“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”
Henry Van Dyke, b. 1852

Welcome to April!  We’ve made it past our version of April Fool’s Day – bottling the 2013 Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay in a ferocious, pelting thunderstorm that lifted the protective tents off the ground and deposited a layer of hail.  In today’s warm sun, a quick glance off the patio finds vigorous growth in the vineyard.  My Chardonnay shoots are sporting flower buds about 4 weeks ahead of schedule!  The Valley is one big blast of green now that we’ve had over 13 inches of rain in the last 8 weeks; mustard was late arriving but it is vividly making up for lost time.  Any direction you look, it’s a screensaver shot.

Anthony and Rafael are racking all the 2013 reds now and doing preliminary evaluations.  I’m looking forward to the comprehensive lot tasting coming up when we will taste through the individual lots by barrel type.  The 2012s will be bottled late this summer, a good thing as the 2011 vintage was a short one; in fact, we might be out of wine for a short time until the next vintage can be released.  While the restrained elegance of the 2011s has been appreciated, the market will be eagerly waiting for the 2012s, returning to the more typical California style featuring rich, sun-filled fruit.

Our retail business has grown substantially in the past two years and we have spent a great deal of time this winter developing plans to accommodate our increasing number of visitors at the same high level of service we are known for.  We have added seating areas in the barrel room, are building a new tasting bar for the barrel room and have added a seating area at the winery entrance with colorful planters and a shady umbrella.  Elise Suttie has joined us as a fulltime guest relations ambassador and Tom Skinner has joined us to fill in during the week.  Along with Maggie and Amanda, Elise and Tom are certain to extend you wonderful hospitality.  Please stop by and meet them next time you are in the Valley.

In order to take care of the customers that prefer to chat with a real live person, as well as constantly keeping our contact records up to date, Ron Edmunds, who manages our wine club, and his team, will be calling on occassion.  If you have moved or changed your email; if your cellar needs refreshing in time for this summer’s social festivities; if you want to re-direct a club shipment – our phone call is your chance to take care of everything..

We are slowly adding more winery events to our calendar and have events scheduled for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  In addition, Anthony and I have begun planning our 20th Anniversary Retrospective Clone 6 dinner – scheduled for July 12th.  This promises to be a wonderful trip down the Clone 6 memory lane as we taste through 20 years of this storied wine.  Limited to 48 guests, with Club members having priority.  If you are interested, please add your name to our growing waiting list.

Cheers,

from Anthony, Sandra and all of us at Bell Wine Cellars