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Something From Nothing?

As you all know by now, we opened Port Brewing with two sets of beers including a whole new package and label called The Lost Abbey. It’s something that we have wanted to do for many years now. Each new beer that we release comes with the challenges of scaling up old recipe favorites AND the ceation of labels and artwork.

In my duties as Steward of the Lost Abbey Vision, I am responisble for getting the message about each beer out. Essentially, I work from start to finish on the recipe through the fermentation to the bottling and labeling to ensure each matches my thought process for the beer.

These days, it isn’t enought to just make a great beer and sit back as it sells. There is so much marketing and strategy that goes into these beers as well. Lately, I have been paying a lot of attention to wineries and their brands when I am out shopping. Mostly I am watching their labels and positioning to see what is out there. AND for the most part, I am very amused.

It appears that wineries can just pop out of thin air in the something from nothing principle. Mostly, it start out with someone having a vision. Typically a name is developed(this is really why I started this thread) because winery names are so damn interesting to me.

You need to be romantic. So you start with a natural element- perhaps something like fog. Perhaps your vineyard gets a ton of shade? Or maybe your soil is rocky and terraced. So you start playing around with these terms. And you need to sell the story of the winery.

Let’s go back to the Fog. Perhaps there is a coastal fog that creeps in every summer afternoon during harvest. Surely this is what makes the Pinot so soft and supple? Inevitably, you’re going to tell people about this unique microclimate. So your winery needs to be built around this. Maybe your brand will be coastal fog(too generic). It’s possible there is a valley connected with the property. Let’s go with the argument that coastal sage grows in this valley. The next working title becomes Sage Fog Winery conjuring up images of a sweet smelling Fog?(Too Esoteric). Perhaps you were out drinking wine on a Sunday when you saw this parcel of land?

You parked the car…walked out into the fields with your sweetheart. A picnic broke out. In the midst of amazing wine and cheese(because they pair so well) you were both suddenly enveloped in this afternoon fog sweeping through the valley? It was then that you decided it best to buy this parcel of land and start up your own winery. But what to call it? How about Sunday Fog? Nah that’s too Romantic. How about Sunday Sage? Coastal Sage, or better yet Sunday Valley?

Bingo! Sunday Valley. I mean who doesn’t love Sunday and valleys are amazing places full of discovery right? And so it is that Sunday Valley Winery is launched and a whole set of wines from grapes not grown anywhere near Sunday Valley(a very real place in most peoples minds I might add) is created. Sales of Sunday Valley Pinot Noir ensue and the story of a coastal sage fog creeping through the valley are now fully embedded in the minds of wine drinkers everywhere looking for an escape from this world.

People notice and across the valley another winery opens. There’s a little rise in this parcel of land with an oak tree standing like a sentinel on watch. And the new winery opens with a name like Shady Oak or Oak Springs because wineries always have two word names. I think it would most likely be Oak Springs beause the nice people across the way at the Sunday Valley winery have the Fog thing going for them as well. So, they’ve cornered the market on Summer Fog but what about Spring Rains?

Oak Springs then sets out to tell the story of April Showers bringing May flowers and the importance of early rain to a great harvest. And then the story of the mighty old oak standing watch over the Oak Springs Winery takes over. Suddenly, land is getting scarce in this area what with all that great Fog rolling in.

So the guy at the outskirts of the valley suddenly is stuck with one of the oldest and previously least desirable parcels. It’s full of rock and the land was previously terraced for some sort of fruit trees that will become important later when the story is created.

So Johnny come lately with rocky soil is tasked with creating his brand and winery name. He begins mulling his options and starts out knowing he must incorporate those damn rocks somehow. So immediately he starts with Rocky Terraces(too generic). He gets more in touch with his feminine side and thinks about those fruit trees. He closes his eyes and is surrounded by Peach trees. Stoned Fruit winery he thinks to himself. That’s a little too esoteric as well(not to mention Dazed and Confused in a cloud of smoke sort of way. Then he opens his eyes, looks out over the parcel and realizes that he has the best view of the valley and Peachy Orchard Bella Vista winery is born. Sure he’ll have to overcome a four word winery name but most people will just drop the Bella Vista part. He won’t of course because he will need the vista sales pitch to open the most spectacular wine garden patio in the area.

His story will be about the old fruit orchards and their importance to the commerce of the valley. Of course he will incorporate a fruity wine into the mix(not even knowing how possible this will be given his steely terrior). Life will be good at Peachy Orchard Bella Vista as people will fill the valley to tour the area famous for its Sagey Coastal Fog which thickens on Sundays but only after the rain soaked Spring Oaks have dried out and thoughts turn to ripening stone fruits and Rocky Terraced Peachy Orchards. Too bad most of the grapes will come from the Central Coast area of California because the land surrounding the Sunday Valley, Oak Springs and Peachy Orhards Bella Vista wineries only gets a blossoming coastal sage infused fog on Sundays.

The funny thing is, we all know and were taught on the 7th Day God rested. So how do they do it? The mystery remains. So if you will please excuse me, I have some tannin units to go measure.

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