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!” IMG_20180726_081016_025

 

Wow…because we had our 2nd biggest harvest to date in our vineyard this year!  The 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.

 

20180901_144939Wow…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!20180901_101438-EFFECTS

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 wine making 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.20180705_105026

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!IMG_20180916_151329_726

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. 🙂

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. 20170813_124822 20170813_120611My 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 20170813_120623the 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. IMG_4460They 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 🙂 ).1506275196922_7447936533_d6d1d722_v1

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! 20171013_142410 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!  20171115_135916This 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.  20180126_144553It 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. 🙂

 

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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Glyn Mawr Winery page 1

 

 

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Glyn Mawr Winery page 2

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 1/2 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 be too much.

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Before Pruning!

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 evening ripening.

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After Pruning!

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 to 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!4602

 

 

 

 

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.wine-punch-black-and-white

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-tastingWe 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!

Here We Grow…

Before harvest, we contemplated how we wanted to keep growing the winery, what changes we would make, and how we would progress through the next season. We decided not to seek out additional growers and just keep all of our own grapes, and hopefully grow a little with any extra crop production.

Well…after bringing in an additional 8,000 lbs. of grapes from last year, the decision to grow was decided for us! 🙂 Prior to harvest, we thought we were much better prepared for the season compared to last year.  After the first weekend of harvesting over 2500 lbs. more of just our Brianna variety, we started scrambling to order more tanks to hold our extra volume.  All of our preparation and planning was thrown out the window, and our new plan, FIGURE OUT WHERE TO PUT ALL OF THESE GRAPES, was put into action. 🙂

Extra grapes also led to needing more pickers, and we were so incredibly grateful for everyone who showed up for the 4 weekends of harvest to help us bring in our crop. Friends, family, acquaintances, and new faces all arrived in our vineyard willing to help out, and we can’t thank them enough.  With the launch of our winery last year, we were able to hold wine tastings after the end of picking each day, and gift our pickers with wine to take home after their day’s work!

After the dust (and sweat) of harvest settled, and ALL of our wine (we did find a place for all of it!) was fermented and in tanks, we had to think about our goals and upcoming season and decide where and what to do next. And, with a few more thousand bottles going into our inventory after bottling, we decided more locations and more channels for getting our wine out there would be a good place to start. 🙂

So, we’re refocused and busy getting our product introduced and out to more people now that our vineyard work is behind us for the season. We’re looking forward meeting new faces, new business owners, and new ideas and fun with our business!  I mean…Wine Not? 🙂harvest-2016

Getting into a Rhythm

After launching our commercial winery the beginning of this year, we have been working on figuring out a good balance of getting our product out to new customers by holding tasting and events, establishing retail locations for recurring purchases, and maintaining our vineyard to produce a high quality crop for the next harvest season.wine tasting

 

Although they seem like logical, basic tasks to complete if you have a wine business (and they are all basic tasks,) it has proven a little trickier to find the time to get all of it done!

There are constant hurdles in any new business…unexpected things you know you should do, but forgot or failed to do them at the right time, and the completely unforeseen things you would have never known about until they happen…and then it’s panic to figure out a solution! 🙂

So, getting into a rhythm or flow of operations has been a focus for our winery this year. Deciding where we need to focus our time and our plans for the short-term and long-term, all while working on the priority of the day.  Also, taking the time to enjoy our successes and positive feedback on our product and service, and feeling confident in our vineyard, as we are into our 8th growing season with our varieties of grapes.Brianna grapes photo

But, with finding a rhythm for our new business, we always remember to have fun and do what makes us happy! We want to make sure to put our mark and style on our business, and make it a reflection of our personalities and values.  Family, fun, hard work and love are all things that come to mind when we work on our business, so we’ll continue to have those come through with our winery efforts. 🙂Wine-Not-Black

Harvest season is upon us once again…every August like clock-work! We’re hoping this harvest will be a little more organized regarding the winery side of things, and we will bring in high-quality grapes to start our wine line-up for next year!

Off to the Races!

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Glyn Mawr Vineyard and Winery officially launched the last week in February with our big open house event on March 4th.  We were blown away by the number of people who attended and came out to support our line of wines seven years after planting our vines!  It was a great night for us, and we were humbled by the support.  And, we hope it was also a fun night for everyone involved!

