The Dream and the Reality

We often get asked what on earth made us decide to go off and start up a vineyard in retirement. I don’t really know how to answer this question. I suppose the first thoughts started to percolate after we visited our friends Brian and Lindy Heyman at their vineyard in Franschoek in the Cape Province of South Africa, but this would have been some time in the nineties. It was barely more than a romantic notion at the time because all we knew about wine was how to drink it, and Ann wasn’t really very good at that either.

I also used to believe I had farming in my blood. When I explained this to someone, he looked at me as if I had three heads and said sarcastically “if you go back far enough everyone has farming in their blood”. Still it is interesting how many people really do like the concept of farming, and it’s obviously not because of the money or the easy life.

Our dream evolved painfully slowly. We knew we didn’t want to leave Western Canada, so we were pretty much left with British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley as the only affordable place where we could go. I had started talking to friends of ours, John and Liz Lawrence who had similar thoughts, and in 2002 they kindly invited us on a trip to visit some of the Okanagan wineries in the Kelowna/Penticton area.

Unfortunately, I put my back out days before leaving so the trip was an excruciating experience, mostly lying flat on my back in the back of the bus and seeing almost nothing from my vantage point. I did manage to struggle to my feet on a couple of occasions, and on these I tried to learn as much as I could about investing in vineyards. The general theme of the responses I got was:

“First of all, you don’t invest in a vineyard. Investing implies getting a return which is by no means assured or even likely. What you are doing is spending money doing something you want, or love to do. It’s a hobby on a grand scale”.

This sentiment is not far off how we think.

1 Comment

  1. The boys did a fabulous job on the website!! We love it and absolutely grant permission to publish those photos – especially since you can’t really make out any details.
    Love to all of you – your humour and warmth shine through those words!!