Hi Strey fam! I miss you guys so much! It’s been a month and a half since we had to close the tasting room, and somehow it feels like a lifetime ago. In case you are living under a rock, I’ll give you the lowdown. Firstly, if you DO live under a rock, and you are wondering why we had to close the tasting room, STAY THERE, things are crazy right now. We are in the middle of a world wide pandemic. Never in our lifetimes have we seen anything quite like this. In order to stop the spread of this pneumonia-like, super contagious, and deadly virus, our CA governor made the decision to start closing down “nonessential” businesses starting with industries like wine tasting rooms, and bars. This quickly escalated to closing the doors to thousands of businesses. In many cases, some workers are able to work from home, but this has resulted in an unprecedented amount of mass layoffs.
While this has been a devastating and exhausting situation for many people, small business owners are taking a huge hit. In our county of Ventura “social distancing” has been strictly enforced, meaning people who do not live together are obligated to stay at least 6 feet apart. Places like Strey that rely on face to face customer interactions in order to sell our product are struggling to find a niche that supports social distancing, and can be lucrative.
It has been a whirlwind of restructuring. Our wines are now available on our website for purchase (text orders also accepted at 551.404.4044) and we have shifted to “contact-less” curbside pickup for wine. Katie has mastered this ninja skill. While wearing a mask and keeping her distance, she will place your order directly into your trunk. You don’t even need to leave your vehicle. There are two main struggles with this system, firstly, Katie misses hugs. And more importantly, Tawny doesn’t understand social distancing, and is feeling increasingly neglected by her wine family. When this is all over, Tawny needs “more belly rubs” (extra point is you get that reference).
In addition to contact-less curbside pickup, we just launched Take Home Wine Tastings! And you guys, I am so excited! With pick up month commencing, we were at a loss on how to showcase our new wines. Oh, did I mention that the first week of April we had a massive bottling? I know a lot of you were looking forward to helping, but due to certain restrictions, we could not open this experience to the public. Strey bottled 1,604 cases with only 8 hands on deck, well I guess 16 actual hands, but a job that normally requires closer to 16 people, was completed in two days, by only 8. Normally, we would have released a few new wines during pick up week, and you all would be able to come in to taste, and pick up. Instead, we created in-home tasting kits!
We are pretty obsessed with them! We now have a white wine flight and very soon, a red wine flight! This is the first time we have had white wines available, which I know makes a lot of our moms and grandmas very happy. I was looking forward to being able to say yes when customers inquired about a white flight! Alas, they are here now, and you can take it home!
Our flights include 5, 50ml bottles (which is a little bit more than a typical 1oz pour), tasting notes, and you can add on a remote wine maker tasting video with Scott to expand the experience! I am equally excited for each flight (sign me up, Katie!), while I generally prefer red wines, I have a really close relationship with our white wines. Not only was I intimately involved in harvest, but I was able to help Scott rack the white wines when they were just weeks old, and have been tasting them periodically throughout their life cycle. I was given the privilege of writing most of our labels this year, so I spent a lot of extra time with these wines. In fact, I was writing labels while Scott was creating our unique and delicious white blend, Inclined! I can see Inclined quickly becoming a favorite for day drinkers! (We are all day drinkers, now right? Welcome to the club!) I was about to write that I cannot wait to “see” you all tasting these new wines, and then I realized that I don’t get my usual front row seat to your reactions to our wines! Well, in that case, please tag @streycellars (and me!) on social media when you taste from home to let us know what your favorites are! I love sharing the wine tasting experience with our members, so don’t let me miss out completely! I am counting on you.
Our red flight is rumored to include our 2017 Petite Syrah, which is phenomenal! It is one of my absolute favorite wines, next to our 2015 Cabernet Franc, which is also included in the red flight. I believe that Triple Z, our new blend of 3 Zinfandels will be included as well! For those of you who love that big fruity flavor with a hint of sweetness, I know you’ll be drooling over this one! It’s juicy and aromatic, I cannot wait to hear* your responses!
My girlfriends and I are planning a Zoom tasting of these new wines, partially so I can have the satisfaction of seeing their faces when they taste, but also because I really miss their faces. It’s such a trip that this is our new normal, but I am also extremely impressed that we have been able to roll with these new restrictions, and face this challenge head-on. Not one day has gone by that we have not been brainstorming, creating, and planning our next moves. Strey has always prided itself in being innovative and creative. We are confident in rolling with our contemporary energy, and riding this wave, wherever it takes us.
Remember that May is pickup month, so be sure to order your take home tastings, so that you can place your orders for pickup! You can order online, or email or text Katie with your preferences. We are so sad to miss having a pick up party this month. We had such a fun theme planned, “Spring Swing”! Katie, Natalie, and I were looking forward to playing dress up with all of you, and showing off our skills on the dance floor! I’m going to try not to mourn that loss, but instead look forward to the future. At least there is still wine.
*I wrote hear but wanted to write see. So the asterisk is to highlight my bitterness at missing out on “seeing” you taste our new wines.
Author’s note: My name is Justine and I have been working in the tasting room at Strey Cellars for over four years. We are a small family owned local boutique winery. If this is your first visit to my blog, you’ll notice that I write as if we are old friends, because this is the energy of our winery. Come visit sometime, and see for yourself. If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend. Cheers!