Friday, March 19, 2010

Post Wineries Unlimited Blues

So, Wineries Unlimited, came and went like the wind this year. Each year I so much look forward to Wineries Unlimited. Each year seems to move so much faster than it's predecessor. How is it so? Wineries Unlimited has been over now for weeks. Damn!

Well, one of the most heavily attended classes I saw, was the packed classroom for Growing High Quality Wines in Extreme Conditions. It was very informative, and it went very, very well. Another popular class was Self-Distribution. Many of this years classes were dealing with increasing profits, growing better fruit, better wine making techniques, and packaging and sales. It was a very practical conference, and one that was perfect post the awful growing season and fiscal year that was 2009. Kudos to Richard Leahy and the magazine staff for a solid curriculum.

I think there were fewer people and vendors this year, as Viniculture 2010 was in Rochester only weeks before. But it seemed a solid show, and I saw many faces.

Mike Migliore of Whitecliff Vineyards of the Hudson Valley was there.

Winemaker Brad McCarthy of Montfair and several other Virginia wineries was there as well.

There was much cautious optimism about this year's weather. Many north east wine makers had just not seen a growing season like that in their entire lives. "I saw guys who where growing wine for twenty or thirty years walk away from their vineyards with nothing," commented vineyard manager extraordinaire Steve Mudd. He said he never worked so hard as he did last year, trying to save crops. Luck and site location were at an optimum last year.

Equipment, both vineyard and winemaking, as well as bottle, corks, and label seemed at the core of everyone's interest. Pricing was the big talk in the aisles. Everyone wanted to raise prices, reduce coasts, and pull as much profit from their businesses as possible.
As usual it was good to see friends and familiar faces. Each year one looks forward to chatting about business, winemaking, and stories. This year's event was no different.

Laughs. Work. Knowledge. Not a bad combination. The trip was well worth it! Now it's back to work. Nothing to look forward to, but bud break. Which is not a bad thing, but you can;t hang out and have a glass of wine with those buds. I actually miss it already.