Sunday, November 27, 2011

We Wear Many Hats

Brad Post:

When most people think of working in a winery they probably conjure images of the winemaker, the tasting room attendant, or someone out in the vineyard tending the vines. And for large winery operations it's probably a valid conceptualization, however, for most of us in the wine business, those of us in a small-to-mid sized winery, we wear many hats.

In 2005 I began playing around with making wine and shortly thereafter enrolled in an enology (wine science) program.  By 2008 my interests took me to a local winery where, until June, I volunteered to learn winery operations and gained a great deal of knowledge.  With my shiny new wine making credentials in hand and my college teaching baggage behind me, I sought full time employment.

The wine gods must have been smiling on me because, in short order, I found myself up to my neck in a job, whose making was my own.  You see in these parts of the country it isn't often a guy can find full time employment in a winery, frankly because most operations are small family-run enterprises, but I was lucky.

Understanding wine from the perspective of a winemaker, and as a vocal advocate for a regional wine industry, was a bonus as I began my new endeavor.  As the External Relations Manager, a fancy new title that captures everything from public and social media relations, writing and editing, to my main focus - strengthening and building a wholesale program, I wear many hats.

Some days I visit potential wholesale/retail accounts, other days I deliver wines, many days are filled with scheduling my volunteer wine ambassadors monthly wine tastings.  There are days when I work behind the tasting room bar serving guests, while other times I shoot a short video and post on YouTube, but all times I am thrilled to be part of a growing local wine industry.

I'd like to think that I am somehow special in this way but I know I am not.  I meet many colleagues who wear the same hats, perhaps in different ways, but we are all trying hard to do it right.

The days become weeks and weeks blend together too quickly.  The Summer events are now the snapshots I visit on my Facebook photo album, and our harvest, which began in late August finally reached its zenith last week with the delivered Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel.  I rode shotgun during the fermentation while the winemaker took a week-long vacation.  Another hat.  Working in the cellar doing Punch Downs and Pump-Over operations was enjoyable and brought me back to my wine making roots.  I've missed that.

Can't help but wonder what's in store as the next year approaches and what style of hat I'll be wearing. 

Cheers, my wine friends!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

NV Freixenet, Cordon Negro, Brut, Spain

Terry post:

Sparkling wine and Champagne are associated with special occasions. I once read that over 70% of the sparkling wine and Champagne consumed in America was reserved for parties, celebrations and other non-ordinary days. Only around 30% of those wines being consumed during non-special times such as ordinary dining.

Sparklers can be reliable friends for pairing with foods when nothing else seems to fit. Having characteristics which are both bold and subtle I am fearless in pairing sparklers with virtually any food. They go with anything!

It was Winston Churchill who famously consumed vast quantities of French Champagne with oysters during with colleagues during late night political ramblings at his country home, "Chartwell". While I have not had a Churchill Champagne/Oysters night myself: it remains one of my bucket list.

My impressions:

Light-gold in the glass.

Fragrant with flowers and green apple most prominent when first poured. As the wine warms in the glass I noted a more pronounced citrus fragrance.

Wonderful acidity but not to the point of overwhelming. Very food friendly. I have paired this sparkler with omelets, curry dishes and Alfredo topped pasta all to great success.

Long-lasting citrus finish.

I continue to be impressed with this wine. I have enjoyed it for several years now and found it to be a reliable friend. It is a very good wine at a very reasonable price making it a spectacular value in the sparkling wine category.

You don't need a special occasion to drink this sparkler. At the price and quality this is an every day wine which should not be passed by.

Highly recommended.

$9.00ish at the Fort Belvior PX.

~ Terry