For those of you who haven’t been able to attend the Club parties or are new to Chacewater, a little news about the past year. We have increased our Club members to upwards of eight hundred this year. That is an increase of six hundred new Club members in just over a year! We here at Chacewater view this as one of our biggest success for the 2013 year. Club membership gives us flexibility not to depend on large scale distributors, which gives us an edge in both the amount of feedback we get from our consumers, as well as freedom for our winemaker. For the New Year we plan on keeping the Club a major focus for Chacewater.
This past year we had great success in the market place. Distributors like Mountain Peoples, our largest organic distributor in California, has been placing our wines in the “Mom and Pop” organic stores up and down the coast. While Nick Kurihara of Wanderlust Wine Company has been focusing on Southern California. Nick has been successful in getting placements of Chacewater wines at 4th Street Vine in the newly renovated Long Beach Airport terminal, Crustacean Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Oscar Cerveteca in Venice Beach, Bedford and Burns in Beverly Hills, Cafe Pinot in Downtown LA, and Le Cellier in Marina del Rey to name a few. Nicks focuses on wine by the glass programs, and has lead Chacewater into the prestigious restaurant venues of Southern California.
While in college Luke Manuel helped bring Chacewater to the East Coast. Business was slow at first, as a wholesaler, until a vendor introduced him to Red Ink Distribution. The owners of Red Ink Distribution Domenico and Jay were impressed with Chacewater’s wines enough that we were their first domestic label that they carried. Since then Red Ink has done a fantastic job representing us in the Washington DC and Southern Maryland. They continually increase the amount of stores that carry our wines. Chacwater wines may now be found in some of our nations capital’s most historically significant wine shops. Gathering Harvests distribution in Connecticut also started distributing Chacewater after tasting our wines and connecting with our brand. Donna Pace, owner of Gathering Harvests has created an excellent demand for Chacewater. After graduating from American University Luke moved to Arizona where he and his brother Alex became licensed distributors, known as Manuel Brothers Distributing. They continue to have success placing our wines into exclusive restaurants and wine shops throughout Arizona.
In 2014 we are increasing our production of wine by a third from six thousand cases to eight thousand cases annually! This growth is due to the success of our Club members and distributors doing a wonderful job. After two consecutively difficult vintage years 2010, and 2011, the 2012 and 2013 years have been exceptionally good. Increasing our confidence that the wine will continue to improve.
The 2013 vintage in particular, allowed us to harvest fruit at optimum quality, because of the relatively mild summer conditions, and the lack of early fall rain, allowed the fruit to get extra hang time. This hang time increases maturity and flavor development. The 2012 reds are going to be bottled in the next few months and the quality looks stellar! The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and dessert wines are going to be in the bottle in mid-February and are tasting great. We will be releasing these wines in March.
Matt Manuel has done a fantastic job managing the vineyards. Four new acres of Cabernet Sauvignon are being planted in the Sierra Foothills. Matt has already put in stakes and end posts, he is just waiting on the bench grafts this spring. After apprenticing under Emilio for just a year, Matt is also running the olive mill during the off season. Giving Emilio some much needed rest as well as a helping hand.
In 2013 the olives trees were in an alternate bearing year. Last January we aggressively pruned the trees to promote positive growth for the future; we do this every other year. This created a smaller harvest year for 2013 (10 tons of olives) as compared to 2012 (14 tons of olives), which means 2014 should have a higher yield. The quality of the olive oil produced in 2013 is wonderful! In fact we are already pouring some of these new 2013 olive oils in our tasting room. Look for the Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil and the Tuscan blend.
We are also happy to announce that the olive oils produced in the current 2013 harvest season passed the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Certification Seal for “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” labeling. Chacewater has been a proud member of the COOC since 2010. Having our oils go through lab analysis and sensory evaluation to get a ” high quality” product status. The tests consist of a lab analysis: free fatty acid test, ultraviolet absorption, and peroxide value test along with a COOC tasting panel, which evaluates the olive oil to ensure its quality and “extra virgin” designation. The panel articulated our oils as buttery, nutty, green apple, herbaceous, woody, and grassy to describe our oils. In fact this year the COOC invited Chacewater Olive Oils to be displayed at their booth at the National Association for the Specialty Foods Trade (also known as the Fancy Food Show) in San Francisco.
All of us here at Chacewater would like to thank our Club members, distributors, family and friends! Without your help this last year wouldn’t have been as successful or as much fun. Through your continued support and hard work we have had some of the best Club parties and have enjoyed lots of community support and growth! A special thanks to Sinda Knight and her hard work on Sundays in the Tasting Room. From all of us here at Chacewater we wish you a Happy New Year!