I’ve decided that 2014 will be a year of experiments. Every year we do a few modest wine-related experiments but I want this to be a year of experimenting with new and unique ways to connect with our customers. I decided we would hold our first ever Cellar Tasting for the end of the month. An event like this was long overdue and we were all really excited about these yet-to-be-bottled wines. I had the pleasure of being involved in the initial wine making process during the 2013 harvest season. I can say with pride that these wines are developing beautifully and we all wanted to share our enthusiasm with our customers. With only three weeks before bottling, we began planning right away.
We had no idea what sort of response we would get and with only a week to go before the event, we had only sold four tickets. I was nervous. Luckily, so were the winemakers. Along with the wines, they would be stars of this show and public speaking doesn’t always come naturally to guys who spend all their time with vines and wines. While pruning the grapevines in the snow, they were quizzing each other about the questions that might be asked and the interesting facts they wanted to share. Two days before the event, ticket reservations began to pour in and I felt a huge sense of relief. On the day of the Cellar Tasting, we actually had to stop taking reservations! We were all humbled by the outpouring of interest and quickly upped the appetizer order with Rustic Roots to accommodate 50 guests.
That evening, participants were divided into three groups, each group with its own winemaker to describe the wines and answer questions – and they were great at it! As soon as they started talking about the wines, they lit up and their love for the wines really showed. We were all happy to see both new and familiar faces. The mood was casual and everyone was really enjoying sampling wines right out of the tanks and barrels. Rustic Roots provided fabulous appetizers of charcuterie, cheeses, olives and roasted roots which complimented the wines beautifully.
Guests asked wonderful questions and had the opportunity to sample eleven different wines including limited release wines such as our 2012 Marquette Reserve and 2013 Petite Pearl. The wines were really well received and at the end of the night, I felt like our guests were just as excited about them as we are. We also used this event as an opportunity to launch our new wine club: “Shelburne Vineyard Barrel Thieves.” Overall, the experiment was hugely successfully and we’ve all agreed we’ll be doing a Cellar Tasting again next year! ~ Rhiannon