. We even got a nice article in the local newspaper which featured a shot of the Wine Maker his-self!

Another almost new thing at the winery is several new wines I keep hinting at, but do not ever seem to get bottled. No, I have still not bottled any, but we are getting closer. For example, every fall we introduce an “oaked” version of our popular dry white, MISSISSINEWA WHITE. One problem is we do not also offer the un-oaked version at the same time. Well, we’re almost out of the oaked version and I would expect in a few weeks, the last barrel of our crisp Seyval Blanc will get bottled and labeled.

Once that last barrel is gone, we will move to a Chardonnel version of this label. I suspect many will be delighted, a few disappointed, but you know the old saying, you can’t please everybody all the time!

Have you got a wine related question you’d like answered? Write us at and we’ll try to post our responses as soon as possible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

snow and free stuff?

Oh no! A major snowstorm is bearing down on the winery on a Friday on a weekend that is already marked by The Big Game. I mention this because snowstorms are a business killer, people seem to hunker down during and after a snowstorm and our business slows way down.

This weekend the Big Game will also slow business, wine does not seem to be a “football drink” for most people. Maybe we need the Gallo Bowl to compete with the Bud Bowl? It has been good to see the growth of wine appreciation in general over the past ten years. One publication claims wine sales have gone up every year for the past ten on a national basis.

So, one thought would be if you need something to do this weekend, stop by and see us, we’ll be happy to see you and we’ll have a good bit of time to give you more then the usual amount of attention.

On a side note, I had been asked several months ago to speak at a fund-raiser in Gas City being held tonight and now the snow is a-coming. I hope we do not get too much to botch up the fund raiser, I support a few not-for-profit events, but this is about historical preservation, one of my hot buttons and we are glad to help out.

Another hot button of mine is how many times we get asked to donate stuff every week! The first year we did pitch in a good bit for local stuff as advertising, to let people know we are here. But we get letters from anybody and everybody now and even other states asking us to donate! Now most of these are non-profits and many are charitable institutions, but we have got to be a bit selective as to who we give to and when.

Thanks, I needed to say that, just got a call from a Union in Indy wanting three gift baskets for a meeting they were having, Arragh!

Monday, February 1, 2010

rested and ready for The Big Game

This week is a busy one in the winery, because I have not been busy doing much for the last month! As previously mentioned, January is our slow-down, de-stress time after the rush of the gift-giving season. I must admit I have accomplished a bit in both the actual de-stressing and fixing-a-few-problems arena.

We finally found a good cooler for the tasting room. We have wanted to stock locally-made cheese and a larger number of chilled wine bottles for our customers, now we can! This will allows us to have our small wine coolers just for tasting bottles.

I have had a number of requests for a Super Bowl party at the winery, especially for wine club members. I think this happened after I set up my old 25” color TV in the tasting room so we could watch the AFC Playoffs. We knew from prior experience our business would be down due to the game, so we decided we’d hang out in the winery and watch ourselves, keeping an eye on the TV and whatever customers who showed up. That amounted to less then ten people in the door from 3 pm to 6 pm and none of them cared about football. But what about the Big Game?

Now, a business cannot just turn on a TV and show the Super Bowl, the game is licensed to for-profits and even not-for-profits for a substantial fee. I heard of several churches that got in trouble for hosting Super Bowl parties without paying their fee, got to pay Caesar his tax!

I am amused by the fact the term “Super Bowl” cannot be used in an ad without paying for it. So you are hearing “the Big Game” and “Championship game” in place of the Real name of the event.

The game starts at 6 pm, we close at 6 pm, we are not having a party, so we are not worried about it. I expect most people have already made plans for where they will be to watch the Game. I hope they remember to pick up some wine to enjoy during the game, we will be open 1-6 pm day of “The Big Game”!