You’d think it’d be the waiting. All this waiting. At first it was to find the right land. Then it was to do the dance so the wheat farmer (Old Wise All) would sell us it. Which did turn out shorter than expected, but a dance and wait game nonetheless. The wait to find water. How deep would we have to drill? How much would there be? Would we even find any? Then the waiting for the deer fence to be dug, the mainline to be set in, the 3-phase to be brought in, the plants to arrive.
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If ever you loved someone enough to see in their eyes the hopes and dreams they carry with them, and you know for a fact they aren’t clinically crazy, you’d know there is no other way to think: we would find a way. And how lucky, we thought, to be undertaking such a venture in a land of opportunity and community, our home country, the USA. Where the entrepreneur would be welcomed and embraced (Small Business, the backbone of America!)! Where the agricultural community would be glad to have (fairly) young people like us who wanted to keep the family farm alive and well! Where the wine world would greet a newcomer with—at the minimum—well, civility, wine being after all, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, “the most civilized thing in the world.”
Didn’t we have it wrong. Please don’t misunderstand, we never expected to show up at the party and have everyone love and support us from day one, but we would be greatly ill-prepared for how we and our endeavor would be treated: with veiled skepticism, if not outright negativity, and a little goodwill thrown in, but not very much. And from almost everyone we’d meet or speak to about our endeavor: realtors, family, friends, banks, potential investors, neighboring farmers, wine industry members, public relations people. You name it.
We weren’t famous, rich, or connected and any one or the combination of the three would’ve brought us, Scott suspects, immediate approval; established people always get the benefit of the doubt—new people do not. But we were new people, with not necessarily new, but different ideas of doing things, in a new—and, in the wine world, even though the ground is in the Columbia Valley AVA, unproven—location. And people would not let us forget any of it. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: big sky, brand writer, canopy, chemical sprays, Columbia Valley AVA, degree days, entrepreneur, Ernest Hemingway, French chateaus, Great Wine Rush, individual, Italian villas, kestrels, local food, marketing, Oregon Trail, picking, pruning, site selection, Small Business, soil, soil composition, steep hillside, tchotchkes, trellis, vine spacing, vineyard, vineyard manager, Washington state, weather, wheat farmer, wine, wine industry, wine world, Wineries in the United States