20160314_154559_resizedAnd, since that last week in February, we have seriously been off to the races…placing wine in retail locations, building our brand with marketing and promotions, lining up tastings at area events, and SELLING WINE! In addition, we are still hard at work in the winery…we bottled our Frontenac wine in April and are ready to bottle our Marquette wine this month!  20160223_093806To say we have been busy, a bit overwhelmed, but entirely grateful and excited for the future…is a bit of an understatement.  But, we have our goals and our vision, and plan to keep plowing ahead to get there…with a whole lot of fun thrown in between!  I mean…our wine club is called, “Wine Not?”  Do we really need to say more? 🙂

We are enjoying this new step in our business and finally getting the product into the hands of people who enjoy it! And, we love putting our spin on our business.  We’ve talked about our ideas for years, so it is fun to start putting them into place and watching them grow.IMG_1847

We will continue to be busy this spring working in the vineyard, distributing our wine inventory, and making appearances at tastings, events, farmers markets, and more. We are fortunate enough to be super busy, and we have all of our family, friends, retail partners, and customers to thank for that.  So, a big “THANK YOU!” to everyone who continues to support Glyn Mawr wines!

We have a big spring/summer line-up of events and tastings, so stay tuned to our blog, website, Facebook, and/or newsletter and join in the fun!

‘Til next time!

When Someday Becomes Today…

When you’re working towards Someday, you always imagine how long it’s going to take to get there, and what it will look like when you do end up there. You see the end prize, and how fun it will be to achieve what you hold in your heart and mind.

I, for one, have thought about this time in our lives for several years…back when we decided to plant our vines in 2009. When people would ask us when we would make wine to sell commercially, we’d always say, “Someday!”

When we planted our grapes, I was working and in the middle of growing our family, with a one-year-old and pregnant with our 2nd child.  Now, we have 3 busy kiddos, ages 8, 6, and 3.

When we planted our grapes, my mom was also working and still helping my dad with his construction business, and maintaining their 10 acres.

So, we knew that our Someday was going to take a while…but, we were going to enjoy the time in between and just look forward to when it came. I have been able to take my children “to work” at Grandma and Grandpa’s for 7 years…that in itself is something to be extremely grateful for…and I am. 🙂

In the meantime, we’ve started other businesses, grew our families, purchased homes and farms and property, and worked hard on everything that has come our way. It may not always be the easier route, and many think it’s the crazier route.  But, for us, it’s the right route. 🙂20160121_154254

So…now…Someday for the winery has arrived! Someday has turned into Today. It’s a little overwhelming and a little weird to find ourselves here…but, we’re excited and ready to go.

Our website glynmawr.com will be live very soon, and you will be able to start placing your orders for wine!

We appreciate everyone who has shown interest in our venture over the years, and for those who have provided support along the way. Thank you and we hope to share a couple glasses of wine in the near future! My littlest helper is sitting on a whole bunch of wine that is ready to be opened! 🙂

 

We Picked…and Picked…and Picked some more!

20150829_105006[1] We wrapped up our harvest season a couple weeks ago, and are happy to say it was a great success!  It was a good year for our vineyard, both in quantity (pounds of grapes) and quality of the fruit.  We had more than expected in all but one of our varieties.  So, with the start-up of our commercial winery, the extra weight of grapes had us scrambling to order more tanks to store the wine!20150913_131720[1]

With our big step into producing our own wine, we also had to quickly learn how to assemble and maneuver a lot of new equipment.  Instead of hauling our picked grapes to a winery as in previous years, we had to crush our grapes and start fermentation or crush and immediately press the grapes and transfer into tanks.

Our learning curve was time-sensitive, because as soon as we had a handle on one variety, the next variety was ready to be picked! 🙂  So, let’s just say we learned VERY QUICKLY (literally) how to get this process started!  There may have been one night that my mom and I stayed up the entire night (seriously…an all-nighter…sun down to sun up) as we finished pressing a large quantity of white grapes.  Though it was necessary, we probably will try not to make a habit out of it. 😉20150913_143515[1]

However, amongst all of the planning, the rushing, the work, and the amount of unknowns, we are in production! 🙂  Our grapes are harvested and our wine is in tanks…and, we are preparing to launch our product soon!  Stay tuned as we get our marketing efforts and web presence up and going, and line up our plan for getting our finished product to you. 🙂

Cheers!