Harvest Wrap Ups and 2011 Vintage Reviews are so passe. Instead I thought I’d just call your attention to three things The Farmer and I are thankful for this holiday season and leave it at that.
1. Above Average Winery Partners
I often detail the less than respectable dealings and interactions I have with some wineries and winemakers in this Valley in order to convey actual terms on which some believe it’s acceptable to operate and do business around here.
In the case of the wineries below, I think it’s important they are recognized as entities who actually acknowledge and pay respect to The Farmer’s massive contribution to making wine. Because remember, without The Farmer fruit wouldn’t be able to get to The Winemaker and what would that leave you to drink on Thanksgiving?
Within the week of harvesting nearly 15 tons of Chardonnay for Frank Family Vineyard I received a very nice phone call from the winery’s administrative offices in Calistoga. “Hello, Jennifer, this is so and so at Frank Family and I’m just wondering where to send payment to for the fruit you delivered? If you can call me back with your address, I’d be happy to get this payment in the mail to you.” I nearly rear ended the grape delivery truck in front of me on Highway 29 listening to the voicemail. What!?! A winery, calling me, to see where to, what!?! Pay me. The juice hadn’t even gone through fermentation.
I’m completing invoices this week, but Growers are currently financing hundreds of wineries statewide while paying their own harvest bills, fending off the creditors. So it means a lot to us, when a check arrives without having to do the administrative action on our part of invoicing. I mean after all, we already wrote the contract stating the payment terms. Little did I know MBA actually stood for Mediocre Business Admin work when I footed that bill.
This week, another winery, Kopriva sent their check along for 50 percent payment. Sans invoice. The even better part of this particular story, is that winemaker Myles Monigle hasn’t even finished stirring the lees of his Robert Young Clone 17 Chardonnay from Thomson Vineyards Block 7. But, being a farmer himself, Myles realized someone’s gotta pay the harvest crews. Thank You Myles – truly – from The Farmer.
2. Neighborly Growers
The Farmer goes out of his way, often, to help those out who need it. He’s currently obsessing over one ZD Wines Cellar Master’s residential electrical service panel which needs a bit of work before he can give Chevy Chase a run for his money and really get to work on his holiday lighting plan…
This year there were some very neighborly growers who returned The Farmer’s favors and we appreciate it.
Outside of the media frenzy detailing the especially successful but incredibly challenging season we all had (get a new line); the association spin doctors heralding quality quality quality (please someone shoot me); the hanger on-ers taking me to task via social media for telling the truth (like I’ve said before, you can’t handle the truth); and those of you who even in November continue to recount the wet spring followed by the disease pressured fall (okay, okay, we get it already) what really went on during the 2011 vintage was equivalent to playing a heated game of Tetris.
Stacks and stacks of macrobins laid around for weeks during September with no one to use them. Yet pieces like the Napa Register report by AVA projected that harvest was moving right. along. Then, within and instant, Growers couldn’t find a macrobin to save their lives. I assembled macrobins for one 10 ton Chardonnay pick from Servin Lopez Vineyard Management, Nunez Vineyard Management, Thomson Vineyards, and three rag tag bins I have no idea where they came from marked “XVM” maybe a White Crane Winery bin was in the mix too…
When I wasn’t busy fighting for macrobins, I was busy fighting for chemicals. Ag Unlimited and Napa Valley Ag both sent guys south to the Central Valley to pick up the last of the PHD fungicide. The last pallets of the stuff in the state. Napa Valley Ag had it one minute and in the time it took me to drive up Silverado Trail to pick it up…it was gone. Thankfully my right hand woman (who drives a mean tracklayer) Lucia Hossfeld of Hossfeld Vineyards was with, we were looking fly and somehow managed to sweet talk the Napa Valley Ag PCAs out of one of the ten bottles I needed to get started spraying. PCAs Andy Wilson (Ag Unlimited) and JR Beatty (Napa Valley Ag), let us know where we can send your Christmas Bonuses…
Speaking of spraying, and along the lines of neighborly relations, I’m very thankful to Walsh Vineyard Management for taking the time to install a spray tank fill station mid vineyard between the Newton Vineyard property line and ours. I mean they weren’t busy either, so they put a guy and one shovel out there installing a faucet while they too waited…and waited…to harvest Chardonnay.
Just one pick ran amiss this year, allowing me, to make up the difference by producing Thomson Vineyard’s first licensed and bonded vintage of Chardonnay and Merlot with the help and assistance of neighborly growers like the Robledo Brothers at Robledo Family Wines.
Finally, Abel Tirado and Mark Greenspan of Advanced Viticulture. Pinophiles, Abel has some delicious Sonoma Pinot Noir available in 2012 and he was generous enough to let me borrow his bin trailers during harvest when we ran short on those too. I sold a truckload of Abel’s Pinot to Mark who was working on behalf of his client David Bruce Winery. We did the deal via Twitter which brings my total tonnage sold via Twitter to 50 or 60 tons over the past two seasons.
If you’re a Grower who is interested in my help in 2012 you can Tweet The Millennial Daughter @ThomsonVyrds. I welcome traditional phone calls and emails as well. Feel free to contact me. Brokers won’t sell your fruit for as much as another Grower can. They don’t have front line experience duking it out behind Laird’s processing facility for the very last macrobin!
3. 2011 Harvest…It’s OVER.
I allowed myself to listen to just one Christmas song yesterday. I’m currently downing my last pumpkin spice latte before transitioning to egg nog. Harbaugh vs Harbaugh football is on today. Alabama is already projected to be at the BCS game come January. Come February I plan to be in Argentina and Chile. Followed up by Tahoe spring skiing. ahem…it’s rumored to be another wet spring…
Meanwhile, The Farmer has spent the past few weeks hanging with the ladies. Racing around in my green Karmann Ghia passing it off as his own. Still working on learning his smartphone. Perusing the online sales at REI for a sick pair of all mountain skis. And searching for his taxes so we can put an offer in on the next chapter of Thomson Vineyards.
All of that aside…2011 Harvest is indeed OVER. And for that we’re very thankful!
To Be Continued and Happy Holidays,
The Farmer & Millennial Daughter