Way back in 1980 when we (my parents, siblings and I) planted our first grapes and opened our first winery Champs de Brionne in 1984 most of the liquor laws in WA State had not changed since the time of Prohibition. There were less than 20 wineries around and not all of those were small, family owned places. Things like Wine Clubs, which are the bread and butter, the life saving elixir for a small to medium winery especially in winter were not around. We did not have Wine Club members in Florida and Texas like we do now. Our reach was small, without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Constant Contact e-blasts, Cell phones, I-pads and all the other ways we currently stay connected to our Cave B fans and Wine Club members. There was only a dirt road off of I-90 leading to our property of several hundred acres of sagebrush and one alfalfa field. We literally had very little knowledge of what we were doing, and most would say we were somewhat crazy to plant grapes where we did, when we did, as all the focus at that time was in the Yakima Valley and Sunnyside areas. George, WA was only known as a truck stop to get Cherry Pie at the Martha’s Inn diner. The closest town with a grocery store, Quincy, WA was but a blip on our hand held folding map. Yet here we are 40 years later with those same grapes (plus 100 acres more) still producing exceptional quality grapes, but a new winery, the Cave B Estate Winery, established in 2000. To say the journey was always smooth would be a lie, but to say we fell in love with the land at first site and have grown more in love, every day since, would be a fairly accurate description. We have walked this land, learned about our varying soil composition, drainage, elevations and heat units. There was plenty of trial and error but it allowed us to learn which specific locations work best for the various variety of grapes we grow. We have far surpassed the “10,000 hours” Malcolm Gladwell, speaks of in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. Organizations like the WA State Wine Commission, the WA Wine Growers Association and the WA Wine Institute have helped grow the WA State Wine industry into the powerhouse of exceptional 1,000 wineries currently open in 2020. We have happily been a part of the WA wine industry for a long time and are happy for everyone’s success in it. Yet it is no small secret that we could make the most fantastic wine in the world but if nobody purchased it, talked about it, shared it, drank it we would soon be out of business. Thus today I would like to thank each and every one of you that have purchased a bottle of Cave B wine over the years and an enormous “THANK YOU” to our Wine Club members. Your constant support and encouragement helps us to be the best version of ourselves. It pushes us to make the best possible wine vintage after vintage.
As we painted our Quincy tasting room last week with all of our Quincy staff we had 3 days of hard, back aching work (think red paint on the ceiling to cover up) combined with 3 days of laughter, storytelling and idea brewing. Many ideas came from this, but the one I want to share now is the idea to have a “Sock Hop” on our Stage B Amphitheater, directly in front of our Quincy tasting room this summer for all of our Wine Club members. Sock Hops were all the rage in the 50’s during my parent’s, the Cave B Founders, Vince & Carol Bryan’s High School years. They can still do a mean jitterbug and I can still hear my Dad’s voice in my ear from the Daddy/Daughter dances in high school to “keep my arms stiff”, so I can tell when he was going to spin me. It’s ok if you don’t really know how to dance, just sway and bop to the music. No one will be watching, their eyes will be on the vineyard views, wine and their partner. Mine will be there as well, but they will also be on my Mom & Dad, who weren’t afraid to get involved in an industry in its infancy, who worked hard and persevered to make their dreams come true (and of course I need to steal their dance moves 🙂 ). Let’s celebrate where we have come from and where we are going and the people we have met along the way.
If you are interested in attending the “Sock Hop” email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to join our fun-filled Wine Club email email@example.com and Jayney our Wine Club Manager will take care of you.
I toast you, with our Chenin Blanc in hand until next time.