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Friday, 6 November 2015

Wine Woes, or post-harvest f***ups!

I was really looking forwards to a period of rest and relaxation after the harvesting and winemaking, which is of course the most stressful time of year for a small grape-grower and winemaker like myself. This is because you have to get everything right first time! If you do something wrong, you don’t get a second chance. You have to wait till next year! But I have to say that everything actually went very well this year – all my harvests went smoothly and according to plan, at the optimum dates, the fermentations all went well, and the resulting wines are coming along nicely, touch wood!

So what happened? Why can’t I rest and relax yet? Well, basically because I messed up three different orders for wines that I exported recently – at the same time as the harvesting and winemaking in fact! And not just one order, but three! So now I have to sort out the messes and placate my angry importers.

With the first pallet, which went to London, I mixed up the Sauvignon Blanc with the Airen, and I sent double quantity of SB and no Airen.

With the second pallet, which went to NY, I mislabelled the wines and used labels with the wrong vintage. Now I have to print new labels, send them over, and this angry importer will have to open all the boxes and stick the good labels over the bad ones – about 500 bottles!

And with the third pallet, which is on its way to California right now, not only did I mislabel the wines (same problem/solution as above) but I also unwitting sold to someone else, the 300 bottles of SB that this angry importer had reserved months ago. So this importer is doubly angry with me, as he has half a pallet of mislabelled wines and the other half missing entirely.

Oh woe! How embarrassing! How stupid! I'm angry at myself too! Well, everything is in the process of being sorted out. But what can I do now? I suppose that I shall just have to be much more careful in the future, ie triple-check everything, write proper lists down on paper, etc.  Maybe try not to do more than one order at a time, maybe try not to ship out during harvesting and winemaking?

More bad news: the other day, I was informed by the transport company that my California pallet had been opened in transit and 9 cases of wine stolen! I don’t know the details, but I imagine that the lorry was parked somewhere (driver having lunch?), then thieves broke into it, slashed open the plastic film wrap around the pallet, and made off with what they could.

So now I have to write a new invoice and re-do the Customs and Excise documents, which are a nightmare at the best of times. I don’t want to think about the amount of time and mental energy I’ll have to waste on this.

Even worse is the fact that 5 of the cases were a special order for a specific winestore for a specific wine that I don’t normally sell abroad, as there’s so few bottles left (Airen 2012). (Sorry JD, we’ll have to try again next year!)

Moving on to the next item in my list of f***ups:

In an attempt to compensate my UK importers for the inconvenience I caused them, I decided to come over to London and pack in a whole load of promotional events, tastings, etc to help them move my wines. So I booked my flights (yesterday Thurs 5th to Tues 10th) and here I am, writing this!  But little did I know that weekends are the worst possible time to organize tastings in restaurants or winebars – because they are all very busy at weekends obviously! Duh! How totally stupid of me! Again!

But I last I now have time to write this post, ha ha! And in fact we have managed to organize two events:

1.     Tasting (and aperitivos) at Eliott’s, at 19:00, tomorrow on Sat 7th. See details on FB.

2.     Screening of the short documentary “Spanish Grapes”, by Zev Robinson, in which I feature slightly along with other Spanish wineries (from the real wine world – not the natural wine ghetto! Ha ha)
Followed by a question and answer session with personalities from the Spanish wine world (don’t know if I'm included in that!)
Followed by a tasting of the wines featured in the documentary (including mine)
This is all happening at the Copa de Cava, starting at 18:30.

You are all invited to come to both events (if you are in London this weekend obviously). The screening is free and on me. I’m not sure if you have to pay anything for the tasting at Eliott’s – you’ll have to check the webpage.

And that’s about it. Cheers, and hope to see you soon!

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