More On Lighter Wine Bottles
Lighter bottles -- it's becoming my mantra. I made the decision to stop bottling in extra-heavy glass a year ago
. Others have been picking up on the topic
, and now it seems the request for lighter products is being addressed by the glass manufacturers. This morning I saw this article
from the May issue of Wines & Vines: "How Light Can You Get?" by Suzane Gannon.
The article highlights how some of the major wine bottle producers (Saint Gobain, Saverglass, Demptos and Owens-Illinois) have recently released lower-weight, lower-cost products into the US market. Owens has been the low-weight leader, for the last nine years producing a 750mL bottle weighing just 298 grams (not sold in the US) -- Saint Gobain has matched this with their newly-released "Revolution" bottle. Compare this to the 850 gram "prestige" bottle I have switched away from, or the ones I have switched to, that weigh 485 and 535 grams.
Putting these weights in perspective, moving from the prestige glass has meant that I'm shipping cases that weigh 37 lb. each instead of a whopping 50 lb. A switch to the lightest available glass would save nearly another 5 lb. per case. This also brings up the reality of wine shipping: there is only so low one can go. Wine is mostly water and it isn't particularly light, at about 20 lb. per case. It is significant though that we have moved from the packaging weighing more than the product, to it being less than half of the shipping weight.
I have to see some of these ultra-light bottles in the flesh (as it were) before I consider using any of them -- they may be too butt-ugly for me to want to present my carefully hand-crafted babies in them. But it is exciting that manufacturers are moving in this direction.
Time On My Hands
I'm in Houston staying at my dad's place. Our quarterly partners' meeting is behind us and I have a big private tasting of our wines to do tonight -- should be fun. Got the wines and order forms ready to go, my little presentation prepped in my head, clothes ready and I'm even already checked in for my flights back to SFO tomorrow.
It's funny how I get before these big public events -- not anxious or nervous, but surly and depressed. It's like I'm gathering my energy for the show I'm going to put on. Meh.
So I'm ready early and I've had time on my hands. Time to Twitter, time to Facebook (is that a verb?), time to read other blogs, and time to write this. So it's time to summarize a few tidbits:
Tina Martin is working with us now to manage Westwood marketing. She's had plenty of experience (Cline, Flowers, Keller Estate, Hanzell) and has hit the ground running in spite of the economy. She is a real professional and I enjoy working with her.
Speaking of hitting the ground running -- after a lot of work Tina has managed to get Lisa Valentine (Canopy Wine Group -- when they get their website up) to rep Westwood here in Northern California. She and her people have had samples for less than 24 hours and we already have two new placements. Yea!
I met Guy Stout (MW) and local wine writer Dale Robertson over the last couple of days. When we get our wine distribution up and running here in Texas (again) it can't hurt that these guys might recognize the brand after this introduction.
On the agenda at the partners' meeting: discussion of final approval by the members to plant eight acres at the Annadel Estate. So resolved. Glad we didn't wait until next year, but I'm a bit under the gun to find the clones I'm looking for as dormant vines.
Speaking of the vineyard: we have had a couple of inches of rain recently and it has been mild, still and humid -- perfect weather for a case of spring Botrytis to affect the vines. We have stayed on top of of the spore load through our very timely seasonal and dormant spray program over the years, but I'm still anxious. That's farming. Jean-Marie is waiting for a break in the weather to make a spray.
The dry winter allowed us to move the power generator on site early this year. This meant that we had frost control available if necessary. We have had three frost incidents since pruning, but the dew points were high, and the temperatures only stayed below freezing for a couple of hours at most each time.
Though the events weren't severe, the vineyard guys turned on the new frost control for the first time -- we are using an extremely low-volume overhead spray system. It seemed to work: we observed ice formation on the vines (a good thing -- ice is an insulator). Seriously, we might have escaped damage without it. I think the guys turned it on just to have something to do.
OK -- showtime! Time to dress and load the car.