Eight years ago Guy wrote a blog post entitled "The Future of Tunnel Hill". At the time he was talking about the need to expand and grow the winery in order for it to thrive. With that in mind the new production facility was built and production was more than doubled from a mere 450 cases a year to the still small (in the grand scheme of wineries) 1100 cases. However, the more important message was about having the "audacity" to dream big and aim high.
Years ago I visited Napa and upon recommendations of colleagues toured several "founding" wineries in the area only to be disappointed. Maybe it was the fault of overly high expectations, but in some part I feel there can be a sense of complacency at the top. Now I do not presume to say that Tunnel Hill is at an apex or has the notoriety of such wineries. This is more a commentary on the need to always aim higher no matter what size fish you are in the pond. In fact size-wise we have always been "small". Small production, small tasting room, small staff, small town. This is a good thing. It makes us cozy, friendly; we know our customers and we love that! But in order to succeed we need to aim BIG. We need to cast a wider net and bring more people into our small, cozy family. In this day and age it is not enough to "just" make great wine and have a nice atmosphere, you need to reach out. You can't be complacent.
In grape growing there is a pruning practice in which the grower leaves a certain amount of "extra" wood to serve as a revitalizing shoot should there be winter damage or the need to replace a part of vine that is underproducing. This can be as little as a couple buds on the trunk near the base of the arm should one of those arms need to be replaced or an entire shoot at the base near the ground in case cold kills the entire trunk. These buds or shoots are called "renewals" and serve to revitalize the vine. My goal is to make this a renewal year for Tunnel Hill. A year with new technology to help us serve our customers better, a year where we strive to make even better wines than before, a year where we cast out our net. If you haven't visited in a while, give us a try. We think you'll like what you see (and taste). If you've been with us a while, thank you for being a part of our family.