Can we all agree that we are living in some truly crazy times?! COVID, post-COVID, supply chains, inflation, interest rates, Ukraine, etc., etc. While it might seem overwhelming at times I can make a case that we are, as a society and as a nation, living in remarkable times. Does anyone truly believe "people were better off in..(pick a year)? Yes, we have challenges but those are met by moving forward. The best news I can deliver right now is that it is almost (officially) SPRING!
What is Spring but a season of renewal and rebirth. The days grow longer, temperatures moderate, wildflowers bloom and Cicada Cellars releases new wines! While I cannot convey an exact date I can tell you we have an exciting new lineup headed your way...stay tuned!
We've all been hearing for months about inflation, supply chains, shortages, etc. and Cicada Cellars is not immune to these market forces. Labels (regular and tiny), bottles (regular and tiny), cardboard (for shippiing and carry-outs), corks, printing, insurance, property taxes, and on and on and on are but a few examples of where we are being hit with higher prices. Primary to inceases on many of the aforementioned costs is the dramatic rise in shipping costs!
We simply cannot continue as a viable business without responding to these increases. We are saddened to have to announce that prices (across the board) at Cicada Cellars will be increasing come January 1, 2022. It won't be too dramatic but our loyal customers will notice the increases. It is still our firm belief that even this new pricing structure compares favorably to what we are seeing occur at other area wineries. We will continue to provide the best wines for the most competitive prices and we hope you understand they dilemma we are in. We truly appreciate your patronage and look forward to seeing you all in 2022!
If you've been looking for an excuse to visit the wineries in the Texas Hill Country, now is a great time to come on out! If you are longing to re-visit your favorite local wineries or find new favorites, now is a great time to come on out!
The crowds in our area traditionally thin out a bit this time of year as vacations wrap-up and families concentrate on getting the kids back to school, that...and it's really, really hot! Add concerns about COVID and its variants and it all combines to make it, actually, an ideal time to visit.
Crowds are lighter allowing more choices amongst local accomodations, restaurants are a bit less crowded and the overall paced is a bit more relaxed. You can even have the option of joing a harvest crew or showing off your grape-stomping abilities at more than a few local wineries.
Mostly significantly, a lot of wineries (Cicada Cellars included) use this time to ease in to the introduction of their newest wines. Who doesn't want to be among the first to try new varietals and new blends? At Cicada Cellars we are releasing seven new wines (four reds, a rosé and two whites). "On tap" are: a new Tempranillo, Tempranillo/Malbec blend, a Mourvèdre, a Petite Sirah/Tannant blend, a new Rosé, a new Muscat and a hybrid varietal called Villard Blanc.
Plan a trip out before the busy Fall season and you're sure to enjoy a more relaxed and easy-going advventure!
You would think that after starting a small business (and all that entails) and surviving a once-in-a-generation (we hope) world-wide pandemic that few things could contine to surprise and challenge...well, you'd be wrong!
As many of you know, businesses today are blessed (and cursed) by the proliferation of webites and apps that allow customers to rate their experiences at your operation. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred I don't concern myself as I am confident that our patrons receive great customer service and are served superior products. Regardless of the rating I personally respond to each and every review. Of course it's natural to be thankful and humbled by five-star reviews and difficult to read anything negative that may be posted.
A review of the negative persuasion was recently offered via Yelp by a gentleman who felt mistreated as he was informed that our restrooms are reserved for our customers. This gentleman pulled up out front, perpendicular to our existing parking, walked right past our two posted (and very obvious) signs stating "No Public Restrooms, No Exceptions" and asked to use our faciities. When informed they were for customers-only he offered to purchase a bottle of wine. At that point, I relented and he did is business. Upon leaving he asked to purchase a bottle of water (seemingly thankful for the use of the facilities). It was, of course, at that time that our POS system decided to freeze up, requiring that I re-login. He had no cash so I told him to "just forget it" but a kind customer at the bar paid his $2.00 tab and off he went. (I subsequently and politely refused the kind $2.00 offer). Of course, his recall of the events varied considerably and this goes to show that perspective matters.
Reviews will be what they will be and perspectives will often differ. What does remain constant however is the right of a business owner to refuse service and/or limit access to available amenities (so long, of course, as such refusals and/or limitations are not in violation of statutes prohibiting discrimation of protected classes). I didn't open my winery to be a rest stop for bladder/bowel emergencies or conveniences nor do I desire to clean up after anymore people than necessary. The "policy" was put into place as the result of bad experiences with itenerate visitors and this episode cements the view that we have done the right thing for our business despite a poor review/rating.
