• A New Look

    In May, we kicked off a project with Hired Guns Creative out of Nanaimo to help us update our image with a new logo, new labelling for our wines starting in 2017, and other promotional material for our website and events.  We are thrilled with the quality of their work and how effectively they have managed the project.  The designs they have produced perfectly captured the modern yet timeless look we were going for and we can’t wait for next year’s wines and the launch of the new labels.  Thanks to Leif, Troy, and Richard at Hired Guns for the amazing collaboration.  We couldn’t be happier. 

     

  • Tasting, Tenting and Tractors

    A whirlwind has ensued since we took over our vineyard.  Putting both hands (and feet) into the business, the vines and the tasting room, it has been all-consuming.  Add to that a move of house and there has barely been time to breathe. 

     I do have to remind myself that I’m on the island now and everything does not have to happen right now but my previous life in major corporations does seem to creep into my present life and on more than one occasion these last weeks, I’ve found myself laying awake, making mental lists of things that need to happen.

    There have been moments of calm, usually in the evening, as the sun sets over the vines and Mount Provost.  One evening after the rain had finally stopped, we went outside to savour the raindrops that glittered on the trellis wire like thousands of diamonds.  It was breath-taking.

    In addition to the natural beauty that surrounds us, I am really enjoying the beauty of human contact and meeting new and existing customers as they visit our wine shop.

    The enthusiasm and support for the wine and vineyard continue to surprise me.  It is such a tribute to previous owners, Roger and Nancy Dosman.

    The attention to quality in their winemaking and nurturing personal relationships has made our job so much easier.  And we still have them coaching and mentoring us on this journey.  Earlier in the week, Roger showed us how to “tent” or wrap our more sensitive varietals in plastic, creating a greenhouse effect and protecting them to help with ripening. 

    Tending the vines is never-ending.  They say that if you think you’re on top of everything on your vineyard, there is a problem.  There will always be something to do somewhere in the vineyard.  In addition to the 7.5 planted acres, we have a large amount of grass to mow.  Zac has been in equipment hell for the last few weeks as both our lawnmower and the one he borrowed from his father, Chris, went down.  And then there was the sprayer….it attaches to our tractor so we can spray the vines through the season to keep away mould, and other damaging pests that threaten the crop.  It too went on a bender with one hose coming detached sending sulphur spray all over Zac.  And as he bent down to try and fix it in the Quonset hut with a pool of spray puddling at his feet, there lay Vino, just enjoying the moment and being with him.   Needless to say, both needed a bath afterwards.

    In spite of the challenges we have faced with equipment, the physical work is a nice complement to the day-to-day running of a business and we find ourselves getting fitter.  And what man doesn’t like having his own tractor?  

    I continue to hone my skills and utilise my previous experience where I can though some tasks are completely new, such as purchasing and programming a cash register.  Doing payroll for our casual employees would be another one, in spite of having spent 20 years Human Resources.  There is a lot I have never done.

    Most importantly, I’m having fun, when I’m not laying awake at 3:00am making lists.  And the sunsets are spectacular.  

  • Vino!

    I would like to introduce the newest family member of Alderlea Vineyards, our red heeler puppy Vino.

    While we have only had her a few short weeks, she has already captured our hearts and is basically calling the shots now.  Having no children, this is likely the closest I’ll ever get to having a child and I can now begin to empathise to some extent with new parents.

    I worry that she is getting enough attention, has enough to eat and drink and is getting enough stimulation and discipline.  I feel guilty about not spending more time with her when I’m in the office though Zac has been able to bring her along on deliveries and have her with him as he repairs equipment and putters about the vineyard.  

     A true vineyard working dog, she doesn’t balk at the tractor and contentedly runs alongside in the neighbouring row when Zac is driving. 

     She just wants to be near us and in the first weeks has tried to defend us from the neighbouring horses and cows even though they are already behind fences.

     Happily, she is starting to find some independence, give in to natural instincts and chase the invading rabbits who threaten our flourishing vines.  Her prey drive was one of the features that attracted us to her breed and we hope to cultivate it so that she chases off other vine predators.  

     So far, she is winning the hearts of most people she meets, scurrying over to each new visitor and promptly rolling onto her back for a belly-rub.  Shameless.