17 August, 2021

The One About the Angels

They say winemakers only work three months of the year, the rest is just wining & dining and some travelling. I can assure you that it is not the case and especially during the last 18 months with Covid.

We used the quiet months to relook our packaging and worked on some exciting marketing strategies, new products not to mention amazing partnerships that came as a huge helping hand to my business. I mentioned the release of my Cluster Series Pinot Gris in the previous newsletter, and these wines will be available in selected outlets in the next few weeks. Not to brag, but my Focal Point Cinsault 2019 received a silver medal at the 2021 Old Mutual Trophy Show wine competition recently.

On the topic of red wine, it is that time of year where the 2021 vintage have been put to barrel, given time to rest and mature. The 2020 reds are being topped up every 2 months due to the angels’ share that has left the barrel. This is a term winemakers and spirits producers who age wine and spirits in barrel use to explain the evaporation of liquid from the slight porousness of oak casks. It is not necessary to top up spirits casks as the alcohol level is high and protects the spirits and concentrates flavours. However, in wine, the alcohol level is too low, so we top up to protect the wine from oxidation.

Getting back to winemakers only working 3 months a year, we also deal with a lot of paperwork and government regulated stock takes. Being an independent winemaker, I am also the export manager, partial accountant, cellar worker, debt collector and forklift driver. My wife, Madeleine Laarman helps with social media and marketing activities.

So, while we quietly continue doing our thing and the angles continuing helping themselves, we are excited and looking forward to Summer 2021. May the wine industry flourish again and our guardian angels get a little break!

One year ago, I was rescued by an Angel. Well to be 100% honest, a whole bunch of them actually. Angels present themselves in all different forms and act as protectors and guides for humans in everyday life. My team of Angels came in the form of wine enthusiasts that were supportive enough to reach out to independent winemakers like myself. Naked Wines Angels!

After an already challenging few years in the new business, mainly because of health issues, I found myself in the deep pit of Covid-19 and with serious restrictions to trade in the initially international and later just local market. But the helping hand came in the form of a Covid-Relief fund where Naked Wines Angels contributed big pounds to purchase wines from a total of 20? winemakers like myself for mix cases distributed throughout the UK to the Angels (VIP members) of their successful online sales outlet.

A year later, I was accepted as one of the regular winemakers supplying Naked Wines UK with wines regularly. The difference that this support made to my business is something I am forever grateful for and I am excited to pay it forward in the near future. For now, till the time comes, I am happy to part with the small percentage of ‘the angel’s share’ and happily keep on topping up the barrels!

You can see my profile here (https://www.nakedwines.com/producers/arco-laarman) on Naked Wine’s site and to all the amazing Angels out there, Thank You!

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