I’m Back

The other day, I had a conversation with Casey (husband, father, vineyard manager, nurse), who pointed out that it had been over a year since I last posted a blog! I apologize for my radio silence. Some of it is due to changing our website, and I haven’t kept up to date on how to do things (like writing the blog). Some of it was just life being crazy, and some of it was prioritizing more important things (like spending time with kids and making wine). The truth is, I love to write and share my thoughts in written form, so I really wanted to get back to it.

But where to start when it’s been so long? Do I begin by catching up on the last year, or do I just start fresh? I’ll try to catch up, though I won’t do justice to everything by just giving the highlights.

Harvest 2022 was a whirlwind of grapes, friends, good food, and me thinking daily, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this.’ It felt like every moment was surreal. Our first day of picking. Our first day of destemming and pressing grapes. Our first batch of yeast. Our last day of picking. Our first racking of wine. Our last racking of wine. Our first filtration. Our first bottling. Seeing labels on those bottles. Pouring our first taste of wine to customers. Our first sale. Every step sunk in more and more… ‘we really are doing this!’

Fast forward through a winter full of finishing wines and resting. Feeling like we weren’t working nearly hard enough after working so hard through harvest. I remember clearly talking with a friend who owns his own construction company and telling him about hearing all these startup owners saying how the first year they worked 12-15 hours a day, 7 days a week, the first few years of their business. Here we were kind of putzing through our work. He told me those people that said they worked that much were lying; no one can work that hard that long and be successful without burning out. He reminded me we work on a farming schedule, that the spring and summer are busy, the fall is hectic, and the winter is for resting and putzing around. For spending time with our kids that we lost over harvest. To catch up on sleep. And reconnect as a family. It was the most encouraging and best advice I could have gotten. I allowed myself to be okay with slowing down and being a mom over a winemaker.

Which was good, because summer came, and our Grand Opening on May 20th, coincidentally just 5 days before the anniversary of us closing on the property. The grand opening was amazing! It was another one of those moments of ‘this is really happening,’ and people were here, enjoying our wines, enjoying friends, and food. There was laughter and conversation, filling our winery… it was wonderful.

Every month over the summer, we had more people come through. We started to see regulars, which I never knew how special regulars are to a small business. Our Sunset Sips once a month were so much fun, staying open late, taking in the summer evenings over wine. Just thinking about warm days makes me long for their return (to be fair, I’ve always been a summer girl, it must have something to do with my heritage).

We capped off the season during wine week with our Italian Family-Style Dinner. Instead of attending Winefest, we chose to invite people here to experience a real Italian meal. I made a bunch of my family’s recipes. We set up one long table on our patio and kept it to 30 people for a more intimate setting. We served the pasta, salad, and bread in large bowls to pass around the table. We encouraged everyone to get to know the person next to them because the rules of an Italian dinner are that “you talk about anything and everything, and if someone doesn’t agree with you, just talk louder until they do.” At one point, while I was busy in the kitchen preparing the next course, I paused and listened to the den of laughter and conversation, and my heart felt full.

Harvest 2023 started the next day. We quickly found ourselves knee-deep in picking grapes, destemming grapes, pressing grapes, eating grapes, testing grapes… you get the picture. The days started early and went late. Most of the days were spent out picking grapes with our whole family out in the vineyard, sometimes with friends, sometimes it was just Casey as I had to run the tasting room. We even set up a tasting station out in the vineyard during the week so that I could help Casey in the vineyard, and when customers came, they could come out to the vineyard, or I could join them in the tasting room. Some days we spent all day picking, would have dinner as a family, play with the kids, put them to bed, then process the grapes into the wee hours of the morning. Some nights (or mornings), I would stay up after Casey went to bed since he had to get up early and work at the hospital the next day. My latest night, I went to bed at 4 am because I had lost track of time and was cleaning away. It was an exhausting, thrilling time as we harvested more than twice what we did the year before. We were truly blessed with an abundant harvest!

We wrapped up harvest and went into our slow season. The transition was harder than anticipated. Having worked too long and late every day for months, we were still in work mode. It took our family some time to slow down, reconnect and reprioritize. Now we are enjoying some family time while our tasting room is slow and planning for new things this year.

Looking forward, we have new wines on the horizon and new opportunities. We spent some time brainstorming what this coming year will look like. From weddings to live music. Book club to Sunset Sips. Italian Family-Style Dinners to planting more vines.