Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 22:26:39 -0700
Subject: [PV-Friends] May newsletter

Perennial Vintners In this issue:
 ▪ Upcoming events
 ▪ Vineyard - Still catching up
 ▪ Frambelle at Harbor Pub
Newsletter -- May-2010  ▪ In the news
(Click here to view in HTML on website)
 ▪ NW Wine Summit  ▪

(Click on any image below to go to website with more information/larger image/etc.)

Upcoming events
Our next event is tomorrow, Tue. 11-May in Seattle.  I'll be doing our quarterly pouring at the Hotel Vintage Park 5pm-6pm.  As usual, this is free to guests of the hotel, and the public is welcomed (for a fee).  [Editor's note -- newsletter went out late, event has passed -- sorry!]

Our next open-at-the-winery event is Memorial Day weekend.  We'll be open Sat, Sun, Mon from 10am-5pm.  This is a WABI weekend where all the Bainbridge wineries will be open.

Vineyard - Still catching up
The big vineyard task right now is weeding under the plants.  It's a tough job as this is the first weeding of the season, so we're still pulling up the overwintering cover crop of Winter Rye.  We've already run the tractor/rotovator through the vineyard for the aisle weed control, but under plants is all hand work.  If you're on-island, you may have observed my slow progress across the Morales slope over the past week.  After the Morales hillside, there's still another 1.5 acres to do, so if you get the urge to help out, there will still be plenty more to go (join our helpers email list).

Frambelle at Harbor Pub
We're very excited that we now have wine the the Harbor Pub on Bainbridge Island!  "The Pub" as it's known locally, is exactly that -- it's "the" place for a decent pub atmosphere with great food and great drinks -- we're downright honored to be there.  They have our Frambelle straight, or in a mixed drink they're calling "Aunty Vanya" with local vodka made at BI Organic Distillery.  (The name is a takeoff on the "Uncle Vanya" drink to which it is similar.)  Although it is a bit pricey, you must consider that it is 2 drinks worth, both of which are premium locally produced products.  (I really enjoyed this drink, though I must admit I prefer it straight, slightly chilled, with crumbled dark chocolate chunks to nibble.)  They're considering doing our Framcello recipe later in the year as a summertime patio drink.  (If you are there at some point, and have an opinion, do let them know, they're friendly and open to suggestion.)

In the news
I haven't spent time at all in the last 8-10 months updating our "In the News" webpage.  We've gotten some really good press in the last month or so, so it's about time I got to it!  The Seattle Times did a thorough piece on all the BI wineries -- what's funny is how it got picked up by the wire services and was published all across America including as far away as the Kansas City Star, and even a website in China!  Additionally our recent local "Bainbridge Uncorked" event made it into several wine blogs.  Links to these articles and others can be found on our website, click on "In the News" in the left nav bar.

NW Wine Summit
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a judge for the Northwest Wine Summit.  It was an almost life-changing experience, so I'm just going to have to talk about it for a few paragraphs!

The tasting is done annually; this year approx. 1,100 wines were tasted in 3 days by a panel of 24 judges.  Each judge tastes approx. 250 wines between Sun. afternoon and Tue. evening.  The flights are broken into 5-6 wines to each group of 4 judges.  Initially they will be told only what varietal/blend/style the wines are.  They taste all silently, make notes and score the wines, then when all have done their initial appraisal, they are able to discuss; in general only any wine where the judges varied significantly in their assessment will be talked about.  The price range for the individual wines may be gotten and used in the discussion.  At any table, the judges will be comprised of all sorts of wine industry people, from winemakers, to distributors, wineshop owners, tasting room personnel, restaurateurs.  They do ensure that no judge gets to rate their own wine.

The discussions we had were amazing - in some cases the winemakers all loved a particular wine, thought it was the best, but the wineshop owner says "no way".  In some cases we saw a single wine get a gold medal score from one judge and a "not commercial quality" rejection from another.  There was an appeals process where someone who felt strongly that the consensus from their table did a disservice to the wine could force a retasting by another panel later in the judging and this was used.  In one case we had a wine scored at silver, but one person wanted to appeal it to no medal, and another to gold medal!  Some judges felt that an excellent wine should be given a slight boost to it's score if the price was low -- others felt it right not to take price into consideration at all.

After the wines were all rated, the final afternoon was dedicated to determining best-of, by state, and best-of-show.  Of course all the wines were fantastic -- this is the most difficult tasting I have ever done.  For example I preferred one red to another, simply because it was fruitier -- the other judges preferred a heavier oak red that was also excellent, and true to style.  I found it very difficult to let go of my personal bias in order to evaluate the wine in it's style for what it was meant to be, as opposed to what I personally really liked - this is one of the cases where the discussions swayed my rating significantly.

The variability of the wines, but mostly of people's feelings about wines was amazing.  It made it clear to me why I'm in this industry; every wine really is different, and everyone is encouraged to have their own opinion about it.  In the future I will taste wine with a whole different view than before this event.  At this point they've posted the best-of to their website at  but not the individual ratings or other event info.

I'd also like to put in a quick plug for the guys from Wine Press NW who managed the logistics of handling about 3,600 bottles.  There's a photo gallery at their website of the back room, it's incredible!

(And No, Perennial Vintners did not get any best-of awards, sigh...)