Full Time Winegrower
Recently my youngest daughter said to me “Daddy, I like it better since you left your old job. I think it makes you a better father.”
Due to the vicissitudes of corporate life, I left my city job and my dreams of becoming a full time vintner in the country suddenly became true! Yes! Not exactly as I planned, but this summer I can focus more on growing our passion, Broken Stone Winery.
Passion notwithstanding, keeping afloat both a family in the city and a country vineyard dream requires a pretty healthy cash flow. When a dream and reality collide which should one choose?
Fortunately, in the summer building up the winery business is the quickest way to boost family cash flow. I’ve become extraordinarily busy expanding our sales channels to Farmers Markets and the LCBO. In August the vineyard requires less attention and we can develop more sales through our farm gate and also to restaurants.
All this activity is helpful but still most of our sales are through the farm gate in the summer months. At the heart of it we’re a boutique winery reliant on wine tourism, in a region where tourism goes dormant at the same time the vines do. So cash flow will dry up in the winter. And even if we do expand our winter sales via LCBO and restaurants and sell every drop of wine we have, profit margins will be too slight to support our family, at least for another year or two.
Why not sell our city home and use our home equity to bridge the gap? Our older girls are just entering their high school years and in a good place with school, sports and friendships. So we’re cautious about disrupting the family with a big move. We’ll have one foot in the Country and one foot in the City for a while longer.
So it looks like my full time vintner status may be short lived — I’ll need to replace that city job in short order to keep everything afloat. For now though, I’m enjoying summer days at the vineyard and spending more time with my daughters.