A early morning start, and exciting new service

There is something quite beautiful when you look up at 3:30 in the morning and all you see are the stars in the clear sky, with not a breath of wind to be felt. It also means that I am standing in our vineyard looking at the stars, cursing the fact that I am here protecting the vines against the spring frost that could potentially cause our vines serious harm.

With evening temperatures having dipped into the low 30’s sporadically over the last few weeks, the vineyard guys and myself have been here trying to raise the temperature of the vineyard using means such as wind machines, frost dragons and plenty of fires. Thankfully, other than a loss of roughly 5% of our Chardonnay during the first evening, we have gotten through this nerve-racking patch relatively unscathed and can now look forward to much warmer temperatures over the next few weeks.

The vineyard is a hive of activity at the moment, sprayers are visiting every other row, Merlot vines are being planted and growing shoots are being tucked into wires. One can almost say that the 2012 harvest has begun, in that everything we do from here on out will have a direct influence on the quality of the crop, which ultimately will determine whether the wines from 2012 will be special or forgettable. Personally, following a tough growing season in 2011, I have high hopes for 2012; time will of course tell.

The winery is fairly quiet at the moment, although we have just finished our second bottling. Fans of our Verdejo and Consensus wines will be relieved to know that the quality is high and that those wines will be coming to the shelves in the very near future, be sure to check our website for information on release dates. We have also made the follow-up wine to the hugely popular Signature Series Viognier, a style of wine that more reflects the palate of our owner Mr. Al Schornberg, and from what I hear, he finds this new one to be better than the last.

The biggest announcement, however, comes in the form of a service that we are offering starting this year. As you may know, we involve our customers and wine club members in a variety of ways when creating our wines. From the ever popular Consensus blending party to the Friended Franc (made using Facebook), we at Keswick Vineyards really try to get as many people as possible into the cellar as we believe our customer should have a say in what wines we are creating. Having been approached in the past, we have now decided to offer a custom crush service whereby we create a wine for the customer based on their specific needs and palates.

The customer can work directly with me to create a wine of your choosing. The level of involvement is completely up to you. If you trust my winemaking abilities, give me free reign or be as involved as you want and come learn the steps involved in making wine. We will offer a variety of choices, from grape variety, picking parameters, choice of oak and many others, all of which will have a definitive stylistic impact on your wine.

We will take care of all the details and ensure that you receive a quality product at the end of the day. We also have an amazingly talented artist in the form of our very own wine club manager Kris Schornberg. Pick her brains to help you design your label or simply do it yourself. Want to be a winemaker without the risk involved? HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!

Call the winery at 434-244-3341 or e-mail me directly at sbarnard@keswickvineyards.com for further details.

This year promises to be a special year, I have a good feeling.

Cheers

Stephen

Winemaker

Keswick Vineyards

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