Open Thanksgiving 11am-7pm

Wine tasting and small or large plates: Turkey with side dishes including stuffing, scalloped & mashed potatoes, baked pumpkin, roasted vegetables, appetizers & desserts as individual small plates @$5 each or a complete dinner (appetizer, turkey with 3 sides & dessert) @$25 while supplies last. Reservations recommended for turkey ($10 non-refundable reservation fee applied toward your purchase).

Decision Time

Initially I was thinking that this could be a weekend gig & I would eventually find something in high tech, maybe in Sacramento of Folsom or something I could work from home. After working on the vineyard and getting ready to bottle some bulk wine we purchased form a local winery I have decided to make this my full time job

Nice Wine – Time To Bottle It

After sampling a wide variety of the bulk wine available I found a nice assortment of reds. These include a excellent Zinfandel, Primativo, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and a Malbec/Petit Verdot blend. I plan on using some of the Zin to blend with the Primativo and bottle some stand alone.

Now we need some wine to sell

The winery & vineyard came with some wine inventory including an estate Petite Syrah and a Tempanillo/Petite Syrah blend. Most of the local wineries offer a wider variety that includes a number of reds, at least one white and maybe a rose. California has a very active bulk wine market & we should be able to find several wines that we like.

Equipment Upgrades

After some online research and discussions with other winemakers it looks like wine making and computing have one thing in common: quality out is directly related to quality in. Since the grapes I am starting with input quality depends on front end processing. Some of the winemakers I have talked to rely on the picking crews for this but others use an additional preprocessing step.

As you might expect there’s all kinds of fancy gadgets including robotic & optical sorters (which cost more than I am willing to invest right now for this). If you are curious about this equipment check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY9R9igdiFw&t=9s to see one in action.

I decided to add a sorting table to aid in manual separation of waste (leaves & stems) and removal of grapes that are under ripe or damaged. I am also replacing the current crusher-destemer with a destemmer that I will use before crushing the grapes – the order does matter – crushing first can introduce bitter flavors if the grape seeds get crushed and “green” flavors from the stems.

Next Steps

Now that we own a winery what do we do next? With the Covid-19 pandemic I don’t plan on opening the tasting room until Josy & I are both vaccinated. In the mean time we need to find some additional wine to bottle and make some equipment purchases.

We Are Buying A Winery

We have a contract to buy the place. What do we have to do next?

  1. Transferring Licenses – State License from the ABC as a wine grower
    • We have to get a “sellers permit” first
    • Oh that’s part of the whole sales tax thing as well
  2. Federal permits as well?
    • Yes – what used to be the BATF (never did understand why firearms are here)
    • Now it is known as the TTB
  3. And the county
  4. Good thing the sellers agent has a license transfer expert available

Well that didn’t work

Out bid on that one – back to the search. Good thing there’s several out there:

  1. Smaller but definitely a operational winery – visited the tasting room – wine is good. Ferments in the picking bins? Seems a bit low tech
  2. Nice small house, great grapes (tasted the wine at the winery they sell their grapes to – very nice), No tasting room or winery
  3. A larger parcel (>40AC about 20 planted), small house – needs work – private road…
  4. moderate house, moderate winery w/ licensed tasting room – Fermenting in the picking bins – guess it’s standard practice for some Micro-Wineries
  5. Wait – here’s something interesting. A nice building with a tasting room, commercial kitchen (yet another license) 2000sq/ft wine making area on the lower level, Stainless steel tanks, nice press – Equipment is not as fancy as the one in Plymouth but it’s a step up from the others we have been looking at. about 6AC planted, good well, a pond and interesting, water rights for the pond – let’s take a swing at this one.