With my coffee in hand, I am starting my day--as many of your are--with a heightened level of uncertainty. Over the past three weeks there hasn't been one day that presented itself with any resemblance of what I'd consider normal or certain. And I'd be a fool if I didn't say that I'm scared, and I'm sure that on some level we all are. But maybe a little fear is a great fuel for motivation. I've seen it everywhere. I've seen people fiercely supporting one another, relentlessly buying local to keep their favorite mom & pop shop afloat, crafting masks and shields, donating time and money and resources to a greater good. And sure there are some naysayers that will never get it and just want to push an agenda, but f*** that noise, the good has BY FAR outweighed the bad.
For me personally, this situation has presented me with two things--reflection and action...
Reflection has come in the form of a question: where do I want to be when the dust settles? I've been candid with everyone from the start about my business. I started off as a kid, fresh out of college on a shoestring budget with aspirations of being a businessman. I spoke at Alfred State's graduation last year and told all of the graduating class that "from what I can see, I'm only 1.5 million dollars away from being a millionaire." All jokes aside, I've been very successful in many other ways and still managed to create a great life with a great wife and two pups in a modest house. But, this crisis has got me thinking about the future and what I REALLY want to do. And that circles back around to the winery. I've been reinvesting my time (when I'm not making hand sanitizer with Kevin), into getting my wines where I want them and I'm going to (slowly) re-start my vineyard. We've got a few acres of land that is suitable for grapes. And we had some vines there, but I truthfully didn't know what I was doing at the time and planted varietals that were not cold hardy enough for my zone. So, I'm replanting my vineyards with a new cold hardy grape that I've been doing a lot of research on and should be perfect for the winery. If nothing else, it has rebirthed my passion for agriculture!
Action has been displayed through the hand sanitizer program that Cider Creek started. Although we are local "competitors," I can't think of a better group of people to be doing this with. I cannot thank Kevin enough for bringing me into this project. Him and his crew (which there is quite a bit of great people in his crew) have reinforced some faith in humanity for me. Carlton from Krooked Tusker is just as selfless and one of the best people I've come across in the industry. Chris Missick too has been an outstanding individual, a wealth of knowledge, and political leader during this time. I'm a fan of superhero comics and movies and this is like the real life Avengers team. Except we aren't battling Thanos. We are battling COVID-19 through the power of ethanol!!!!!
So brining this opening to our newsletter full circle, times are uncertain, but it has motivated me in a great way. Attached to this newsletter is a bit on an upcoming event, as well as information on the sanitizer and some vineyard news. Thanks for continuing to support the cause! The Brute Pack rocks!
Virtual Stem & Stein Club
Tuesday, April 7th at 7:00pm
We joined the boatloads of other people doing the whole Facebook Live thing. And at first, I was hesitant, but we had SO MUCH FUN, we are making it a weekly occurrence. This week I'm talking about "tools of the trade" such as stemware, decanting, and so on. I'll also be talking about Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and some Sparkling Wine. My wife joins me and we talk circles about wine, while sipping it! You can join in and comment away! The comments last time were great! We got everything from people just saying hi, to technical questions, to even some good jokes! We loved it, and it was a way to keep in contact with some great--and very missed--customers and friends!!
A Vineyard Reborn
I am falling back in love with everything agriculture and specifically viticulture. Some of the most selfless people are farmers, and I've always wanted to farm in some aspect. As I age (I'll be 30 this week, btw) I have been embracing the idea of homesteading more and more. Now more than ever to be self-sustaining is critical. And when it comes to my business, I've relied on purchasing grapes by the tonnage over the past 7 years (and I still will have to for the foreseeable future). However, it has prompted me to put more love and care into my own vineyard. I went through yesterday and pulled my existing vines that are not cold hardy enough for our zone and am beginning to prep the land for a replant in May. My goal is to add a percentage of vines each year until I get roughly 3 acres planted. That will give me (after vines are mature) a sustainable amount of grapes for my own tiny production. The goal with the wine is to be the best, most elusive, downright impressive cult wine on the east coast. I think we can do it!
Cider Creek, Krooked Tusker, Bellangelo, and Wild Brute have been working tirelessly to fill orders. We've temporarily disabled our request form until we get through the existing orders. Once we do, we will reactivate the link and keep pushing out that sanitizer! Stay safe Brute Pack!!!