Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards – Lake Chelan

Hard Row to Hoe Vineyard Blog

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Winery Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?

Posted by Don Phelps on January 11, 2010

Life of the Winery Owner

I was thinking today about the nice aspects of owning a winery which includes meeting great people, living in a beautiful area, being your own boss, etc. That got me to thinking about all of the folks that come to the winery and say how much they admire the place and wish they could take the plunge to do it themselves. And that is about where reality came into the picture.

We spend the lion’s share of each day paying bills, handling payroll, doing the taxes, ordering wine glasses so everyone has something to drink out of, getting change from the bank so the till has enough in it to get from one day to the next, ordering toilet paper and paper towels for the bathroom, buying bags and boxes, getting ice for the white wines, taking out the empty bottles, restocking the shelves, cleaning the bathroom and tasting room, picking up garbage outside, working with vineyards to grow next years grapes, worrying about freezing weather, insect infestations, bird damage, too much water, too little water, ordering barrels, spending entire days in the truck hauling grapes from up to 5 hours away, working 7 days a week from daylight to 10 at night during Sept and Oct, worrying about things like equipment breakdowns, enough help, enough bins to ferment the red grapes in, enough stainless steel tanks to hold all of the white wines, inoculation with the right yeast, the fermentation process itself, punch downs, YAN and FAN, secondary fermentation, along with a million other things that have to be done in the right manner and at the right time to make it all work and finally going to bed at night thinking about what needs to be done, and waking up in the morning still thinking about it. And if that was not enough you still have to figure out how you can sell your product and have enough money left over to pay the mortgage so that means back on the road promoting the sale of the wine, trying to get restaurants and stores to carry it, negotiating with distributors, dealing with frozen shipments in the winter months and over heated ones in the summer, and then staying open that last 45 minutes for the straggler that just could not come back tomorrow and loves your wine but leaves with a single 15 dollar bottle.   One more thing before I forget it – you need a second job to live on.  No question about it – this is the memorable life!!

Yep, if it was not for the pure gold customers that become your friends over the years we would probably sell the place and let one of you enjoy the life of Riley – owning your very own winery.


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’09 White Wine Recap, Update, Status…

Posted by Judy Phelps on January 1, 2010

Here is a run down on the 09 whites, all are done fermenting and cold-stabilizing. Judy tasted through them yesterday right from the tanks. Sauvignon Blanc: dry, crisp, loaded with citrus flavors. Pinot Gris: we picked this young so as to do it in a ‘vinho verde’ style, low alcohol, dry and high acid; a great food wine. Gewurztraminer – bone dry and lightly oaked, knocked our socks off! Edelzwicker – made from our estate grapes this year(Don does a great job with the vineyard, this wine is really delicious), only a tiny amount produced, done dryer than in previous years.

We will most like be tasting a couple of these out of the tank over MLK weekend, so plan to be here.

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