Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black Cloud Honoured As One Of The 17

Black Cloud Pinot Noir was selected this weekend by the Vancouver Sun and Province as one of their 17 wines in 17 days - alluding to the upcoming Olympic celebrations beginning in the city shortly. It caught us by surprise.  We had no indication we were being considered.  If you got one of the these booklets

Turn to page 52 and 53 and there we are!

The article talks about how difficult it is to find some these wines.  Indeed, you can't just drop in to any government liquour store and expect to pick some of these wines up.  We thought this would be a good opportunity to update people regarding where Black Cloud Pinot can be obtained.  Remember, the price varies greatly with each location's mark-up.  You can always just email us ( or call  250-490-7314 and we'll ship it to you direct.  One bottle or 10 cases, or whatever amount you want.

       The Brewhouse
       Voya at the Loden hotel
       Hamilton Street Grill
      Naramata Heritage Inn
Lake Country
      Ricardo's Mediterranean Kitchen
Harrison Hot Springs
      Raven's on the Beach

Wine Stores
Bowen Island
     Bowen Island Cold Beer & Wine
North Shore
     Village Taphouse
Abbotsford / Fraser Valley
     Whatcom Wines and Spirits
     Broadway International Wine
     Liquour Plus (all three stores)
     The Naramata Store

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Large Format Wine Bottles for Black Cloud

We're planning on creating some large bottles for Black Cloud as part of our next bottling run.

I've had some feelers out there on Twitter and such, asking for opinion about the oversized bottle genre.

Most people seem to like the idea but they rarely purchase for themselves.  In fact, most people seem more inclined to purchase large bottles as special occasion gifts rather than have a few on-hand in their own cellars.

I'm pretty sure we're going to do a few.  They're great to have when a favourite charity or benefit comes calling for a contribution.  And when we have a dinner party for more than 6 guests, our large bottle will dominate the table!

Change - It had to come

Playing around with the format and theme on the site.  Bear with me.  Embrace the change.  I think I got the comment section back.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Comments? I messed up the comment thing.

In the past, one could comment on my posts.  But I was messing around with the template and I've lost comment functionality.  Until I geek my way through this, just drop a line at if you would like to add to the discussion.

Is A New Winery In Your New Year?

Starting a new winery is a daunting task.  People come at the problem from varied backgrounds and levels of talent.  Everybody has a different idea about what makes a winery a success. But few would argue that a winery needs to be a successful business.

Often the decision to start a winery happens in the blink of an eye.  Sure, you may have mulled, pondered and ruminated about it for a decade.  But for most people, it comes down to a single moment of conviction when your passion, drive and hope come together and you say: Let's do it.

Forget about the awards ceremonies, the glowing reviews and the adoration of thousands of wine lovers: that will all come in good time.  The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a good business plan.  Without the plan, you're like a ship without a rudder.

The wine business is capital intensive at start-up.  Returns on investment are delayed, reflecting both the nature of a business linked to an agricultural cycle and a slow inventory turnover.  Investors looking to make a quick buck should look elsewhere as a five year lag before returns in not uncommon.  In fact, without proper funding, your winery could be in serious trouble by the time your second or third harvest comes around.  You may find yourself strapped for funds and without the kind of cash flow you may have expected

The wine business is heavily-weighted to a brand-driven model.  You'll soon have questions about how to best promote and market your brand. Before some of the details become insurmountable, consider engaging the services of a consultant.

In the wine industry that could be someone purely on the business side who has a familiarity with the workings of banks, government and the law.  Or it can be someone from development and production, like myself (the friendly guy in the photo), who will be able to tell you what you'll need to achieve the kind of excellence we all strive for in wine. 

Whether you're starting a new venture or working with an established company, there's never a bad time to re-visit the business plan with a fresh set of eyes.  Consider the talents of a consultant when you need to clearly identify your wine business priorities and and create viable, profitable solution.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winery Investors: We Welcome Your Questions

Over the last weekend we accepted our first Black Cloud investor participation in our company.  Our focus has been on production and brand promotion, so we hadn't been actively chasing down private lenders.
But we were happy to accept this investor's trust and belief in our vision.
One thing that has been worthy of noting: People are surprised to learn how small their stake can be.  Winery ownership doesn't require millions of dollars after all!
If you or someone you know is looking for a minority position in small, niche-market winery, drop us a line.
We look forward to any questions about our plan and how financial participation would look.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Everything We Do Now Shows Up In The 2010 Pinot Noir

People often ask what a wine maker does this time of year. Some folks are just curious, not knowing how things are. Others are already sure that we're just loafing about, waiting for the grapes to grow ripe. Or goofing around like me and my son in the photo.

Truth is: I'm working on the 2010 vintage right now. A case could be made that I'm working on the next five, 10 and 20 vintages if you want to extend the premise.

I say this because everything I do in the next 10 months culminates in that one day in the fall when the grapes are picked and we begin to transform them into wine.

Every minute decision about the vine, about the winery and about the direction of our enterprise is reflected in the finished product.

Pinot Noir is one of the most reactive varieties when it comes to stylistic choices. "Style" can be defined in everything from vinification to cultural practices in the vineyard to the type of closure used on the bottle. Some of the other varieties seem to be able to produce consistent wines under different style regimes. But Pinot Noir walks a tightrope of quality. A consistent style allows the seasonal variations to shine in each vintage while protecting the integrity of the wine.

Black Cloud is still a young concept for a brand and a winery. There's quite a bit of style evolution to come. As an example, a year ago we were still planning to make some white wine. But we've come to realize our passion lies with Pinot Noir. That's where our focus will be.

We're still working on sourcing and growing the best fruit from our team of growers. Our plan is to do more work in the vineyards that allow our style choices to be accommodated easily. We're still working on defining what we think works best in the cellar to allow the treasures of the vineyard to be properly expressed in the bottle.

Around the world over the past year there has been tremendous change due to the global economic upheaval. It affects everyone including wine making operations. The important thing about this situation for a winery is to be adaptable and to see the change as something to embrace. It's what winemakers do every harvest; observe and accept the vintage and accommodate the change. Always with the same goal, which is to produce the best wine from the best grapes available.

For Black Cloud, that means consistently producing the best Pinot Noir in British Columbia.

Readers of this post: 2006 Black Cloud Pinot Noir is available for $19.99 + bottle deposit until January 8th, 2010. Regular price: $25.00 . Please email your contact details to . We will respond to arrange payment and shipping.