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JohnT

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Hello folks. I know I have been very quiet for quite some time and I want to bring you folks up to speed on my doings. As you might expect, this will be a long post so grab a glass of good wine and get comfortable.

In June of 2017, in a prefect “FU, I quit” moment, I retired. The wife and I drew together a plan for going forward. The plan was to sell the house up north and then move into our retirement home (already owned it) in Georgia, and to move the winery (which is attached to the house) over to the next generation of family.

I had groomed my niece and nephew to take the over the responsibility, but in the end they were just not able to take it on. They were, after all newlyweds and just not set up for it all.

So, what to do? After a tearful appeal from my brother, we did a very small amount in 2018 (about 300 liters). This angered my wife to no end! We were, after all, in the process of getting the house ready for sale. How in the world are we going to handle bottling another batch of wine in 18 months? When I told her that we could bottle in 6 months instead, she calmed down, but I knew that this was our final batch.

In 2019, I kept the wife happy and made no wine. I was convinced that this was the end and, except for just a small demijohn (perhaps?) down in Georgia, my days running the big family winery were over. I stayed away from this forum for the most part, because the though of not making decent quantities of wine completely bummed me out.

For the last eight months, I lived in Georgia. The house is in the middle of wine country with (NO LIE) over 40 wineries all within a half hour of so. I spent time making fantastic friends down there, working on making the house our home, and drowning my winemaking sorrows with some damn good local wines. I was just beginning, to get comfortable with the idea of retiring from wine making, then I get the call…

Out of the blue, my brother tells me that he is moving his office to a new location. The new office/warehouse has two large rooms that he did not have a use for. He then asked if I would like to set up the family winery there.

I had two things to say… “Are you kidding me???” and… “SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME???”…

What a great idea! I had not sold any of the equipment so we were good there and since my brother rented a truck to move his office, we could use that truck to move the winery at no additional cost. We quickly made plans for the move and (YEA!!!) have a crush the year.

When the word went out to the rest of the family, I was surprised by their overjoyed reaction. I never realized that our past crushes were enjoyed so much. After further planning, we agreed to make a limited amount of 754 liters this year.

So, just like that, my winery journey continues.

We moved the winery last week. I spent 3 days cleaning, scrubbing, and setting up the new winery. By Friday I had it all done. I finished just in time to go home and cook for the crew coming Saturday. We toyed with the idea of simply ordering up some take-out food, but we realized that this grand opening called for more traditional food. So it was goulash, paprikash, and home-made spaetzle for everyone.



On Saturday, at 5am, I loaded up the car with food, chairs, and some wine to drink after we were done. We met at the new winery by 7am. After unloading my car we headed out to pick up the grapes. We settled on making three batches….

1 500 liter batch of 1/3 merlot and 2/3 cabernet.

1 200 liter batch of petit sarah

and a 54 liter batch of a grape I never heard of (Tebold).

All of the grapes had high sugar and low acid (which I adjusted).



It took only 1 hour to get the truck loaded and we were back to the winery by 10am. With a crew of 11 people, we had the grapes crushed and in the fermenters, everything hosed off, and ready for a sip of wine. I had brought our 2009 cab franc, our 2014 petit sarah, our 2016 barrel reserve, and our 2018 cabernet. To start us off, though, I opened a Stag’s Leap Artemis that I was saving for a special occasion

The food I made was a big hit. Most all of it went. For the next several hours we sat around told stories, laughed and had the best time.

By 3:30 it was all over.

Sunday, I spent half a day cleaning and putting stuff away. Was home by 1pm to watch the Giants lose again.



This week, it is all about punching down twice a day and getting ready for pressing this Saturday.


Pics to follow
 

JohnT

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Pics.

the new winery consists of two adjoining rooms, the fermentarium and a lab/storage room. The first pic is taken from inside the lab while the second is taken from inside the fermentarium. I still have 2 tanks yet to come!

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A view of the sorting line. Many hands made light work..

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And just a couple of general shots during crush...

FullSizeR.jpgFullSizeR_01.jpg
FullSizeR_02.jpg
 

dralarms

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@JohnT , I questioned your blend of 2/3 merlot and 1/3 cab. I thought to myself “why”. So I went and got 2 bottles and did a mix (no measuring), and wow. That sure blends nice. Thanks
 

sour_grapes

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Great to hear, John! Thanks for sharing!
I have the same question as Mike.
 

JohnT

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@JohnT , I questioned your blend of 2/3 merlot and 1/3 cab. I thought to myself “why”. So I went and got 2 bottles and did a mix (no measuring), and wow. That sure blends nice. Thanks
I normally do 80/20 cab Merlot. It worked very well in the past. I changed it to up the Merlot when I noticed that the cab looked and tasted "lighter" than usual. I like a big bold red.
 

Kraffty

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I'm sure I speak for many here by saying "welcome back, we've missed you and especially your crush stories". It sounds like a great time once again for you and your family and friends. Your operation looks almost professional now. I'd also like to know where "Home" is for your new winery, closer to Georgia or New Jersey?
Check in more often if you can.
All the best!
 

Juniper Hill

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That is a really nice, heartfelt story. Glad you were able to resurrect your winery. I'll be facing the same issue when I eventually retire (8+ years away) , and am not sure how I'll handle things.

I visited the wine region of Georgia about 10 years back - it's in the mountains, right? Wife had booked us a little weekend get away after a conference in Atlanta. Purely by accident, as I didn't know anything about Georgia wines. Tried my first muscadines and Chamboucin - both unique and very good. Very nice folks.
 
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