Toasted Toad CellarsToasted Toad Cellars


March 9, 2011 - Seriously, You Didn't!


Well, yes, seriously we did it. We just signed the lease on a building that will be our tasting room. It will also be our new production facility. The building is located just two blocks from downtown Lodi which is the home to several tasting rooms, with more popping up all the time. There are also a couple of other winemaking facilities that are or will be located in the immediate vacinity soon, making this a great stop for a day of wine tasting. You will be able to park in one spot and have just a short walk to several wineries plus there are several very good restaurants and eateries all within walking distance. If you hit all of the downtown locations, there are dozens more wineries within just a few miles radius.


The building we leased is located on a quarter of an acre with a large paved area in the back that will be perfect for sorting and handling the grapes as they come in for processing along with storage of some equipment and additional parking. The building is approximately 100 years old and once housed a major woodworking facility for one of the original construction families in Lodi. Overall, the building is approximately 5,400 square feet and our plan is to use about 800 square feet for the tasting room. It is located at 21 E. Elm Street and the front of the building has a lot of character - kinda like us. There are several large windows in the front which will provide great natural light for your enjoyment during tastings.


By combining the tasting room and the production facilities, we plan to bring you a glimpse into our world of winemaking and a better understanding of our vision and our goals. At various times throughout the year, we will have barrel tastings and other special events such as futures sales. These can best be done when the tasting room and production facility are at the same location.


One key element that our new production facility will address is allowing us to do more small lot production. We hope to bring more unique wines and limited case offerings in 2011. Likely candidates so far include Malbec, Tempranillo and Primitivo. Lodi offers many incredible and unique, non-mainstream varietals that thrive in the climate and soils here and are not typically available in Napa and Sonoma.


We still have several hurdles to overcome, including getting approval from the City of Lodi for our intended use and approval of all the plans and improvements. No small feat and no small expense, I can assure you. Our goal is to get approved plans and a permit for improvements in the next six to eight weeks and with any luck, be open by July - yes of this year! If you have not already signed up on the mailing list, please do it today so that we can keep you informed of the GRAND OPENING FESTIVITIES.


Speaking of our grand opening, we will be bottling the 2009 Napa Cabernet, Sonoma Merlot, Lodi Zinfandel and 2010 Viognier in less than two weeks. We are also trying to have the dry Touriga bottled and ready by then. Once bottled, we will nurture these luscious offerings through bottleshock and have them ready for release at the GRAND OPENING. We may even have previews of some 2010 wines including our new additions, the Petite Sirah and Souzão dessert wine. So, stay informed and sign up on the mailing list, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and don't forget to check out the cool stuff in the webstore.


Cheers! - Jeff


January 24, 2011 - A New Year and New Adventures


Happy New Year from the Toadies! The year has started off with much activity and, as always, many choices and decisions to be made. We are preparing for our upcoming bottling, which includes the 2010 Viognier, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Merlot, 2009 Zinfandel and 2009 Touriga. Bottles have been selected and details are almost complete with the suppliers. The label proofs should be completed in the next few days so that they can be submitted to COLA for approval by "Big Brother" who makes sure we are in compliance with all the rules and regulations. Final evaluations of the wines will be completed in February and perhaps some blending may occur, but only if it will enhance the overall flavor, aroma and complexity of the wine.


The 2010 wines are coming along nicely with full, rich flavors, but with the anticipated lower alcohols resulting from the cooler than normal temperatures of the growing season. It is still very early to tell for sure how all will turn out, but the preliminary results are very promising. Thoughts about the 2011 harvest started when the 2010 grapes were in the winery and numerous discussions have been happening as we start planning for this year. Funny, it just never slows down.


The biggest wine equipment and supplier show on the west coast happens this month and we will be looking at all the shiny new toys and dreaming of having an endless bank account. Pumps and tanks and barrels - oh my! It is a great chance to see the latest equipment, meet with old and new suppliers, look for deals and gather up countless pounds of printed information. It is always interesting to see the latest innovations and try to determine what is a fad, what is of value and what will shape the trends of winemaking.


We are actively looking for a tasting room to call our own so you will have a place to come and visit and share our wines. As with all things, there are many options and things to consider when selecting the best location. We want to find the right place. The goal is to have a space ready for you to come and frolic in by July and, oh yeah, buy wine and Toad Gear. Speaking of Toad Gear, we have added a few new items to the Toasted Toad Store, so please make sure to check it out.


Reflecting back on the happenings of 2010, we really accomplished a lot. We had our first bottling and we survived our second crush. Toasted Toad Cellars and the toad logo became trademarked, which is a nervewracking process to endure while you wait to see if anyone will object to your name and mark. Perhaps, most importantly, we became a legal winery, obtaining our bonds and permits with the TTB and ABC. We survived our first full year of paying taxes and we don't think, but more importantly we hope, we didn't miss any. There are so many taxes and they occur so often, it is crazy! We made some really great wine that we are truly proud of and we even sold a bunch. We met some incredible people, including some other winemakers. Most importantly, we made no major mistakes and we had fun!


So, here is to another great year in 2011! We look forward to the major milestones we will hit this year, most importantly, having a tasting room to be able to share our wines and our story! - Jeff