Looking back on 2015

brace-yourselves-new-year-is-comingIt was a fast year. By fast I mean it still feels like it is May or June 2013. After Auction Napa Valley that year life was off and to the races. I was thinking of shopping around for a new day job, I was prepping for MTGA’s fourth harvest which was going to include the first round of Riesling and the general madness of the busy season was starting to set in. After those few months we zoomed right into 2014.

All of a sudden in was 2015 and now we are looking at another new year in the next few days. In the past I have done my “best of” wine moments from the prior year which I think has played itself out. As much fun as it is to recap the great times and beverages that were enjoyed over the course of the year I have posted plenty of photos via Instagram to cover that portion of the yearly recap.

So what do I want this post to be about? Excellent question! I have no idea so let’s find out.

2015 was a challenging year. If there was one word I would use to describe 2015 it would be “stressful.” It was the first year that I was looking to up the game with MTGA between the 2013 bottling run for the Merlot and Single Barrel. Pinot Noir was on deck for the harvest. I opened up two new markets between Oregon and Missouri. My new gig had a pretty big learning curve and provided a lot of fun challenges throughout the year. Looking back it doesn’t sound like a whole lot but somehow everything piled up immensely. Motivation was hard to come by because it was already being spent. There were a couple of immensely stressful moments, mostly in the last couple of months, but I feel like I was able to work through them (for the most part anyway).

Over the last couple of weeks I have been able to put together the next 4-5 year plan for MTGA which has been very fun and interesting. Everything that I wanted this project to do in the first five years has been accomplished. Now that I am wrapping up year six it was time to start looking at what could be done next and what my own goals were going to be. It required a bunch of reflection and quite honestly the decision to continue this project… or not. Spoiler alert: I chose the former.

So where is MTGA headed from here?

Hand SortingCurrently MTGA is sitting at about 250 cases in production and I’d like to take that up a notch, preferably to the 500 case range in the next year or so. The Merlot will continue to be the staple. I am going to track down a new awesome Riesling source since the previous one is no more. The Pinot Noir program is in its infancy but it is something that I would like to continue. There is that barrel of Cab Sauv lying around as well but its destiny has yet to be determined. All in all I’d say it is more than doable. It is just a matter of making it happen. That said that only accounts for 2 years of the next 5 year plan.

The following three will be a bit more exciting in terms of upping production a bit more, potentially bringing in some new and delicious varieties into the cellar and expanding to a couple more states outside of California. I will hold off on getting to far into the plans to avoid any spoilers…

One thing that I always keep coming back to is how much I love this crazy industry. It has its ups and downs like any gig but I would be willing to wager that the ups greatly outweigh the downs. Sometimes it was hard to see past those downs this year but I am sitting here typing up this post, so they couldn’t have been all bad.

IMG_3943I guess what I want this post to be about is perseverance. You don’t want to be so bullheaded that you ignore what is really going on around you. With any business you have to be able to take stock in what you have and decide what the next best course of action is. There are going to be the days where you think enough is enough but you plow through it anyway to find a sense of accomplishment for getting through the ruts.

Frankly I wouldn’t have been able to persevere through 2015 if it wasn’t for my amazing friends, family and clients of MTGA. With that I want to wrap this up with a huge thank you for your support; whether it was the bottle of wine you snagged, the ideas I bounced off you or the couple venting sessions I utilized to unwind.

Looking back it was a crazy but amazing year. Here is to starting a brand new game tomorrow.

Cheers!
-Manderson

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