News

Just Wow!

As we are finishing up all of the harvest processes and clean up after our Glyn Mawr Harvest 2018, the first word that comes to mind is simply “Wow!”

Wow…because we had our 2nd biggest harvest to date in our vineyard this year!  This weather pattern this season proved to be good for our grape crop, and we were able to keep disease and rodents away.  We also worked all spring and summer to change the way some of our varieties grow, as well as replacing posts in our trellis system.  With any business, if you knew then what you know now…you might do a few things different. :) Though we committed a lot of time to these changes, they will help us continue to grow quality grapes for years to come.  They always say, “You need good grapes to make good wine.”  We totally agree.

Wow…because we also purchased grapes from local growers and they all provided them to us with the quality and care that showed their dedication and pride for their own vineyards.  With their grapes, this year’s total harvest has become our biggest harvest ever at Glyn Mawr!

              

Wow…because the first weekend we held our Glyn Mawr Harvest 2018 Lunch & Punch event, we had over 75 people volunteer their time to help bring in our crop, and enjoy some lunch and wine punch in our vineyard afterwards. Our little vineyard…75 people in one weekend…who knew?

Wow…because the very next weekend it was POURING, and then it was HOT, and we still had over 30 people help us pick in the rain and the heat.  We got on our ponchos and picked…and picked…and picked!

Wow…because we harvested and processed our biggest harvest to date in half the time!  Because of the extremely rainy and hot conditions during our harvest time, we had to continue picking straight through the week, and with the extra help from customers, family, and friends, we took our picking from 4 weeks to 2 weeks…record time. 

Wow…because the retail locations that we purchase our wine know that we are a mother-daughter duo, and that means two.  Two people to produce 8,000 bottles of wine, operate a 2 ½ acre vineyard, and make all of our sales and deliveries.  So, when we let them know harvest is coming, or that we are right in the middle of it, they order around our harvest or don’t mind waiting an extra week…no questions asked.

Wow…because with this new harvest production, we are going to be close to over 9,000 bottles (super close to 10,000 bottles) this year.  Our first year, we bottled close to 4,500 bottles.  And, we still have a hand corker!

Wow…because we continually get customers asking about the progress of our tasting room, and when we plan to open.  They are patiently waiting alongside us, and keep asking…which keeps us excited for the future even with all of the work still ahead of us.

Wow…because we have some exciting things in store for you when we open our new winery and tasting room in Mount Vernon.  We are bringing our local mix of food, goods, and culture to this space, and we are really excited to show it to all of our customers, family, and friends.  We’re calling it vintage industrial…classic and comfortable, and of course, fun!  We cannot wait to start showcasing sneak peeks of what’s to come very soon!

So, as we end another vineyard season and head into a new winemaking season, we are always reminded of all of the “wows” that continue to occur as we figure things out, plan for the future, and continue to build this business.

And, in case you haven’t read this on any of our other social platforms, our customers, family and friends are the best…they just are! :) If you have read it, here’s just another reminder. :)

Thanks to everyone who helped make another harvest season happen at Glyn Mawr!

P.S. And, for the record, we pretty much took zero photos of our harvest this year.  When you crunch your biggest harvest ever into half the time, there’s barely any time for sleep, food, and ibuprofen, let alone remembering to take photos.  Here’s to improvement for next year. :)

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So Many Firsts...

 

 I was just telling my husband the other day that next year, in 2019, will be the 10 year anniversary of establishing our vines. And, I just couldn’t actually wrap my mind around how it could be!  I mean, for myself, and I’m guessing my mom, it does feel like our grapes have been a part of our lives for quite a while.  My kids have grown up with the vineyard at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and are used to spending their summers out there while we prune, fix the trellis, prune, mow, prune, spray, (did I mention prune?), put the bird netting on, install our small electric fence for rodents, and get ready for harvest. However, they also get to completely enjoy their summers as well, as I usually can hear them laughing (and fighting) all the way in the vineyard as they play in the pool or on the swing set, or when they make many, MANY campfires.

They also practically live at Grandma and Grandpa’s towards the end of August until September when our grape harvest is over. They sleep there, wake up there, help us pick, ride while we haul in grapes, help us run the press, make sure Grandma and Grandpa’s kitties have PLENTY of attention, and go to school and talk ALL ABOUT WINE (while their teachers are a little curious if they don’t know what I do for a living :) ).

With that said, it’s been amazing how many “firsts” we are working on as we enter our 9th year of our vineyard. We are currently working on getting out a new sweet red wine!  Since we attend so many tastings all around Iowa, we get to chat with so many customers that tell us what they like, and what they would purchase.  And, our customers do EXACTLY that.  They support us and our story, and when we make something they request…they buy it!  That is the reason we are working on another “first”…our first dessert sauces in a specialty food line.  We have been sampling our wine chocolate and wine caramel sauce recipes for over a year, and the feedback we receive is, “Wait…we can’t buy them?”  We then tell our customers that we’ll give them the recipe with the wine and they can go home and make it…and then most people look a little disappointed. :)  So, we decided to start production and give people a chance to take a jar of their favorite sauce home!  It has been a long, long learning curve in the food production business (which is similar AND very different from the wine business all at the same time), but we are making progress.  Our caramel sauce is going to be available very soon, and our chocolate sauce won’t be far behind!

