Lieb Behind the Scenes – September 2019

Guys, I’m wearing a sweater and drinking hot coffee in the office right now, and I LOVE IT. Welcome back Fall! We’ve missed you on the North Fork. Fall is always a bitter-sweet season for me, though. “Sweet” because of the crisp, refreshing weather, beautiful sunsets, fall foliage, my gloriously comfortable (albeit less than flattering) fall wardrobe, and of course the excitement of harvest. “Bitter” because it means winter is only a few months away. But, let’s focus on the positive, Ami. Fall is here, and it’s pretty awesome.

So what’s been going on?

All. The. Things.

We started picking last week. Harvest 2019 has officially arrived. Now I don’t want to jinx it, but September weather conditions can really make or break a growing season, especially for our red wines, and so far September has been SHOWING UP. Dry, warm, sunny on repeat. If Mother Nature keeps this trend going, we’ll be heading for a solid vintage. And maybe, just maybe, our red grapes will all fully, evenly ripen and afford us opportunity to build up our red wine inventory. As you probably know, we never have enough red wine!

In the tasting rooms, our Harvest Party is coming up at Lieb and our Box Wine BBQ is coming up at Bridge Lane. Both are popular events and favorites among our staff. We have some final details to work out, but the planning is mostly done – check!

Speaking of #TeamLieb, can I just take a moment to say how much respect I have for our tasting room staff? If any of you visited Lieb this past Saturday, I likely greeted you. I was our hostess for the day, filling in for Alicia. I spent 8 hours on my feet, running around, bussing tables, taking calls, pouring wine, moving furniture and chatting with as many of you as possible. MAN was I exhausted at the end of the day. My feet were on fire and my voice was hoarse. I’m in shape! I regularly do yoga! But this was another level.

One of our other team members, Lila, was wearing a Fitbit, and at the end of the shift she had clocked 6.2 miles. She walked 6 miles in one shift! And they do it every day, without complaint. I’m always gracious when I visit other wineries and restaurants, but moving forward I’m going to be even nicer and tip even more. I urge you to consider that when you visit us. Our staff works very hard to make you happy, and they’re deserving of respect and gratitude.

Ok, I’m off my soapbox.

At the winery, Russell just completed the installation of our new, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly waste water management system. We’ve been consciously upping our eco game in the vineyard and office over the past few years, and now the winery is on board. If you’re super nerdy and interested in this kind of thing, the name of the system is BioGill. Google it. It’s no joke, and I’m proud of the fact that Russell and our owners believed in investing in it. Oh, and harvest. Russell is also in the middle of harvest and turning our 2019 grapes into wine. No big deal.

In wholesale, HELLO FLORIDA. We’ve been working on finding a distributor in the Florida market for years. It’s been the most challenging state we’ve targeted thus far. The market is dominated by big distributors (who are too big for us) and grocery stores (that stock their shelves with brands that are bigger than us). But after a serendipitous email from a Beverage Director at the Marriott in Fort Lauderdale who had tasted and was adamant about adding our Pinot Blanc to his wine list, we were able to line up a partnership with a small, up-and-coming distributor in West Palm who is excited about representing us down there. They’re going to be (wisely) focused on placing our wines on restaurant wine lists vs. in grocery stores. Amen. We shipped our first two pallets down to them yesterday. Hopefully these pallets will be the first of many more we send down. Miami, you need canned wine!

13 states. That’s how many states in which you can now find Lieb and Bridge Lane wines. I have a US map up on the bulletin board in my office, and each time we sign a new distributor, I color in that state. Florida is now colored in. Where to next, you think? I’m eyeing you, Texas and Illinois.

The next time I post will be in December, and Russell and I will be tasting 2019 wines. The two I’m most excited about? A fun, teeny production red blend that Russell is making for our wine club only, and that little Bridge Lane sparkler that I mentioned in my last post. It’s happening, guys! Bridge Lane is about to go bubbly.

Stay tuned and thanks, as always, for listening.

Cheers,

Ami Opisso

General Manager & Certified Sommelier