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Friday 24 January 2014

First Post of 2014: Vineyard and Winery Tasks

Good morning, Happy New Year, etc. I hope you all survived.

Well, it's 2014 already, and I've got lots of decisions to make, chickens to stuff, and joints to roll, as they say :)

I'm just back from a long-ish break in Scotland (rain, rain and more rain, every single day!) where I hardly ever logged on to the internet, did almost no social media at all, and generally just slothed out, by watching TV, and occasionally going out for a pint of beer or a glass of wine! And a well-deserved break it was too, even if I say so myself, after an intense 6-month period of non-stop frenetic cleaning, scraping, painting, fixing up the new bodega, followed by weeks of harvesting and fermenting loads of grapes and wines!

Now basically, I have to settle down and get on with the following:

1. Pruning/tending my vineyards

2. Selling all the wines I just made

3. Deciding which wine fairs to go to, if any

4. Beautifying the new bodega

1. Pruning / Tending my Vineyards

I have till round about April to do all the pruning. At the time of writing this (Jan 2014) the leaves have fallen off the vines, which means that the vines have become dormant for the duration of the winter and have drawn back the sap and nutrients into their roots and trunk. So it's OK to start pruning because you won't be removing any of that sap and nutrients, which will come in very hand for the vines in spring when they wake up and start sprouting new leaves.

I've found that there's no point trying to schedule this activity, and I'll just go to the vineyards and prune whenever I have free time and when I'm not doing Activities 2., 3. or 4. above.

This year I have an extra vineyard to prune, in El Tiemblo, which is an old-vine Garnacha vineyard. About 1 hectare. I think maybe about 70-80 years old, but I'll have to check that with the owner.

(photos pending)

2. Selling all the Wines I Just Made

Yup, there's no point filling up the bodega with bottles of wine, is there? I have to ship them all out.

Basically, this will involve me sitting down in front of my computer and writing emails to importers all over the world. Except for the USA that is, where I already have Jose Pastor Selections. ("Hi, José"!)  :)

But it's not that easy! Before writing off emails, I'll have to do some research and some due diligence, because it's not a good idea to work with just any old importer! I have to try to find importers that will be good for me, and who I will be good for. My wines have to fit in with their existing portfolio and they have to be able to place my wines in the right type of outlets. And so forth. Then, after the flurry of emails, I will probably have to send samples. And then, hopefully, there will be a flurry of orders, and will have to bottle, cork, label, box my wines and ship 'em out! :)

3. Deciding which wine fairs to go to, if any

Basically, the basic criterion here for me is the cost: air-fare or petrol, accomodation, shipping of wine, and living expenses while there (ie breakfast, lunch, dinner, local transport, etc).  Is it worth it? ie, will any possible extra sales cover all these expenses?  Well, in my limited experience of wine fairs so far, the answer is absolutely not!!!   On the other hand, a wee trip abroad to a wine-fair is good for the soul, and it's nice to chat and drink wines with other producers and with a different wine-loving public.

I`m juggling with these fairs:

- REAL Fair (London) in April
- RAW Fair (London) in May
- Villa Favorita in April (Italy)
- H2O Natural (Tarragona, Spain) in July
- others...

4. Beautifying the New Bodega

There's lots of work to de here! Even though we worked hard for three months or so this summer to get the bodega up to standard, there's still a lot that we can to to make it actually look nice. At the moment we've just done the basic minimum, legally required works and installations in order to get our permits and licenses.

Ideas include:
  • Making a vegetable garden so I can plant fresh veg!
  • Putting up some poles and wires so I can train so grape vines along them, to create shade and a nice spot to lounge under
  • Selling all the scrap metal we've found
  • Throwing out all the other rubbish and rubble we've found
  • ...other ideas!
Well, that's enough tasks and good intentions for now. Lets just see how it goes!

(photos pending! no time to seek them out dammit. Publish and be damned I say)

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