One of the cleanest rest stops in Texas is, literally, less than two miles away. That peolpe feel entitled to ignore posted policies and use any random business for their convenience speaks to the continued erosion of civility and manners in today's society. I ask that you, dear reader, remember to use your manners...!
We are pleased to announce our participation in the latest Texas Hill Country Wineries passport event: Wine and Wildflower Journey. The event begins on March 22nd and ends on April 16th. As always, NO RESERVATIONS are required to visit Cicada Cellars but we have opted to limit passport holders and discounts to visits on Thursday and Fridays ONLY. Please keep this in mind when planning your visits. We look forward to seeing you soon!
While we applaud the unleashing of Texans into a headlong rush for a strong recovery we also believe that these recent developments DO NOT relieve any of us from taking personal responsibility for our actions. The virus (and increasingly, its variants) is still with us and poses a real threat to wide swaths of the population.
The scariest thing (to me) is the ease at which COVID-19 spreads asymptomatically. This, in and of itself, is reason enough to still practice heightened hygene AND wear a mask when in crowded places. Until "everyone" is vaccinated we must continue our vigilence. There is NOTHING POLITICAL about either the virus or wearing a mask. If you don't care about your own health please at least consider the health of those around you. We all know "that guy" who goes to school or work with symptoms of the cold or the flu, "that guy" who exposes the whole class or office. We all hate "that guy". Don't be "that guy".
Barbra and I have been blessed to have receive our second shot of the Moderna vaccine but we are fully aware that most others have not. As such, we continue to ask that patrons wear a mask when not seated at the bar or a table.
Lastly, we will be returning to our pre-COVID operating hours, effective March 11, 2021, they are:
Thursday and Friday 11-5:30 Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 12-5
Texas Hill Country Wineries is hosting the 2021 Wine Lovers Celebration from February 1st through the 26th. This digital passport event is only $100/couple or $65/individual and entitles passport holders to complementary wine tastings and bottle purchase discounts at 45 wineries in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Note, you are limited to visiting 4 wineries a day. Passports may be purchased at http://www.texaswinetrail.com
We are one of the few wineries in the area that require NO RESERVATIONS for customers to visit. We do ask, however, that you recognize we are in the midst of a deadly pandemic. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 (or, frankly, anything at all) we ask that you have the courtesy to stay home. If you have knowingly been exposed to anyone showing symptoms or having been diagnozed with COVID-19 (or, frankly, anything at all) please take appropriate steps to protect those around you by wearing a mask, covering nose and mouth, and maintan a proper social distance from anyone not in your party.
If, like most, you are always on the lookout for a great deal and new experiences you need to check out texaswinetrail.com for details on this years Christmas Wine Affair that begins on December 4th and runs through December 20th. The purchase of this electronic pass entitles the holder to complementary tastings at 45 Texas wineries and eligibility for discounts on bottle purchases. The value of the complementary tastings typically will pay for the cost of the pass after two or three winery visits. See the Texas Wine Trail website for full details.
As we have all adjusted to the COVID-19 realities or enhanced sanitation, social distancing, etc, our plan is to slowly "re-expand" our hours of operation to gradually return business-as-usual. With your continued patronage and enthusiasm for our wines we believe we can safely operate three days a week. Our latest hours will be FRIDAY 11-5, SATURDAY 11-6 and SUNDAY 12-5 starting the first Friday in October (10/2).
We sincerely appreciate your continued support through these difficult times!
As many of you know, numerous wineries have opted to "re-license" themselves into food establishments (an entity that derrives 51% or more of its revenue from food and non-alcohol related sales). We have elected not to follow suit as the immediate and long-term costs of such an action are beyond the scope of what we originally set out to do, provide the best possible wines we can. We don't want to be a "restaurant" nor are we willing to engage in accounting "misdirection" to manipulate our alcohol earnings ratio. This choice may sink us but the costs associated with "conversion" would definately do so.
The good news is that folks are still visiting the area and patronizing small businesses...we sincerely thank you for that! Additionally, the wine areas outside of Fredericksburg have gone from being a "food desert" to food being much more readily available. Silver linings indeed!
We will continue to offer our unique "tastings-on-the-go" as well as other surprises. Please stop in and see what's going on!