Coaching and blogging are supposedly activities that you can do from any location (provided you have phone and internet access) So I decided that one of my posts this week would be done from my vacation location – Cape Cod. Should it be one of my typical blogs or something different? A visit today to the Truro Vineyards resolved my dilemma.
It’s not quite a story of halfpreneurs but it will do. In 1990, two women familiar with the wine industry of New York’s Finger Lakes region visited Cape Cod and saw the property that was for sale. At that time it was an old dairy farm. The gently sloping south-facing fields caught their attention as the perfect orientation for the grape plants. They checked soil conditions and rainfall information and decided the farmhouse and barn would make a good location for a winery. They were thinking a starting a winery in the Finger Lakes region but there were many new wineries being started there. What about being the only winery on the outer (lower) Cape – was their thought.
They bought the property and turned the farmhouse into a Bed and Breakfast to bring in an income until wines were being produced. They planted grapes and turned the barn into the winery. Three years later they were producing three varieties of wine. More fields were planted and contacts were made to buy grapes grown in other areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Eventually grapes from California made the long truck journey from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. The bed and breakfast continued to supplement their income. More income came from a gift store/wine store.
More grapes, more wine. Red wines typically take more time to produce often 18 to 24 months, while some white wines are ready in only a few months. Some September grapes are bottled white wine by Memorial Day, and the future red wines are still fermenting in their second oak barrels.
Seven years ago, these two women decided it was time to move on. One of the frequent visitors to the winery who was in the beverage trade was intrigued. He knew one side of the industry and he was approaching retirement age. Time for a new challenge and an economic opportunity for his family! The beer brewing son learned a new process and took over the winery. The bed and breakfast is gone but tours of the property and wine tastings are available. 19 wines are now produced, and if I remember this afternoon’s lecture tour 12,000 cases of wine are produced annually. A winery with not even four acres of grapes is one of the leading wineries in New England.
As for my vacation – we had one beach day and are now experiencing “GRAPE WEATHER.” Grape weather is cool, foggy summer weather that grapes love! Maritime species of grapes can absorb water and minerals through their skins. Great weather for the grapes and wine, but another gray day with temperatures in the 60s F; and an Internet connection that makes me long for the days of dial-ups, and I may start to WHINE!