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  • Writer's pictureJamie Foley

Isle La Motte Neighbors

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything for our blog. This might turn into a yearly thing, rather than a regular way in which to update our vineyard family. I’m amazed how busy our lives have become as owners of a vineyard/winery now that we’re up and running with our tasting room. Who would have thought? I surely didn’t...

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s much easier to set up a vineyard, grow the plants, build the winery, make the wine than to market the resulting product. Like trying to market a finished manuscript or a series of paintings, anything that requires putting your creation “out there,” it’s the same with wine. It takes a while to consistently sell this brand in a bottle.

Having said all that, it is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. After seven years of tending to our small vineyard, after producing wine and experiencing with mouth feel and flavor in our winery, we opened our tasting room for the first time on June 1st, 2021. The reaction was humbling, everyone who visited us was enthusiastic. The whole process felt empowering, but we still have a way to go, we still need to make our business model more fluid. We’ll get there, I'm pretty sure.

What was our most favorite thing about opening up a tasting room? Meeting old neighbors and new!! It was so fun to make connection with our Isle La Motte community, as well as North and South Hero folks too! Isle La Motte is a beautiful island, mostly woodlands and farm fields, neighbors spaced amply from each other, clusters of houses along the shoreline - let’s face it, Isle La Motte can be isolating and now going into our third and hopefully last year of Covid, the pandemic has driven us further into isolation. What I’m trying to say, in a round-about way, I am so thankful to be making connection with our islander neighbors, and hope to keep that momentum going!!

Let’s also be real here, it’s hard putting yourself “out there,” with a new business. I feel like we’ve been in this perpetual learning curve for the past eight years and there’s no end in sight. That’s not a bad thing, but trying something totally new can be frightening. People have asked, “Why now, in retirement age have you taken on this endeavor?” Firstly, it’s just in our nature to try new things, and secondly, “why not,” but yes, I will agree, it may have been naïve of us, at the very least. Steven and I both hope that taking on this challenge, learning new skills will go a long way in helping us grow old gracefully, and happily.

These are some of my favorite memories from 2021 – watching everyone enjoy our artisan market and concert, or just leisurely hanging out afternoons in golden sunlight. One of my favorite stories, during such an afternoon, with patrons spread out at tables under trees or under umbrellas, maybe five parties total taking in the last hours of the day. Our dogs Ketch and Flash were barking and whining in our little cottage behind glass doors, they frustratingly watched everyone come and go. People said, as I poured wine, "We love dogs. Don't worry about letting them out."

Our dogs are high energy, I mean sometimes "off the charts" energy, but I finally agreed as long as everyone was sitting down, a realistic safety measure. Just before we let the dogs out, one gentleman yelled to everyone there, "Hold onto your wine glasses." Everyone sat at attention, holding their glasses tightly as I held my breath. The boys dashed out into the yard, making the rounds, greeting everyone, enthusiastically, but not too enthusiastically. Everyone seemed happy to meet them. We all collectively laughed as we surveyed the commotion, of wagging tails and exuberant greetings.

We truly hope that in years to come, Isle La Motte Vineyard will be a favorite gathering place. A chance for everyone living here to meet each other, and a chance for us to build lasting bonds with new friends. Here is a photo of our first official customers and good friends, Erin and Carey. You may already know them. We feel blessed that they decided to wander in that first day and for living here with us, on this special island. Cheers everyone!


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