The last four mornings I rolled out of bed to fresh temps and dawn’s early light. The sun has already begun its journey south for the winter. Our days grow shorter, the evenings are cool … our mornings even cooler. Some mornings a light blanket of ground fog hovers close above the vineyards across the Valle.
In the smaller wineries, fermentation is finished. The wine has been racked to the barrels to sleep through the coming winter. The larger wineries, those with hundreds or thousands of acres in vineyards, will be crushing, pressing & fermenting all the way to November. For the smaller wineries, as mine will be, the focus has already changed to bottling the aged wines and preparing the spring release.
Here at Bodegas Cieli, I’ve turned my total attention to brewing our craft beers and building inventory toward my anticipated spring opening. I don’t know that I’ll make it, but I hope to announce our grand opening for sometime in May 2015. No, the project will not be complete, but the first small vineyard will be in. The main building housing the tasting room, gift shop and the terrazzo should be complete and ready to accept guests in comfort with our deli case stocked with delicious snacks, my new wines ready for release and a great selection of our craft beers available in a wide variety of choices.
I now have eight recipes I feel are ready to bring to market. I’ve been so busy with crush I’ve only produced enough beer for the three taps I currently have in the tasting room. I rotate them out. In the past, it would depend on the beers of the week what you were able to taste. With the bottling, you’ll be able to buy the beers by the bottle. I plan to build inventory so there are several cases of each of the current recipes available. You’ll be able to taste what we have on tap and buy a bottle of any of the other beers you’d like to try. Sorry folks, I can’t give it all away. Here’s how I work it: Whatever I have on tap in the tasting room, I will give you a 2 oz. taste; no charge, on the house. You can then purchase a pint of what you liked best … $40 Pesos – $3.00. For now I have only 12 oz. bottles available but I will carry pints (16 oz) and bombers (22 oz). Before long we’ll have growlers available, also. Ultimately, I plan to form the Bodegas Cieli Beer Club, which will offer great deals, special events and exclusive tastings of new beers. I plan to make available roughly twenty-four different beers.
My labels and packaging will be ready soon making it easier. I plan to provide 4 and 6 pack carriers and patrons will be welcome to mix and match from the cases in the tasting room. Or buy a case of what ‘Ales’ you!
While I accelerate my brewing schedule, my guys are busy getting the tile down on the terrazzo. We are beginning to wind things down here for the year. I plan to stop work in early November and return to San Carlos for a long overdue rest. I also plan to try to finish my new novel, Slaughtered.
I have endured many challenges this year. At times I’ve wondered if it is all worth it? Then a car pulls off the highway and crawls up the hill toward Bodegas Cieli. In a few moments four people I’ve never met come inside and immediately I’m reminded why I’m doing this. They instantly fall in love with the breathtaking view. They are fascinated with the painstaking job I’ve undertaken to restore this beautiful old adobe building. They love my wine. Ore Quatro Vini has become a great hit. Come out and give it a try. They love the beer, too. Somehow, they begin to see my vision. And I see reflected in their eyes just why it is I go on with this project and why I will see it to fruition.
I hope you’ll take the time to come visit me here at Bodegas Cieli. It’s still pretty rough up here. Most things are makeshift for now. But I’ll bet I will see my vision light up in your eyes, too.