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Smile for the Camera!

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Everyone always comments about how much fun we have working at the winery. We always feel like we need to talk about how much work it is to keep this business successful because it isn’t all fun and games. Then again, there are those days when we have fun at even the most daunting of tasks! Take this week’s “photo shoot”. We had a photographer come in a few weeks ago to get some new staff shots but Pam and I were not happy with our pictures(we never are!), so we set up a shoot of our own. (Pam is actually an amazing photographer!!) Now, we both like having our picture taken about as much as having our teeth pulled without anesthetic so we ended up goofing off “a little”. Check out some of my out-takes along with the finished products!

I forgot that I am not 20 years old trying to "pop" out of my sunroof!

I forgot that I am not 20 years old trying to “pop” out of my sunroof!

Almost There!

Almost There!

I made it!(and Pam edited!)

I made it!(and Pam edited!)

Can't help but laugh!

Lazy Day Rose Supports Local Breasts!

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Yes, you read that right!  Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery has partnered with the local chapter of Women Supporting Women! We are so proud to enter into this partnership and help send some much needed funds to this great organization that helps women, men, and their families during the difficult battle with breast cancer. For every bottle of Lazy Day Rose sold, we will donate $1 directly to Women Supporting Women!  This donation extends to wine sold in our retail partner stores as well as at the winery.  The donation will not be reduced by the wholesale price that is passed on to our retail clients. It will be a full $1 per bottle regardless of where it is purchased!  This is something that you can advertise to your customers as well. Let them know that the purchase of this wine supports local breasts! Look for the sticker on bottles when they come into your stores and restaurants announcing the Drink Pink! campaign.  
We are working on some new signage for this campaign as well, so if you have any suggestions or requests please let us know! As always please let us know if we can help you in any way! Order your Lazy Day Rose today to get it on the shelf and money in the hands of Women Supporting Women!

Tooting our own Horn!

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If you read our newsletter this month, you know that this is the time of year for education at the winery. I have attended multiple classes and seminars over the last few weeks to help get us all re-motivated for an exceptional Spring/Summer season here at Layton’s Chance. My latest class was just yesterday dealing with Microsoft Excel…I left feeling quite beat up and tear stains on my shirt! Shew!
Just last week Jen Layton, Pam, and I attended a class entitled Exceptional Customer Service. We were pumped to get some great tips and techniques to make sure that our customers know how special they are to us(that’s you, you know!). Well, the class fell very flat on it’s claim of “exceptional”. It was geared solely for companies that have problems with their customers….and that ain’t us!  We wanted to make sure we had all of the resources to “go the extra mile” for our guests and it was telling us how NOT to make customers mad!  We left left initially feeling very defeated that we had wasted a whole day at this class..but as we began chatting that defeat turned around to some uber confidence on our part.  We started comparing things from the class to real life situations at the winery and realized that we do a really good job, in our minds anyway.  I started trying to find that one thing that we do differently than other types of business and I realized that the answer is simple….we genuinely like our customers! Every last one of them! I don’t get the opportunity to work at the Tasting Bar every day, but am there for weekends and large events, and there has not been a single time where I haven’t had a great time myself. I love being at the winery and striking up a conversation with someone I have never met. Everyone of us thoroughly enjoys being with our customers. We have built really great and lasting friendships with our guests, I have a few of you on speed dial now! But this was never built into our business plan….it just happened because we all really love having a good time with you. Every time I am at the bar, there is something that happens that leaves a memory for me and a story to talk about for a long time to come.  Just remembering the “After Party” from Ladies Night:Hollywood & Wine with Lee Everett & Jen Gomez, Happy Hours with Peggy & Gene, Betsy & Kirk, Lisa & Bob, Carmen & Junior, Renee’s wonderful rendition of Rapper’s Delight, the “Girls of the Grape Stomp”, from the Harvest Festival….there are so many memories that come out of every day at the winery.  So, while I was strolling down memory lane and coming up with great experiences I thought that you might like to as well.  So, tell me….how do you think we do? But more importantly, what initially comes to mind when you hear the words Layton’s Chance?  Is there that funny story or memory that you just can’t help but laugh with? Tell us….I’d love to compare stories!

Food Pairings

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I recently saw a recipe from our good friend, Denise Williams, as Williams Market in Salisbury(not so shameless plug for that great little shop!) and was inspired to do a little food and wine pairing post here at Wine Tastic Wit & Wisdom. The wit goes without saying, but the wisdom sometimes…well, we’ll see! Check out her recipe for grilled corn below. It seems so simple, but the flavors are amazing! During my drinking, I mean research for this post, I ran into a problem.   I ended up with more than one wine that works well with any dish. Now for me this isn’t too much of a problem, because as you know Vidal Blanc is my “go to” wine and I love the affirmation that it not only goes well with fish, seafood, chicken, but also grilled corn, but so many people look at the tasting room for some direction on what to serve.  So, here goes nothin’! The grilled corn recipe featured in the article from the Metropolitan Magazine below uses garlic, as well as some optional herbs(cilantro, oregano, and parsley) so my immediate thought was Lazy Day Rose. Now this is good, but I wasn’t done there, there was more drinking to do! I usually do not think of our 2010 Chambourcin when thinking of summer foods…..I know, pure red wine snobbery here, but I first tend to think of dry reds for winter or warm weather foods.  But, I have got to tell you, our 2010 Chambourcin with a flavorful grilled corn. MWAH!(that’s a kiss people) Superb! Even though I am always telling everyone that my number one rule is to taste outside of your comfort zone, I tend to pick up Vidal Blanc every time and then think…”darn, I wanted to try something else tonight” but it can be hard do go outside of your favorite because life is too short for bad wine(stolen quote, but seemed appropriate) and you don’t want to have anything but the best wine experience every time. Well, as I have told my children more times than I like to think…”Do as I say, not as I do!” In this instance, I have been reminded that giving everything a chance can lead to some pretty darn good things!  Even though dry reds aren’t my usual fave, I can’t wait to try them with different, unexpected foods.   Just what I needed, another reason to drink!

