Although it's been some time since I have done a blog post, we have had a lot happen since school finished this spring. Where do I even start?
First of all, THANK YOU! To ALL of you for supporting us through this past year, through COVID, through opening in the midst of a pandemic, and for welcoming our new business into the community with open arms. We are the luckiest people!
The COVID restrictions affected things around here (a little), but thankfully we have this beautiful patio for you all to enjoy. We had focused so much of our efforts on finishing the inside of our building, that when the governor announced that restaurants and wineries were only allowed outside seating, Shane (our contractor) and his crew switched gears and poured a lot of concrete in a very short time, to get this space ready for us. My parents showed up with a trailer full of plants, my older sister and her kids were here to help, and we made a quick trip to the greenhouse to fill in a few other spots. We pulled it together, but by no means did it by ourselves. We have been lucky to have family members just as invested in this dream as we have been.
People often ask who designed our patio. It's beautiful, isn't it? It's such a relaxing place to just sit and BE. And it's everything we imagined, and more! The best thing about this story, is that Shane designed our patio with a can of spray paint. He said that if we poured just a big slab, he wouldn't want to come down there and sit. So we asked him what he thought. And he went to town sketching lines with spray paint and his boot. Literally.
I'm so GLAD he didn't allow us to pour a big rectangle and shared his creativity with us.
Thank you to everyone who has shared pictures on social media of your experiences with us. I've been so busy running around I haven't taken the time yet to do that. Here are some of my favorites of the outside spaces:
And our staff has just been AMAZING! Don't you agree? We have gotten SO MANY positive compliments about our staff and how they have made your experiences spectacular! We have done some fun things with our menu over the last couple of weekends too and it appears you have been happy with the additions as well.
We live in the best place in the world! We have been able to partner with Amy Winter at MN Olive Oil Company and feature some of her beautiful oils and vinegar in some of our dishes, as well as cheeses from our friends at Redhead Creamery. Those cheese trays have been a hit! And it was such an easy partnership with both businesses.
We also carved out some family time throughout June and July. Our oldest, Henry, celebrated his 8th birthday as well as his First Communion. He thought since he wasn't able to have wine in church that maybe we should let him have a sip at the winery :) Mom and dad didn't cave though. HAHA :)
And for some not so fun news, a hail storm came through here on Saturday afternoon and did a number on our corn fields around the winery site, as well as 7 acres of our grapes. Mother Nature was not very nice to us. We had lots of tears - out of pure frustration. We work hard, put in lots of hours, have lots invested into all of this, and in 5 minutes it's gone. Some in the path of this storm had even more damage than we did. It's sad.
Thankfully no one was hurt and there was no damage to our building. But one customer had a window break during the event, and we had to repair three patio tables that got thrown around in the wind. Joe also had to dig several chairs out of the cornfield after it was all done.
But again, our staff did an incredible job! They hustled to get as many chairs stacked and pulled up to the building, making sure everyone that was on site stayed safe. After the rain passed, they hustled again to get things put back together as much as they could. Watch our Facebook page for a shortened video of how it all went down. It was incredible!
Back to some fun things!
I have been working with Katie Elenberger from Spark27 Creative on all of our graphics design work. We are frantically trying to get our labels approved with the TTB so we can get them printed in time for bottling! We think we are on the final revision and will have approval from the TTB by the end of the week. I will be so happy when that monkey is off my back. We've been picking out bottles and closures, foil colors, and other fun details as well. She has done a great job pulling everything together and helping us make it look professional.
And you heard that right! Bottling is just around the corner. We have been filtering and cold-stabilizing everything over the past several weeks. There hasn't been a whole lot of time to sit around, but we have been trying to do a better job taking breaks along the way.
And we made time for family pictures, friends, and added a couple of kitties to our family as well. I think we are caught up now. Whew!
About the Author
I'm Melanie, co-owner of Rolling Forks Vineyards, boy mom & wine lover.