Go all the way.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery — isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”— Charles Bukowski
This little verse is by the man himself, Bukowski, and I couldn’t agree more. His words seem to resonate now more than ever. There is no better fight than to go all the way and to completely immerse yourself in one’s craft. We feel our 2018 line-up is our first time truly going all the way — Bukowski style.
Now, a quick pivot into the 2020 Spring letter:
I recently watched a documentary about diamonds. They say diamonds are created far below Earth’s crust, like hundreds of miles inside the mantle… so way, way down there… and at a certain point, the pressure and heat are so intense it creates a beautiful, sparkly diamond. Then, once a diamond is formed, it has to be launched to Earth’s surface by a volcanic eruption. Well, in many ways, this is what Levo is today. A self-induced diamond factory. Not in a self-righteous sense that we make “only diamond quality” wines or anything ridiculous like that. I believe if you want to make something exceptional, you need to walk through the fire and feel the pressure. Let me explain.
Since day one at Levo, I’ve purposely put myself into a state of pressure, constantly feeling the heat. For starters, I create an entirely new label every year for each wine. That in itself is a mind-bending, challenging, and artistically invigorating process. Then there is the winemaking, an entirely separate bowl of wax. In the early years, I had absolutely zero idea how to make wine. I didn’t go to school for it, I don’t hail from a rich french lineage of vignerons, nor did I intern for some crazy wizard of a winemaker. If a bum off the street had read “wine for dummies” they would’ve been a more qualified winemaker than me. I mean, I could barely fill a barrel without erupting the precious juice out of the top. I had no idea how to plug in a wine pump, polish a tank, or prune a grapevine. I had zero business driving a forklift, or stacking barrels. If you want some world-class entertainment, taste w/ Eric Carucci at his tasting room in Los Olivos, ask him about the time I launched and shattered his most prized barrel of Duvarita Syrah. Needless to say, I wasn’t forklift certified at the time, but as they say… most lessons are learned the hard way.
At a certain point, all this unknown, and all this lack of experience forced me into a corner I find myself very familiar with these days — the edge of the unknown. The path forward is never obvious, so you get creative, and your brain stretches in weird ways you never thought possible. Now I’m a permanent resident in this beautiful grey area. Unsure of my next turn… Hell, I don’t even know what our label is going to be next year, but then again, I never have. More than anything, forcing yourself to improvise stimulates your creative juices, and then when you feel like you couldn’t be pressed any harder…when things couldn’t get any hotter…you get a diamond.
Our newest release, “Under the Gun” is a diamond. I won’t bore you with the harvest details, the percentage of new oak, the weather patterns of 2018, the amount of rain we received that winter, or anything even remotely close to that level of geekdom. Consider yourself spared from the epidemic of boorish release letters. 2018 was a great vintage. Old-timers say the best in a decade or more, and the wines are supremely yummy. I will tell you the contents of these bottles are by far our best effort to date. As with anything special made by Mother Nature, the quantities are more skimpy than ever. We were hyper selective of which juice made it into these bottles.
The 2018 wines are what this Idaho boy set out to make so many years ago. Two hundred fifty thousand nine hundred miles on the old Tacoma if we are measuring in miles. If I could remake 2018 over and over for the rest of my life, I’d be happy and probably also have to check myself into AA. But I digress… Perfection is not the way wine works. The unique individuality and imperfections of each vintage are what makes wine so fun. 2018 was a special blip in time, a tiny morsel of goodness given to us by Mother Nature. Like a snow day or a perfectly calm hot summer afternoon at the beach, there isn’t much explaining to do. You bask in it, make snow angels, and rejoice for all that is fine in the world.
So next time you feel the scorching pressure, next time you find yourself “Under the Gun,” don’t sweat it. Just bottle it in, and let that special combination of heat and pressure escort you to a shiny, diamond-encrusted end. I assure you that’s what we’ll be doing over here at Levo. That’s our secret sauce.
I’m signing off now, but before I go, I’d like to thank you, each one of you, for everything. For stopping by the winery and saying hello, for the kind notes, the pictures, the cigars, the hugs… We LOVE you guys. Thanks for sticking with us.
Wishing you all the diamonds,
Bret & The Levo Team
Kurt Vile – Bottle it In
The Spring Release Shipment includes:
- (2) Central Coast Grenache 74% Grenache 15% Graciano 8% Petite Sirah 3% Roussanne
- (2) Central Coast Syrah 88% Syrah 12% Petite Sirah
- (2) Central Coast Petite Sirah 84% Petite Sirah 13% Grenache 3% Syrah
Spring 2020 Wine Club Release Dates
- March 1st: Cut off for account changes such as shipping address, will-call, and card on file. The easiest way you can make changes to your account is by logging in here: Member Login and updating through our website. You can always call the tasting room (805) 400-5994 or email email@example.com for help as well. After March 1st, we cannot accommodate account changes.
- March 2nd-3rd: Credit Cards Processed.
- March 14th: Release Party! 4 pm-7 pm here in Tin City – location to be announced as we get closer 🙂
- March 16th: Shipping Out!
West Coast: CA, OR, WA, AZ, NV, NM, ID via GSO unless requested otherwise Mid West & East Coast: AK, CO, CT, DE, D.C., FL, GA, HI, IA, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MO, MT, NE, NJ, NY, OH, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, WY via UPS unless requested otherwise
UPDATED SHIPPING POLICIES: GLS, formerly GSO, is our preferred shipping partner for West Coast states CA, OR, WA, AZ, NV, ID. Midwest and East Coast states ship via UPS. FedEx is available per request. We highly recommend shipping to a business or office where a person 21 years or older will be present to receive and sign for the package to avoid delayed or returned shipment. You may also have the wines shipped to or held at your local UPS or FEDEX ship center.
All of our wine ships from Pa so Robles, California. Shipping times may vary depending on order day, time, and destination. Shipping charges are calculated based on the weight and destination of the shipment.
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO HOLD PACKAGES IF INCLEMENT WEATHER POSES A RISK TO THE QUALITY OF THE WINE. WE WILL NOTIFY YOU IMMEDIATELY IF SHIPMENT IS DELAYED.
Returned Packages: If a package is returned to us because there is not an adult present at the given address to sign for the shipment, we’re going to drink it! To re-ship, you will be required to pay the carrier return fee (outbound shipping cost + $19 return fee), a $10 reprocessing fee, and the new shipping charge. Contact us directly to coordinate the re-ship. You can also opt to receive a refund on your shipment minus the carrier return fee.