So, try a different wine with your next meal and see what happy sounds your mouth can make! Happy tasting………

Grilled Corn Recipe/Article Here

….so you can be lazy

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We have recently adopted a new motto at the winery….We work like crazy so our guests can be lazy. And boy have we been crazy busy lately. Getting ready for our summer concert series, Grape Blossom Festival, Happy Hours, festivals…you name it, we have been doing it.  The only problem I have found with our motto is that the new winery mascot, Bo, has decided that he must be a guest and is taking the lazy part way out of hand.  I thought we would do a cool cameo on a day in the life of Bo, but check out the video to see all we got!  Until next time….we hope your days are more lazy than crazy this summer.

http://youtu.be/MDdrHtc7Kvs

Typical Day at the Winery

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I am told all of the time…”You are so lucky that you love your job”. And believe me, I am! But one thing that I always add to that is that I am so lucky to have a job that interests me so much.  I am incredibly lucky that I get to come to work and be interested about what I am going to see and learn that day…and believe me, I learn something new every day.  I love when people ask what a typical day at the winery is like.  Here is the answer to that question. There is no such day as “typical”. This morning when I pulled down the lane I was reminded in every way that there is not a “typical” day at Layton’s Chance, and I knew before I turned on my computer that I would be learning a lot today.  Today is a beautiful day – warm, sunny, only a slight chance of rain. While we all love to fantasize about laying by the pool on this kind of day, the real work is only beginning in the life of a farmer.  I was greeted by a wave from Cool Joe on the tractor spraying this morning(I will find out later what he is actually spraying – learning something new!) As I parked the car(next to, what else, a tractor!) I see a refrigerator truck pulled up to the winery and did a quick “yoo hoo”! Now this may not seem exciting to most, but to us at Layton’s this means the delivery of Concord juice to make Joe’s Cool Red! I am also quickly writing this blog because we have our weekly managers meeting today as well, where we discuss policies, procedures, and financials.  There is so much that encompasses our jobs at Layton’s besides serving great wine to our great friends(which is by far my favorite part of the day).  Check out some of the pictures below of one of our “typical” day…

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Cool Joe Rides AgainImageImage

My Very First Vineyard Blog!

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This is my first blog of many to come as I sit here on my day off Sunday (not really any days off with a wife and three children two of them being twins) The masses have spoken and they want me the vineyard manager to give you some information from the outside of the winery or in my world the vineyard and farm. The past week has been very hectic and very encouraging at the same time with the yearly growth of the vineyard and the winery. We received our shipment of vines this past week. We will be planting 617 new Chambourcin this coming Thursday and Friday and will have plenty of these available for you to plant on the View of the Vineyard this coming Saturday March 31. Last Friday we also had to replant 155 Norton that didn’t make it from previous years due to a number of different reason. After going through 2 different machine and 9 hours later we got them planted. It takes longer replanting on the older section of the vineyard because the trellis system and wires have been established in previous years. We have to work around the pre established vineyard but as my beloved Marine Corps has taught me you have to “adapt and overcome”. The more miserable the conditions are the more I love it (I wouldn’t go as far as to tell you my whole crew agrees with me though lol) I want to end my first blog and Thank my outstanding vineyard crew who are truly the backbone of the vineyard Janet who reminds me of my mother a lot with all her good advice she gives me, Nellie who is the longest running vineyard employee we have going her fifth full season Nellie reminds me of the USPS rain sleet or snow I can always count on her dependability, Garland who reminds me of myself when I was younger eager to learn and willing to work the extra hours when needed, Jon who is entering his first full growing season, Chuck, who primarily works with Joe on the grain side of the farm but can get thrown into the vineyard especially early in the year when we are planting new vines and replanting old ones and last but not least my wife Cara (I know she is not a employee of the Winery or Farm) without her understanding, support and listening to my numerous rants and me coming home from work planning my next day work many hours before the next work day begins our outstanding vineyard would not be possible. I am very fortunate to have a job that challenges you daily and at the same time makes earn your paycheck. As the 2012 growing season is just beginning (the majority of our vines have started to break bud which means the buds are splitting as we speak and the new growths are starting to come out) you the reader will get to read firsthand the challenges and rewards that go into growing the grapes that go into the Layton’s Chance wines that so many have come to love. Feel free to let me know if there is something in particular that you want me to talk about in future blogs as well. Until next time.

Semper Fi Marines!

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