Episode 1: Buying the property

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 

Roaring River Vineyards: The Development Journey

The development journey will be written in installments to ensure the posts are not too long.  So this is the first installment, about how we came to own this property and how it became a vineyard.

When we started the property development of the vineyard I thought I could keep a photo journal of the process.  I have a lot of pictures and events to post, but it is going to take me a while to upload all that especially now since I have someone revamping my website(www.roaringrivervineyards.com).  So when it is done, I will spend quite a bit of time updating the site.

From the time we bought the 47-acre property a lot of things have happened and a lot of work was done on the property. Other vineyards may get started more quickly because the owners are working on them full-time, and have a lot of financial resources.  For us, our vineyard did not start that way.

First of all, Tom and I were living in Charlotte at the time, had full-time jobs, and 3 kids in college, and one about to go to college.  We bought the property to be in the mountains, preferably not far from skying slopes.

However the property, we were interested in sold just before we got there.  The seller had some land in the foothills that he thought Tom might be interested in. Tom made an appointment to see the property and the rest is history. Initially we bought it to build a weekend retreat. I liked the land but was concerned about it being so isolated, so I thought we might build a little French village so that other people would live nearby and that way, we would have neighbors living nearby. But things did not quite work out that way.

The village would have to wait for several years while the children graduated from college.  I had mentioned that we ought to plant a few grapevines to give the property a certain Je ne sais quoi?  Tom was surfing the Internet to find out where to buy grapevines and came upon something that would change the course of our lives (except we did not know it at the time). Two weeks later, Tom and I were enrolled in a Viticulture and Oenology seminar at Surry Community College.  This was a seminar about everything you needed to know about growing grapes, making wine, and representation from every expertise relating to growing grapes and making wine, etc.

Before we knew it, Tom had decided to start a vineyard.  He became passionate about it right from the start, whereas I was very apprehensive about the whole thing because we went from:
 building a weekend cabin to starting a full-fledged vineyard in no time at all. I still don’t know how he made this leap! Furthermore, Tom new that I had an aversion to living in isolated places.  Traphill is definitely isolated.  There is no town, no shopping, no restaurants, few inhabitants, well you get the idea!

Tom had to work very hard to convince me to go along with that idea.  There are times when I still go back and forth as to whether I like it, can do it, will continue to do it and so on.

So this journey has not been as easy on me as it has been for Tom. His passion for this project was instant and powerful. Tom’s nickname at work was “bulldog” because once Tom made up his mind about something he would never let go!  He started a campaign to convince me to go along with him. He is very good at this and I had a hard time saying no to him.  He argued that he was the type of man that had to work and stay busy, especially after retirement.  He stated that he could not just sit and do nothing, that this would kill him.  So he needed something to keep busy.  And, that it did.

So against my better judgment I relented and we became the proud owners of the Roaring River Vineyards.

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