April 26, 2009
By Bruce Bordelon, Ph.D.
- Production 60% of normal due to Easter freeze
- Early harvest prevented lady beetle damage
The 2007 growing season was unusually warm and dry across much of the Midwest. The year's most significant event was the "Easter Freeze" that hit much of the region. After record warm temperatures in March, early April brought several days of below freezing temperatures. Many fruit crops across the region were severely damaged. Most of Indiana's vineyards had shoot growth of 1 to 6 inches at the time of the freeze, and were damaged severely. Fortunately, secondary buds on most varieties were highly fruitful and a reasonably good crop was produced. Overall production was about 60% of normal.
The summer months were hot and dry. Growing degree-day accumulation was about 25% above average. Rainfall was about 75% of normal in most areas, but less than 50% of normal in southeast Indiana. Grape disease pressure was minimal, due to the dry conditions. Powdery mildew was the only disease of any concern.
Harvest dates were about normal for early grape varieties, but the season was compressed, with many of the mid- and late season varieties harvested one to two weeks earlier than normal. The multi-colored Asian lady beetle was not a problem this season, because the early harvest occurred before beetles began to move into grapes.
Fruit quality was excellent overall. The 2006-07 winter was slightly warmer than normal, and winter injury was minor. Coldest temperatures occurred in early to mid-February, and ranged from 0[degrees]F in the southern half to -12[degrees]F in northern Indiana.
Demand for Indiana-grown grapes continues to outpace supply, which has led to a modest increase in acreage. Most of the new plantings have been in the premium hybrids, but some vinifera varieties are being produced on the best sites. Indiana currently has 36 wineries, with several expected to open in the near future.
Indiana wine sales exceeded 700,000 gallons in 2006. Welcoming more than 1 million visitors each year, the Indiana wine industry contributes more than $34 million to the state's economy, and is the state's No. 1 agri-tourism destination. For additional information about the Indiana wine industry, please visit indianawines.org.
April 09, 2009
I co-founded my company, Innersync Studio, in 1998 with the desire to build a better web site. We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary and over these last 10 years, I realized we have evolved into a completely different animal than the one we were when we started. Whether it is the nature of our business, or the economic down-turns we have seen between 2000 and now, we are different. We think differently and we do things differently. When we started our company, we neither had established processes, nor an employee handbook. Heck, we didn't even have insurance. We formed our LLC and got right into the lifestyle.
But as time went on, the lifestyle turned into a liability. Instead of making money, we may as well have been burning it. But now, we have a process. We have a single way of doing something and we do it at a very high level. When we hire a new employee, we show them the process and ask them not to tell anyone. When the person understands the process, a lot of things can go without saying. Eventually, that same employee can show another new-hire the process.
You catch my drift... without an established road map, you are blind... or at minimum, wandering aimlessly... and burning up my money. It's my job as an employer to tell you how I want something done. If someone deviates from my process, I have a basis to scorn them. If I didn't have a process to begin with, I just need to shut up. So I now arrive at the main point I wanted to make. As an employer who has hired and fired my share of helpers, I have a thing or two to say about who I consider a good employee... and more to the point, when we realize we are exiting this recession, the type of person I will look to hire.
I consider the stage we are in as a natural cleansing. When the economy picks up again, it's true that web designers and programmers will again be sought after. However, what it will NOT be for me is business as usual. I will not be looking for fancy resumes with certification labels. I will not be basing my decision on someone's experience... and believe it or not, I will not even base it on the quality of someone's portfolio of work. Sure, these will all be considered, but here are a few of the things I'll be looking for:
- I don't always mind training someone in the software and technologies we use if I they are someone who will take notes and learn it without making me have to explain it again after a weekend of partying.
- Someone who knows how to manage their time. In a small company like mine, you will have a lot to do. Your successes and failures will be very noticeable and they directly impact profits and losses. I will admit, I am still climbing this mountain myself. I am hard on myself for this and sometimes, I find myself making up lost time in the evenings.
- Someone with a strong work-ethic... where without any suggestion from me, will go back and tweak it one more time to make it right before they bring it back to me. Someone who takes charge and accountability for their task and they will check things and make sure they look and work good so I do not have to come behind them and clean up. This person is aware that sloppiness costs someone money, and it's usually the company.
- I like creative and thoughtful people who will make suggestions to me about a better way of skinning the cat. I'll point out my process again. I put it in place so that everyone can use it as a road map. I demand that everyone follow it. However, if someone wants to change the process by suggesting a better way, I want to hear it and in fact, I will begin to favor a person who is thinking about the good of the company like this.
- Clock watchers tend to be the types who overlook the details. They have come from big companies where their efforts have been buried by those around them. Overlooked details ultimately come back to me as a customer complaint. If it's approaching 5pm and you are on the last leg of a project, I ask, would it be time to pack up and bolt and lose that momentum, or might it be better to finish the project and make it right so that you are done and fresh for the next project? This type of person has my attention, and most-likely, a promotion coming.
- Someone who has a genuine interest in being great and making big things. They will go the extra mile to make the latest project better then the last, despite having a full schedule. This is where desire and time-management come together as one. This to me signifies a person who is growing... intentionally.
These are only my ideas. It represents a paradigm shift in the way I look at and evaluate potential employees. I may go as far as... it's me voicing what most small business owners might be thinking. To some, it might sound like I run a sweat shop, but big success allows for much fun and celebration. To the right person, it's an opportunity to grow and feel like a contributor. Success can come as fast as you want it to in a company as small as Innersync. When there are only 4-8 parts, movers and shakers are needed to make it run like a well oiled machine.
April 03, 2009
The Zinfandel vines are supposedly 100 years old at the Thomas Family winery in Madison, IN.
We grabbed a group of friends and headed to Madison, Indiana to visit the Thomas Family winery and attend the "Hot" Luck dinner. It's apparently an annual event that is free 'o charge and all are welcome to bring a dish made in the "spicy tradition." Everything was "hot." There was cayanne pepper in the fudge and my favorite was the chocolate lamb curry. There was so much food and all of it was awesome.
Of course the old vine Zinfandel was what I most looked forward to. I hear they are 100 year old vines. They definitely have a better grip on the red wines but I thought the whites were very average. They tasted similar to my own wine... that is still being mastered.
Overall, great food and wine and a good round of friends can't be beat. I'll be looking forward to heading back next year and I think I'll bring my white bean deer chili... whith some heat added.
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- email me at krullion at hotmail dot com
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