Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

A Life in the Day

By Doug Fabbioli


A Life in the Day


        For some reason I find myself caught in the middle of this turbulent storm of productivity. I know we are making business, creating jobs, collaborating with others, maintaining quality, giving great customer service, teaching techniques and strategies for success, building the skills of the future farmers and putting a little artistry in all that we do, but I don’t think we can keep this up at this pace. When it is all functioning well, I get inspired to take on a bit more. But when things start to tumble a bit, I feel quite challenged to keep the whole stack from crashing to the ground. I know is sounds a little dramatic, but avoiding being overwhelmed is a battle I fight on a regular basis. And keeping my team in balance goes right along with it.

I’ll touch on a few examples just for fun. I have 2 new vineyards going in this season. Each is about 5 acres. Deer fence, row layout, vine delivery, planting schedule, labor needs, weather, post orders, trellis construction and grow tube installation are all in play over the next few weeks. We have our own vineyard in need of attention as well. There are lots of replacement vines still to install, our final pruning is underway hoping our frost fears will not come to fruition as well as challenges from our lower planting which has numerous dead vines waiting for a decision from me. I have a client that relies on us to make wines for them. As their business rapidly grows, I try to help them in the planning stages. Commitments are needed now in order to protect the consistency and artistry of the wines that will be consumed years from now. These are important lessons that I have learned but now need to teach. We try our best to plan our fall production for our needs as well as clients like this. We even plan a little extra for the future client that did not plan ahead. I am very pleased I am not building another structure this year, but I have committed to finishing up the projects that are not quite completed. This is quite a challenge as I have numerous items on my work-in-progress list.

When we have set a standard for quality and experience for our customers, you do not want that to miss that mark, ever. Cleanliness, maintenance and landscaping fall into that standard as well as the wine. Lavender and wisteria are on the planting list for the landscape, so I need to get shopping soon before the season slips away into summer. I need to fix my wisteria mistake from years ago of getting dwarf wisteria that never even got close to filling the pergola I built for it.

I could tell you about 100 other things on the list of concern, but the point is that as successful as our rural businesses and culture seems to be, we are constantly working to maintain, improve and expand. Finding and developing that level of drive in the next generation is key to sustaining the lands economic viability. We shall continue to push, but learn to hand off the reigns as well.

Enjoy the beauty of our current wisteria as clean up begins tomorrow!

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