Winegrape Farmer’s hearts were broken last Thursday when the USDA released its 2010 Preliminary Grape Crush Report.
The third largest crush in history after the 2009 crush and most heartbreaking crush in 2005, the California wine industry produced 3.58 million tons in 2010, not nearly the reduced tonnage expected prior to the report being released – speculation circulated beforehand that crush would be down between 5-15%.
Meanwhile back at the ranch we’re upping production in our Creek Block Chardonnay by 30% leaving several more bud positions on each cane to enable us to supply the demand for such beautiful, hand farmed Carneros fruit.
Why give roses this year to your valentine, when you can give the gift of Chardonnay to your winemaker who’s itching to ditch the contracts with not so good fruit, for better fruit? It’s called dating, not getting married. I’ll offer you a one year contract and we can see if we like one another, if you’re the kind of man – I mean buyer – I look for who knows something good once he’s seen it and prefer to sign on the dotted line for several years, I’ll make it worth your while. I promise.
And at the Thomson Vineyards SF Satellite Office the San Francisco ABC guys just can’t seem to get enough of me and have scheduled an appointment tomorrow in my “office” to check out just where and what they are licensing between Lake & California Streets in The Avenues. Last Tuesday they were lurking around the front of my apartment snapping pictures with a digital camera, trying to get a glimpse of something through my blinds. Why is it the ones you’re not interested in, always want you? And the ones you are interested in just keep saying, “No.”
What the fellas’ down at 71 Stevenson Street don’t seem to be able to understand is that a Type 29 Winegrape Growers License allows me to be the one wearing the pants in a relationship when I hop into bed with a winery. Over the past several weeks I’ve been practically having a not so free online communication event more reminiscent to the 49 questions eHarmony uses to expertly match you based on deep compatibility rather than a government institution. Here’s a snapshot of the first few weeks of our, “he’s way more into you than you’re into him” relationship:
“So where will you be storing the wine?” At the winery who crushes it and is a bonded 02 or 17 license holder it I answer.
“But this Type 29 License says it’s a Winegrape Growers Storage License?” Yes, it allows me to be the owner of the wine in tank or barrel at the winery who crushed it at its facility who again is a bonded licensed 02 or 17 facility. You know, kind of like when you leave your toothbrush over at someone’s house clearly marked as yours by a distinguishing color, but with their permission rather than sneaking it in alongside the toothpaste for them to discover, or discover you’ve removed later.
“Well, I’ll need to see your TTB and BATF applications.” No. First of all that’s a bit more personal than I want to get with you during the first two weeks of our torrid relationship and second I don’t need those as I’m not selling any wine for retail, there is no label, I have no trademarks. I’m essentially applying for a piece of paper that may as well be a stock brokers license to buy, sell, and trade wine on the bulk market. This protects me from my possessive winery boyfriends who may crush it, sell it and give me back what they feel I’m worth, not what I know I’m worth.
“So you’ll store this wine at XXX 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA. 94118?” Yeah. In my bathtub after I drain the bubbles out from my Valentine’s Day bubble bath I take later on tonight.
The last week has done a real number on this single millennial girl’s heart. Keep reading as this Carneros romance novel or Love/Hate manifesto unfolds. Outside of what’s going on in the vineyard, I’ve just about had it with my stalker the ABC District Office in San Francisco.
I wake up often with nightmares about this time last year when I was being broken up with on a virtual Post-it by wineries, with commitment issues, only to find them come crawling back once I’d delivered the 2009 Crush Report in hot pink trapper keeper folders decorated with sparkly I Luv You stickers. Hey – a Wine Grower – I mean a girls gotta’ do what a girls gotta’ do.
This year the relationship vibes are better and I’ve got voicemails and emails stacked up from wineries wanting dates or asking if I’d consider stop seeing other people. Black Sheep Finds, Bravium, White Cottage Ranch, Urban Legend Cellars, Lightheart Cellars, and my new BFF Kopriva are just a few. I admit it, I’m still dating around. I have to, I upped my production by 30% in the Chardonnay Man’s Man Block and as of February 14, 2011 have about 20T of clone 76 left.
The 2010 Preliminary Grape Crush Report indicates that while more and more “non winegrapes” are being pumped into wine production, upping the total tons crushed and hemorrhaging more value wine into the bulk wine market, pricing may have dropped by several percentage points, but it’s possible there may be a deficit in the Chardonnay market within the next one to two years.
And make no mistake about our online profile. The Pinot Noir and Merlot we grow at Thomson Vineyards, you can’t just pick up in a Marina or Cow Hollow bar, no, these girls are refined, intelligent, confident, put together and have already had their hearts broken one too many times. You’ll have to wine and dine them harder than the rest, because I promise you they’re worth it. So’s the girl who wears the Expensive But Worth It necklace, in and out of the vineyard.
If you need to talk to me today, I’m downstairs in my SF basement drinking bottle after bottle of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot so my stalker non-boyfriend the San Francisco ABC Office can’t question why there’s 60 cases of the stuff down there confusing yet again, the premise of the Winegrape Growers Type 29 Storage License. Just imagine how that part of the date could go tomorrow.
“So these 60 cases, you have absolutely no plans to sell them, why are they stored here?” It’s my personal single girl stash! How do you think I lure the few and far between straight men to my San Francisco apartment!?! A girl’s gotta’ differentiate herself. Go down the street and turn right. I’m sure Newsom has a few cases in his basement and doesn’t hold a Type 29 License!