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Lieb Behind the Scenes

Lieb Behind the Scenes – September 2020

September 22, 2020

Harvest started last week. Our industry was thrown for a major loop this year, but there’s comfort in knowing that the things I’ve come to count on every year around this time can still be counted on: harvest will come, Jared will smile when I tell him to bring out the fire pits, and #TeamLieb’s red flannel fall uniform will commence the first sub-70 degree day. Every day is like “who wore it better” around here.

Now I don’t want to get too confident or jinx it, but it feels like we’re over the COVID hump. Our staff and families are healthy. Both of our tasting rooms are open and operating safely and efficiently. Our wine club is growing. And our e-commerce sales continue to astound me. Wholesale remains a challenge, but that’s to be expected with so many restaurants not being fully open. We’re obviously not out of the woods and won’t become complacent, but all signs point to us getting through this.

Harvest and COVID assessment aside, what else is going on behind the scenes?

  1. HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEW WEBSITES?? We (quietly) redesigned and relaunched liebcellars.com and bridgelanewine.com earlier this month. As I said in my last post, e-commerce saved our @ss during the tasting room shutdown. It deserves its place at the table as a viable direct-to-consumer sales channel for wineries. You guys buy wine online! We’ve finally come around to investing in your experience while doing so.
  2. TWO WORDS: TEROLDEGO-LAGREIN. Unless you’re a northern Italian wine aficionado, it’s likely you’ve never heard of these grape varieties. And it’s even more likely that you can’t pronounce them (tehr-AWL-deh-go and lah-GRINE). Well, turns out these obscure grapes were planted in a vineyard in Southold that was available for lease last year. Also turns out that our winemaker, Russell, is a big northern Italian wine fan. Never having worked with the grapes before, he crafted a pretty cool blend of the two. The result is a deep dark purple, medium-bodied red wine with blackberry and grilled plum notes. It’s unlike any of our other red wines. You have to stop by and try it.
  3. MAGS. Sometimes you calmly sip sparkling rosé while enjoying a sunny day or friendly conversation. Sometimes you want to take it up a notch and ball out. Our sparkling rose mags are for indulging, celebrating or just plain LIVING. We only made 70 cases so get your hands on one while you can.
  4. SO LONG, RUMOR MILL. After a 6 year run, we’ve decided to discontinue our Rumor Mill cider brand. Cider had its day in our portfolio, but lately we’re feeling like we should let our local orchards handle the cider while we stick to wine. That said, there’s now a hole in our line that we plan to fill with another low ABV, casual adult beverage. We started working on it a few months ago and hope to release it by summer 2021. Hint on the name: our General Manager’s new pup.
  5. HERE WE GO MD. Our Bridge Lane wines are currently sold up and down the east coast with one nagging exception: Maryland. Our Virginia distributor had hoped to expand into MD a few years back but it didn’t work out. Since then we’ve been in contact with several MD distributors but never felt they were the right fit. A few months ago, Free Run Wine Merchants read about us in a Sevenfifty, tasted our cans and bingo – they get us. We hope to start shipping some wine down to them next month. We’re coming for you, Baltimore!

You know we never stand still, even during a pandemic.

“One day at a time” has been my mantra for the better part of this year. Dealing with issues, accepting setbacks, worrying, stressing, feeling like so much is out of my hands. COVID knocked us down for a bit, but we’re getting back up. It feels good to look forward again. WE’VE GOT THIS.

(And if another setback arises, there’s always red wine, blankets and fire pits.)

Until December, cheers guys!

Ami Opisso
General Manager & Certified Sommelier