It wouldn’t be a seasonal greeting from the Specters if there wasn’t a bad pun or two. So some things haven’t changed. Although this year, we are deviating from our usual mailed card to a 100% digital holiday missive. It’s been a wild year and we’re currently living in full chaos. More on that in a bit. First, a recap…
Sara and Dave reached two separate milestones on October 6: our 20th wedding anniversary AND the 15th year of making wine together. We haven’t had the chance to “celebrate” either one, thanks to a crazy fall.
We’ve made it to the end of 2021 with the same number of pets we started with: three rabbits (Oreo, Pepper and Salt, above), three “feral” cats who’ve all doubled in size while eradicating a large chunk of our vermin issues, and — of course — Cupcake the Diva Pom. Lest you think we’ve forgotten her in this year’s card, she’s still here (see below). Currently, she’s having another one of her periodic bouts of skin issues so is again sporting pajamas as we work through the treatments.
The winery business has remained steady, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support. We’ve had a ton of media coverage this year, and even filmed several “commercials” for Mahindra tractor (Cupcake stole the show, as she always does; that’s her posing for her photoshoot with Holly, Mahindra USA’s Head of Corporate Communications). More about all these developments on our blog. Dave has continued to host private tasting appointments, and was exceptionally busy this past year. Sara officially took over answering the winery phone, booking appointments, and harvest logistics and still found time for her own freelance marketing clients.
Speaking of harvest, the fruit all came in across an unprecedentedly looooong 6-week run — starting 2 weeks earlier than anticipated and running an extra 2 weeks longer than ever before. Logistics was brutal this year, with every pick having at least one issue (some had multiple): from a complete lack of dry ice in the valley, to a grower who forgot to pick a block of fruit, pick labor shortages, flat tires on delivery vehicles, 50% more fruit than estimated from our own vineyard, 2 separate press breakdowns (that thing is only 3 years old!)… you name it, we juggled it, and had a lot of harvest and crush help from amazing friends and volunteers.
Although we’re still making around 550 cases a year, this was the season we hired additional help for Dave in the mornings to handle punchdowns and other winemaking duties in an effort to preserve his back and sanity. It seemed to achieve both goals, and we were incredibly grateful for both Joe and Madyson.
In the middle of harvest, we realized that Naomi’s school situation had changed dramatically from the previous year, as there were significant staffing and curriculum changes made over the summer. As a family, we made the difficult decision to switch her to a 100% online public school that was designed a decade ago solely for that purpose. It continues to be an adjustment for all of us, but for now seems to be the best option. She continues to participate in club swimming, which is great for face-to-face friend time. And, somehow, she just hit the teen years — although, in reality, she’s been a teenager for at least five years. Also, she surpassed Sara in height this year, as evidenced by the photo at the top.
Finally, after a year of being waitlisted and pushed back repeatedly, we entered the demolition phase of a badly needed and frequently deferred first floor remodel of the almost 30-year-old house that came with the property. And we are LIVING in it. The kitchen was falling apart, literally, and the “Oregon Ducks Decor” master bath have been gutted in the past week; the laundry room is being relocated; mudroom and powder room being added; and the carpet and hardwood (terrible choices for a vineyard property) are on the way out. Hence, no physical card this year.
As we get ready to hop into 2021, we’re grateful as always for your friendship and support. We hope to see and/or hear from you again very soon and wish you the Hoppiest of Holidays.
With tidings of great joy,
Sara, Dave, Naomi, and the Fluffy Bunch