My brothers - Kevin and Stephen - and I just wrapped a two-day team tasting of every lot that we produced in 2007. Across the board, these wines are tasting great! In addition to being a lot of fun, these team tastings are beneficial for all three of us, as we all gain valuable insight for each of our tasks at the winery.
While I personally typically set aside an hour each day for tasting, we try to taste together as a group every two weeks so we can have a discussion about the wines and gain each other's insights. And our tastings are not just limited to our own wines. We include production tastings, vertical tastings of past vintages and sometimes comparative tastings of peer wineries in Napa and other regions of the world.
As the winemaker, it's important for me to taste through our wines frequently in order to ensure their quality throughout the entire winemaking process, and admittedly it is one of my favorite aspects of my job. For Kevin, as the winegrower, it is valuable for him to taste through the wines to determine what viticultural practices are lending themselves to the highest quality winegrape we can grow. For Stephen, who directs our sales and marketing efforts, it's very beneficial for him to taste through the production lots so he's clear on what's going on behind the cellar door and is able to convey that mesage effectively.
Most importantly, though, our tastings give the three of us a chance to get together in the wine library tasting room, tune out the buzz and tune into the wines. And when you get down to it, that's really what it's all about ...
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