Friday, March 28, 2008

Number 2 On The Shelf!

BlueStem Winery started marketing the second of our wines just a couple of days ago. It was a long time between Number 1 and Number 2. Our first wine (Once in a Blue Moon) was out for sale in May 2007. It took us all the way to March 2008 for our second wine (Red Crescent) to be put out for sale. However, things will be happening rapidly over the next few months as our third wine (Dark Side) will be on the shelves most likely by May 15 with four more wines scheduled to be available during the summer months.

Once in a Blue Moon is a Canadian Riesling dessert wine. Red Crescent is a Cabernet Franc dessert wine with the grapes coming from Washington state. Dark Side is a Montepulciano wine whose grapes were grown in the Andes in Chile. Our other wines (as yet unnamed) coming this summer will be a Gewurztraminer, a Riesling, a Gruner Veltliner and a Gewurztraminer dessert wine.

King George has done his best to screw up the American economy but whatever is happening seems to have helped BlueStem Winery. Our sales on the internet and our store sales were both up about 35% over last year. We have been running an inventory reduction sale on both our WinExpert and Cellar Craft wine ingredient kits and these have been moving out the door rapidly in anticipation of our restocking in late April. Out with the old and in with the new!

Home brew supplies sales have been brisk . . . probably our largest increase in traffic for the month. I think the downturn in the economy has people looking at saving a little money by making wine and purchasing beer brewing equipment to cut back on the cost of their indulgences.

Home winemaking using WinExpert wine kits or Cellar Craft ingredient kits almost always results in some very, very good wine if the wines are allowed to age just a little bit prior to enjoying them.

One of my favorite stories here at the winery involves a couple from Cedar Falls, Iowa who were in the store several years ago. They purchased a WinExpert Selection Original Gewurztraminer kit and I told them that when the kit was finished that they should put it in the basement and forget that they owned it. Two weeks after the wine was bottled Barb e-mailed me and told me that the wine was not very good. I reminded her that she should put the wine away and forget about it. I told her that she needed to wait at least six months. Well, in six months I got another e-mail from Barb saying the wine was good and getting better every bottle. They later came in and purchased a Liebfraumilch and even later a Riesling wine kit. Barb's husband was in the store one day at a point in time where the Gewurztraminer was now 15 months old. I asked him how the Gewurz was doing and he replied that they "had one big problem". It seems that they were down to only ten bottles remaining and it was the best they had ever had in their lives.

So, if you want great wine, get on the BlueStem Winery website and purchase a wine making equipment kit and maybe one of our WinExpert wine ingredient kits or one of our Cellar Craft wine kits or maybe round up some backyard fruit and some winemaking ingredients and get a batch started. A six gallon batch will yield 30 bottles of wine and with a little patience you will be rewarded with some great sipping pleasure.

No patience? Then how about some home brewing equipment and homebrew supplies (also available on the BlueStem Winery website). It only takes about five weeks from start to enjoyment when brewing your own beer.

Hops are a little expensive right now but you only use a couple of ounces per batch and the other brewing supplies you need are relatively inexpensive.

About $30 will purchase beer brewing supplies for a 5-gallon batch. Wine making ingredients are very inexpensive if using backyard fruit and the WinExpert kits and Cellar Craft kits are available in the $80 to $150 range and will net you 30 bottles of wine per kit. Both the winemaking equipment and homebrew equipment kits are approximately $100 (or more if you want all the bells and whistles).

So, if you need a way to forget that the economy is a shambles, that gas prices are rocketing toward $4 a gallon or that your grocery bill is going out of site, then we can help. Relax and have a home brew (or some home made wine!).


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