And, another BIG “first” this year…and one we have envisioned for a very long time (even before our vines were first planted) …is our new tasting room!  This one is a biggie…and it would not have been possible if we were not selected for a Main Street Iowa grant.  The grant opportunity has afforded the project the structural updates that were needed for the historical Main Street building, and for our tasting room space to be in the lower level.  It is a big project and it’s going to take some time, but we are so excited to make this space into one that our customers and community members will enjoy.

 

 

So many firsts…even though our first BIG “first” was the planting of our grape vines in 2009.  We are still a mother-daughter duo, learning all the time about our grapes and our vineyard, winemaking, science, food production, grant writing, licensing, renovation, and plans for the future.  And, when we don’t know or can’t find the answer, we keep trying until we find someone who does.  Our customers are the reason we keep growing and learning, because they support us and keep cheering us on.  If you haven’t figured it out, our customers are THE BEST!  That also goes for all of the other businesses who buy our wine to sell at their stores.  They often are run by a solo girl boss, or a family, or a couple, or one of those combos with a few extra helping hands…and they are just awesome.

We’ll keep on tackling “firsts” as we grow our business. We’re still mighty small…but we are still mighty. :)

 

 

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A Little Help Sharing our Story

Our personal blogs have become fewer and far in between as we shuffle between managing our vineyard during the growing season, producing and selling our wine, and holding tastings around eastern Iowa to share our product and story with our customers.  So, we were very excited to meet Kim, and let her help us share our story.  She was awesome, and kind, and we enjoyed talking to her!  And, I might say, she has the knack of writing down much better than us!  So, enjoy...and thank you Kim! :)
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Our Little Jungle

 

It’s the time of year when we start to refer to our vineyard as, “The Jungle.” And, when we mean a jungle, we mean we are doing everything we can to TAME the jungle!!  It might be small at 2 ½ acres, but it is mighty!  After a 2nd time through our vineyard pruning and managing, we literally have to start again at the beginning and start hedging again.  Our vines produce a lot of vegetation, and although that is great for producing more grapes…it can also be too much.  So, we work on making sure the vines don’t grow too long and cover the grapes.  The grape clusters need a certain amount of leaves on each vine to continue to ripen, but they also need to get sunlight and wind to prevent mildew and promote even ripening.

While our jungle is doing its thing, we also continue to mow between the rows and around the vineyard and keep a constant eye out for any pest issues. The grapes will start to turn from green to red in the coming weeks, so we like to try and get our pruning in check as that is happening. Once veraison hits (the fancy word for what I just mentioned above :) ,) our jungle finally starts to slow down and most of the work of the vine goes into ripening the grapes, and less goes into growing the jungle (we look forward to that part. :) )

Since our vineyard is smaller, we manage all of the work with hand tools.  So, we walk up and down each row pruning each vine with our trusty pruners or lobber…and, sometimes even throw in a hedger to help us get to our end goal.  We learn a lot about our vines this way…it truly is a hands-on approach!

And, as we enter into our 2nd summer of managing our jungle AND selling our wine to retail locations and tasting our wines at events all over…we are still working on finding a good system!  For now, we plan ahead as much as we can, and sometimes (most of the time,) just take one day at a time.  

It really is a great blend of work, in our opinion. We have the quiet and peace of working in the vineyard and enjoying the Iowa summers, and we also have the relationships and fun at our tastings and retail locations! 

So, even if we’re not always in control of “Our Jungle,” we work hard to keep up and enjoy watching it grow! :)

‘Til next time!

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A Year of Support, Gratitude, and FUN!

tasting-collageHere we are…almost 2 months into 2017, looking back on the past year and all it had to offer while we are already diving into the new year to continue building our business. The time really does just keep on moving…we do our best to keep up!

 

We can look back and say 2016 was the official kick-off year of our commercial winery.  We launched with our grand opening in March of 2016, and have been working ever since on getting our name and product out there, bettering our craft, finding our niche, and holding events and tastings…and more tastings…and more tastings…to keep reaching new people who have not yet had a chance to try our wines. :)

tee-specialThroughout this year, we have started to learn what is going to work for us, how we want to make a mark on our industry, and what style we want to bring to our customers. Although we know we need to follow a path that is consistent in our industry, we also have decided that we’re going to do it in a way that WE enjoy…because that is what makes it FUN!  And, we hope that we’re also reflecting what our customers enjoy…because our customers also love to have FUN with wine! :)

So, we have started to create recipes, made with our wine, to sample and share with our customers.   We love that there are so many cool and delicious recipes to make with wine…and we enjoy catering to a specific retailer, business, or event, and help put the most fun into our tastings.

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We are also very fortunate to be forming some great relationships with our retail locations. Our customers are their customers…and we want to put our best foot forward and help market our product as much as they help to sell it for us.  It’s been a lot of fun meeting so many hard-working people at these businesses.  We are so appreciative of the opportunities we’ve had this past year.

And, we’ll let you in on a little secret…our customers rock! We’ve been humbled by the support of family, friends, our communities, and our local businesses and events, which allow us to grow our business and keep working to make it better.  Our customers know how to have fun, and take pride in supporting local, and we cannot say enough good things about each of them.  If you’re reading this, and have purchased from us…THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

savor-the-barn-tasting We have a lot more wine to sell this year, as this past year’s harvest was huge! So, we’re taking that seriously and keeping our goals focused to get our product out there and into the hands of new people each month.  Again, we couldn’t do it without the support of our customers, family, and friends…so, we’ll keep bringing the fun, and thank you for continuing to show up!

Cheers!

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