I’ve held back a lot of stock, rather than release it before it was ready, and now that it’s finally going out the door; the opportunity is opened up to finally pursue some crazy endeavours that have been rattling around my brain for a while now.
To start with, I have vermouth ready for release in a month or so. The label will be With Friends, as in how it was made, and should be drunk, it’s a collaboration with a good friend of mine Rubee Dano. Basically a team of a bartender and a sommelier making vermouth, which seems like a pretty solid combination. We have better base wine than anyone else making vermouth (taken from top up tanks, and anything that doesn’t make a final blend; otherwise both would be wastage), and we’ve built it from there. Currently I think there are 18 aromatics infused in, but we’ll continue to play with experimental batches and will always be making small adjustments.
The wine label itself is also going to get a re-design. I’ve copped a lot of criticism over the past year or two for the current label, which I actually like. There’s no grape variety listed on the front label (because it’s not important, it’s only the vine, soil and everything surrounding and within that matters), and the picture has a certain whimsical nature to it, almost as if the vine has decided to get up and take a walk, that’s always resonated with me. But, maybe it’s time to re-visit the design. It’s going to shift to being relatively blank, with the wording in calligraphy. The initial idea was to do the calligraphy myself, as it should come from my hand, as flawed and true as any other human action. But let’s face it, my writing isn’t particularly eloquent, so I’m enlisting a friend to do it for me, at least until I learn.
Additionally, the grape varieties are changing. It’s a necessary evil of not owning vineyards; you follow the best sites and vines that you can. I think I’ve been exceptionally lucky so far, but to realistically expect to improve quality, I need more control and freedom in the vineyard. So, I’m buying the fruit from family (Brumfield Winery) and spending every spare second in the vineyard. These vines are old vine Bordeaux varietals. We’ll see what happens, either I know what I’m doing or I’m going to stuff this whole thing up, we’ll see I guess, but whilst I’m pretty horrendously bad at most things in life, when it comes to wine it’s usually a good idea to trust me; I think there are some very special wines coming up.
Lastly, there are a bunch of other projects in the works. Small scale distribution and an online wine shop (with a twist), but they’re not ready yet. 2018 is going to be a very exciting year, and honestly this is all a big push towards being able to build my own winery and plant my own vineyards within the next couple of years. It is again, a whimsical notion, and thoroughly unrealistic, but there’s not much that can’t be done with a few good vintages, and a lot of hard work.