Sunset from a warm summer’s day

We are approaching the new year, 2018, and it seems like only yesterday it was 2010. We hit a milestone in 2017, we overcame some challenges, we had some exciting things happen, and we continued to learn and grow.

Poplar logs to become siding for a future farm building. It is all part of farming

The milestone? On 1 Dec 2012, we had our first open weekend in the tasting room, so this December marked our fifth anniversary of opening. Our vineyard began in 2009, but the tasting room was a longer term part of our plan. We did not have a big ticker tape parade or make a big deal of the anniversary, but it feels right to acknowledge it. There are so many people to thank, who helped us along the way, especially our families who have been supportive all along this path. Of course, it absolutely would not have been possible without each of you, the folks who have visited with us, shared our wines, and shared your photos and your experiences with us. Thank you.

Hanging bird netting to protect the fruit. It is less effective in preventing turkey from getting to the grapes, but it keeps the other birds at bay.

Challenges? Well, with any small business and I think especially with a farm, access to capital can sometimes be hard. We found a way to make it work out, but I spent six hard months seeking a banking partner willing to work with our farm. If you are starting a vineyard, even if you have what you believe to be plenty of capital [we knew we were underfunded!], borrow money early. The interest is a small price to pay to avoid stressing about adequate financing when you are further along in your business.

Snow in the vineyard 8 Dec 2017

We also had some challenges in the vineyard this year, chief among them damage from turkey and some unfruitful shoots. The former I described in my previous post; the latter was almost entirely my fault. In an effort to minimize shoot creep, we aggressively pruned to the most basal bud which is not always fruitful. It has a good bit to do with how much exposure to sunlight that bud had during the previous growing season, with the end result completely determined by about a month after bloom. In 2016, we spent much of the spring in overcast and cool temperatures which likely impacted the productivity of the 2017 buds. There is a good bit of science behind the preceding statements and an interesting post from a 2012 viticulture newsletter from Cornell that you can read if you want the details.

Early in 2017, we had one of the most exciting wins of our short history. Our 2014 Five Twenty-Nine Barbera was selected for the inaugural NC Fine Wines case. It did not win its category [red vinifera, won by our friends at Raffaldini with their 2014 Montepulciano Reserva] but it was one of the top six scoring wines outside of the category winners. Out of 140-ish entries, the advanced and master sommeliers who judged this competition deemed our Five Twenty-Nine one of the top 12 wines entered. We were very excited by that.

Arianna and Shruthi pressing the 2017 Sangiovese with a glimpse in the background of Eddie in the tractor moving bins

Our team grew a bit this year with four new ladies in the tasting room. Many of you have met Arianna, Shruthi, Griffin [her third year with us!], Eliza, or Stephanie when you have visited the tasting room, and we know they are fantastic hosts to help our guests experience Addison Farms Vineyard wines. Shruthi has also been a great asset in the cellar and the vineyard, and Eliza was a big help all year in the vineyard. Arianna gave us a big hand during harvest and crush. We can’t do it all on our own, and I am very pleased with the team we have today. Working in the background, we have Terri completing her third year in the community outreach/marketing role, and she has already been hitting me up with great ideas for 2018.

We want to say thank you to all of you who have been out to visit. Thank you to those who read the blog [thank you, Ma!] We wish you great success in the coming year, and we hope to see you at Addison Farms Vineyard in 2018.