In March I optimistically wrote about looking ahead and all that we had planned for 2021. Sitting here in September, it’s hard to feel positive about this year given the current state of the pandemic (certainly NOT over) and the status of our planned projects (certainly NOT all completed). The challenges over the past 6 months are many. We’ve faced supply chain issues, freight delays, rising costs, distributor disappointment, team turnover (thanks Derek and Christie :), HURRICANES and a hospitality labor shortage, to name a few. There’s even an invasive pest called Spotted Lanternfly headed our way with the threat of major damage to our vineyards. I can’t make this stuff up.
Yet, I met our vineyard foreman out in the Chardonnay block yesterday for the first day of harvest, and I’ll be damned if the fruit coming off the vines wasn’t some of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. I even remarked to Jildo about the absence of the always present bees buzzing around the filled bins. In May-Aug of 2020, there were 10 inches of rain. 20 inches of rain fell during that same period this year. Double. Yet, perfectly clean, whole, rot-free Chardonnay grapes.
Now, these early harvest grapes aren’t indicative of how the rest of the fruit will do. There’s still another month and a half before some of our red wine grapes are picked, and a lot can happen in a month. But, the Chardonnay fruit was a small win I needed. Watching my year old Golden Retriever gallop up and down the rows as Jildo’ crew looked on and smiled was the energy I needed. And, standing outside in the fresh air and sun during the first day of my 9th harvest at Lieb Cellars was the reminder I needed. I love this job and this industry and this region. The challenges are worth it, and the rewards are pretty great.
I’ll talk to you all in December.
General Manager & Certified Sommelier