Lieb Behind the Scenes – June 2019
HOW IS IT SUMMER? Well, unofficially at least. I think what’s throwing me off is how cool it’s been. High 60’s and low humidity are my jam but certainly not the beach and BBQ weather I expect in June. Regardless, it’s here. And we’re ready for it!
At Lieb, we’re in full “on season” swing. Our tasting room and patio are decked out with new furniture and umbrellas. Our Sunday summer music schedule is on the books, and we’re looking forward to our 6th Annual Summer Solstice Party. Last year’s salsa band was such a hit, we booked them again, and #TeamLieb has been fighting over who’s going to work that day. Good music, good wine and a killer sunset – what beats that?
At Bridge Lane, we’re getting ready to host our 4th Annual North Fork Rosé Crawl this weekend. We started the crawl 4 years ago with ZERO expectations. Would anyone take it seriously? Would people want to participate? Whelp, the answers were “yes” and “yes.” We’re so psyched that the crawl has turned into a thing. We’re also psyched to welcome new partner wineries this year. Shinn and Sherwood, get ready to #roséallday.
At the winery, Russell is building new tanks, installing a new, more eco-conscious waste water management system and starting to get ready for harvest. He’s also been traveling around a bit, meeting with local growers and working on securing more grapes to supplement our Bridge Lane production next year. You guys are drinking so much Bridge Lane wine, we don’t have enough of our own grapes to keep up with demand!
Because of spring being relatively cool, the vineyard is about 2 weeks behind schedule in terms of growth. According to Russell, slow growth this time of year is perfectly ok as long as we get enough heat and sun this summer to catch us up. The next stages to lookout for in the vineyard are flowering and fruit set, which is when baby grapes begin to form. Last year fruit set happened the first week in July. Check out our Insta to see how this year compares.
In wholesale, Mike’s been on the road non-stop. In the past couple months, he’s been to MA, RI, VT and now NC, meeting with our distributors and spending time at some of the shops and restaurants that are carrying our wines. We added both ME and VT to our footprint this year, and for various reasons, changed distributors in RI, NY, NC and SC. There’s been a lot of “movement” in wholesale, but we like it that way. New, excited distributor partners mean more of our product getting out in our markets.
On a related note, we’ve been hearing from a bunch of you in states where we don’t yet distribute, asking us when you’ll be able to find our wines at your local wine shops. Thank you! We appreciate you wanting us! Just know that we’re working on it. Florida is next on our radar as I’ve mentioned in the past. We just haven’t yet been able to nail down the right partner there. Miami needs our cans! We hear you. We’re on it.
In terms of bigger things on my mind or happening behind the scenes, I don’t have anything too pressing to report right now, but I will take this opportunity to let you in on two new things in development. We put a lid on “new” this year because we felt that after 4 consecutive years of rebranding and product launches, we needed to let our current branding and product line-up settle in. It was time to take a breath and focus on what we were already doing.
That philosophy worked for about 5 months. Now the ants are back in our pants, and here’s what we’re working on for 2020.
(No one outside of #TeamLieb knows this yet so consider yourself an insider!)
First, our Lieb labels. All this talk and buzz around our Bridge Lane alternative packaging and we’ve admittedly been neglecting our mama brand. Our Lieb wines have been getting better and better thanks to Russell, but our labels haven’t. They need a little love. In 2014 we updated them with a clean, contemporary look. A rustic, hand stamped treatment on the “L” rounded out the aesthetic and spoke to the modern, rustic vibe in our tasting barn. I like this look. It suits us. But it could use a little sprucing. Same elements, fresh new layout perhaps. Our creative exploratory (as they call it in the marketing biz) commences this week. Can’t wait to show you what we come up with!
As for new development #2, I’m not going to go full spoiler on this one but what I will say is that many of you have told us that you’d really love if we introduced a Bridge Lane canned wine with some sparkle. We heard you.
Stay tuned and thanks as always for listening!
General Manager & Certified Sommelier