Those of you who've been reading Vinestress know that this blog started when we purchased a vineyard property in Missouri with the intention of producing a commercial wine crop. I covered everything from amending the soil to hemming and hawing over what grape varietals to plant. I also documented successes and failures in my little test vineyard.
But now a job opportunity brought us to Oregon, and we live in a zero-lot-line house in a cozy little town on the edge of the Coast Range. We're landless. Our vineyard property is for sale (attention buyers who need a good vineyard site in central Missouri!) And we're surrounded by grapes, out there, shimmering in the late afternoon sun, teasing us, reminding us of what we left behind.
The job is good and the area is gorgeous. We're surrounded by great wine country. But we miss our vineyard and as harvest approaches here in the Willamette Valley, I'm realizing that there's no way I can remain on the sidelines.
So I've concocted a new plan.
This blog will no longer be about establishing a vineyard in Missouri, but instead will be about starting a wine label from scratch in the Pacific Northwest. As before, I'll document the whole process on this blog, from research to actual steps I take every step along the way. My goal will be to lease an acre or two of vineyard in production, manage it myself through the growing season, bring in the harvest and have it custom crushed to my specifications, and eventually bottle and sell the wine. Instead of growing on our own land, we'll outsource everything. But we'll do the work in the vineyards ourselves, as that's where I've been focusing my studies and experimentation over the past eight years.
I plan to be transparent with the whole process. I'll post the initial business plan for this wine label over the next couple weeks. I don't expect to make any money at this, at least not at first. I was bitten by the wine bug years ago. It's a strange condition. My good friend Michael Amigoni calls people with our affliction Grape Nuts. When someone has the bug, they can't be deterred. No amount of failure...badly made wine, disease ridden crops, killer freezes that wipe out your vines, hail, tractor breakdowns and so on...can dissuade someone from making wine once they've been overcome by the obsession.
So, after a cross-country move and a complete change of direction, I'm back. Wish me luck. And I'll see you in the vineyard.