Friday, March 07, 2008


Well, here we were on day two of Wineries Unlimited. We started off the day by checking out the very valuable seminar on vineyard irrigation. We’ve worked with several people who’ve told us that to make the jump we need to make this year, we need better and more consistent irrigation. We have an electrically powered well on our vineyard, and this year our vineyard will be better irrigated.

They had other seminars on winemaking, winery book keeping and business management, vineyard management, insect infestations, plant necrosis, and other issues important to wineries.
From there we went shopping out on the trade show floor. Here there is everything the fledgling winery owner needs (and doesn’t need) to start his or her own winery. Everything from vineyard equipment to winery equipment to tasting room merchandise, can be found here.
Our first stop was to Waterloo Container to see the folks there. We’re a small operation and can’t fulfill the minimums required by the large manufacturers. Waterloo Container is a one stop shop for small wineries who need bottles, corks, caps, carboys, and other container issues. We spent time with them discussing some new bottle options and new enclosures. We also discussed with them the idea of moving over to real cork for our Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
From there we went around looking at trellising equipment. We are establishing our trellis this year, and we were examining the different options - wood posts, metal posts, or fiberglass posts (which apple growers use quite often). We discussed with vendors which would wear better, cost efficiencies, life expectancies, and replacement costs.
The we went to see some one equipment. I needed to order more floor corkers, as we’ve worn out one this year alone. The automatic machines are a little to expensive for us, and our winery output is such that it’s not cost effective yet. However, we’re at a stage where we might have to live with the idea of having to replace one of our three corking machines every year until we move up to the next level.

We ran into many people in the seminars and saw people like Steve Osborn, Art Hunt, Richard Olsen-Harbich, Dr. Tim Martinson, Wayne Wilcox, and many others.

From there we wandered around. Dominique found some winery jazz CDs she liked very much, and we found some wine bottle corks for the store we thought were fun, and colorful, and which might move well in the tasting room.

From there we went to Naylor packaging. Dick Naylor is a legend in the east coast winery game. He is the owner of Naylor Vineyards in Pennsylvania, a well-established and prosperous Pennsylvania winery. They’ve won many awards and created some wonderful wines. He is also the president and owner of Naylor Packaging. Naylor supplies many of the small and medium sized east coast wineries with packaging options. Need a cardboard carrier for two, three, or six bottles? Naylor’s got it! Need shippers in small supply? Naylor’s got ’em! We ordered six different packages and shippers, and moved on.

The very nice ladies of the TTB had a both there as well. We’ve been having a tough time getting a series of new labels through. I went and bothered them regarding the wording of my labels, and asked why they might have been rejected. We then talked to them about several other questions we had.

We stopped at several other booths. And wandered around some more, before heading to a very important seminar on Hosting Musical Events at Your Winery. This was a great seminar about booking talent, standard operating procedures for having bands, and how to manage parking, concessions, etc.

It was a wonderful visit. We conducted business face-to-face with many vendors, explored new options for our vineyard and winery, and found new products to sell in our tastingroom. We look forward to going again next year!


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