I promised a cool annoucement and today I’m delivering. But first I’m going to subject you to our tale of licensing woe. If you’d rather skip ahead to the goodies, just skim down to the heading “Follow the Evolution of a Pinot Noir” below.
Our Tale of Licensing Woe
I mentioned earlier that we had some licensing issues this year, and that was quite the understatement. Early this year (March to be exact) I contacted a very reputable compliance consulting firm and hired them to shepherd Capozzi LLC through the maze of federal, state and local regulations that you must traverse to make and sell wine commercially. They had many years in business and after talking with the owner I felt they were a perfect choice to help us get the nasty process of getting an AP (a license that allows you to legally share space in a community winery as if it were your own) out of the way.
Since we weren’t yet ready to break ground on the winery itself, I decided to sign on with a new custom crush outfit in Santa Rosa called Vinify. It was their first year and the owner Justin seemed excited about providing a space for all sorts of small local producers to make a small batches of high quality wine. His terms were very generous (unfettered access to lab instruments, free dry ice etc.) and the folks making wine there there seemed like a good bunch. I was excited to get some wine into production in advance of our actually building our winery for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was to have some cash flow coming in our first year in the new winery. Things were looking good.
Keep Your Friends Close…And Your Consultants Closer
After a couple emails and a telephone call with the consultant I figured things were being handled and put the whole compliance business out of my mind. Silly Josh. Then June rolled around and I noticed that every other producer at Vinify had their notice posted on the door of the winery. Everyone except for us. I emailed our compliance expert, who had done the same work for the rest of Vinify’s clients, and discovered that our application had somehow “fallen through the cracks.” Nothing had been done. At all.
So long story long, we were SOL. Without an AP license Capozzi is unable to make or sell wine commercially in the US, much less ship to all the states represented in our mailing list. A little disappointed (ok, a lot disappointed) I contacted Morgan, Alan and some other folks and sold off the majority of our grapes.
In the end it was my job to keep on top of the consultant, so the blame lies with me and I take full responsibility for the failure. But at the same time I was shaking my fists at the sky wondering what good consultants are for if they can just arbitrarily forget about clients.
I also racked my brain to try and come up with some way to take this huge disappointment and turn it into an opportunity. I especially wanted to find a way to try and delight the folks who have been so supportive of our little venture at such an early stage.
Well, here’s what I came up with. I’m excited about it and I hope the folks who’ve been following our progress will be as well.
Follow The Evolution of a Pinot Noir
In the next month or so (after malolactic fermentation is finished) I’m happy to report that we’ll be sending out two 375 ml half-bottles to each of the folks on the samples list. The wine in the half-bottles will be from the lot I just finished fermenting – naked, with no oak influence. One bottle will be to open and taste immediately, the other to save.
I’ll follow the initial two half-bottles with another two 375s after barrel aging is complete (roughly a year from now) so that you can get a feel for the evolution of pinot as it takes on oak flavors and aromas. Again, one bottle will be to open immediately and the second will be to save.
Finally 18 months from today I’ll send a full 750 ml, bottle aged pinot to each person on the samples list. Now’s the chance for each of you to crack open the two 375s you’ve been dutifully cellaring. You’ll be able to pour a glass of each of the pinots, each sample from a different stage of development, compare them to the finished wine and reflect on the interesting changes that occur during Ã‰levage.
Hopefully you’re as excited about this experiment as I am. I’m not positive, but it’s a distinct possibility that something like this hasn’t been done before. We’ll truly be pinot pioneers! Sweet.
So to sum up, here’s what’ll be headed your way at various times over the next year if you’re on the samples list:
- Two 375 ml bottle of ’07 pinot post malolactic but pre-oak
- Two 375 ml bottles of ’07 pinot post barrel aging but pre-bottle aging
- One full 750 ml bottle of finished, bottle aged ’07 pinot
If we have any extra after the initial samples go out I’ll open up the samples list to newcomers. Also, technically these wine samples are personal gifts from me, a home winemaker, to you. You won’t be charged anything, including shipping. This is to keep everything (hopefully) on the up-and-up with the Feds.
I’ll be sending an email out to those of you on the list later this week to confirm that you would like to participate.
Free A’s Tickets
And finally, I have 4 tickets to Saturday’s (Sept 29) Oakland A’s game vs. the hated Las Angeles Angels of Anaheim available to anyone who wants them!
All I ask is that you snap a photo of yourself at the game wearing the shirt and send it in to me. Fair trade if you ask me.
Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like them.
Thanks again for reading. And samples list people, I’ll be talking to you soon!