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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Start Of Something New - Building the Winery: Part 1

For those that have been following my blog, though it deals primarily with the goings on in the vineyard (and I throw in a cow or chicken story every so often), it really is all about the Winery. As logic would have it, one needs grapes to make the wine, and it takes years of work to get enough grapes to be able to harvest and produce a decent amount of wine.

We are at that time in the growth cycle to be able to think about that now. Last year was our first real harvest year (we had a couple of false starts prior) and this year promises to yield even more grapes. Going from one ton of grapes to maybe 7 or 8 tons this year will be a big jump. But the crop looks real good, and where I wasn't expecting much from the Petit Verdot and the Cabernet Sauvignon, we do expect to get some off of these vines for maybe a small quantity of a Bordeaux blend. We'll see.....we haven't reached the veriason stage yet.

So as the progress chart shows, it is now time to seriously start thinking about the winery. To confuse matters, it really isn't about the winery but the Visitor's Center. We already have a building dedicated to making wine. In it we have 14 huge stainless steel tanks, our crusher-destemmer, macrobins, our filling and bottling area, along with pallets of empty bottles waiting to be filled. What we need is an attractive place to greet customers, offer them wines to taste, and hopefully purchase some of what we've made. The Visitor's Center is our means of doing that.
In the style of a Victorian Carriage House, it blends well with our adjacent home and promotes the grandeur of the early 1900's when Harry Spratley owned the house and raised carriage horses for the New York City carriage trade. For those that are as old as I am (well, maybe as old as my Father), this is the same Harry Spratley that the song "I'm just wild about Harry" was all about. Go to YouTube and punch in the name of the song and you'll hear versions from Judy Garland et al.

The Visitor's Center will have the typical tasting room of a micro-winery, plus a function room, a gift shop, a central hallway big enough to showcase goods from other Surry County businesses, and next year a small cafe and the addition of a commercial kitchen to support weddings, functions, and meetings. This Visitor's Center has been a year in planning, and this is the year to get the building of it in motion.  Ideally, we hope to have it up and running by year's end.

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