Support your Local Vineyard… or Think Small
This has been a challenging time for those in the Wine and Vineyard business – especially for the small producers.
Undoubtedly you have not noticed any shortage of wine in the big box stores and supermarkets. Unlike the toilet paper aisle, the wine aisle has been fully stocked throughout this pandemic. It has been stocked mainly by wines from the larger producers who can afford to take the 20-30% reduction in their prices.
Three Feathers and other small vineyards and wineries, however, are completely cut off from the market place. Even if we had a tasting room, it would have been shut down for the past two months. The State of Oregon closed all businesses and events on March 12, a day before one of the largest tasting events in the valley; the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic, a three day extravaganza of area wines – also known as SIP. We had a booth reserved for the second year and had been awarded commendations for wines we submitted to the juried competition.
Other public tasting events on our summer calendar were shut down. Restaurants and wine bars who buy our wines were also shut down and all small local tastings were cancelled. Except for repeat business from loyal followers – some nice sales and a small custom order (photo below) – wine sales have taken a hit.
We did hold a lovely open house over Memorial weekend and had a terrific day hosting a small gathering of wine groupies who braved the virus to enjoy a day in the gardens with a good bottle of wine.
In the meantime, our French crew consisting of Elise Prudhomme, her husband Francois and their son Felix were unable to fly to Oregon in June to help with the vineyard work as their flight was cancelled. We have been working 4-5 days a week with just three people to maintain 15 acres of grapes for the past two months.
Despite the challenges we are facing, it has been a perfect season in the vineyard. We had quite a lot of spring rains. June was cool and often overcast, but we protected the plants from any disease. Now temperatures have risen and it has dried out just as the fruit is developing. So far we can’t ask for better growing conditions.
The plants are responding and to prevent them from getting too big we have been making several passes to cut off excess growth and thinning. In contrast to previous years, when we wondered if we would have enough fruit, this year looks to be a bumper crop. An oversupply in a year of reduced demand. Some growers are planning on not harvesting and prices per ton are down. The good news is that we are fairly confident that we will be able, at long last, to produce our first Pinot Gris and also harvest our Block Two of Pinot Noir – the Dijon Clone 115 – that has taken longer to mature.
The conclusion to this article is that we need your support. If you are receiving this newsletter it is because you have expressed an interest in our repertoire of wines that continue to grow every year. From our aromatic and elegant 2016 Pinot Noir to our latest Cuvée, the luscious and smooth 2018 Cuvée Virginia Pinot Noir, or our crisp dry Blush the 2018 Blanc de Noirs, we have a great selection of superior wines on offer at reasonable prices.
If you are in the Portland area we can make arrangements to deliver your order, or come up to the Vineyard for a personal tour when you pick up your wine.
If you are not in the area you can order online and we will ship your order as soon as the temperatures go down.
Thanks again for your Support.
Here’s to the Little Guy!