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February 10, 2021 | Winery Blog | Moira McCue
2020 Oh What a Year
This recap has become more of our way to recount and immortalize what transpired in 2020 than a regular blog post. If we would have read this a year ago, we would have laughed at our over-the-top attempt at fictional writing.
Don't miss the video at bottom of post!
2020 was our 3rd year open but it was more stressful than our first two years combined. We were closed down not once but twice and were restricted to to-go only sales for an extended period of time.
Highway 183, the highway outside our entrance had very little traffic as compared to normal. People just weren’t traveling when the pandemic started. Prior to the shutdown, we could have 5-15 new (first time) guests on any given Saturday. For the entire month of April, we only had 6 new guests. Things were so slow; we reduced our hours to Friday through Sunday (after being open 6 days per week). When we were allowed to re-open, we weren’t even able to offer samples of our wines; just to-go orders. This made purchasing our wine challenging for first time customers.
Loneliness was hard on everyone. We took advantage of every chance we could to visit. When guest would come to pick-up their wines, it would become a time to catch up. For curbside service, Moira would take out their order and stand outside their car window talking for 20-30 minutes almost every time. Wine Down Wednesday on Facebook Live became another way for us to connect with our community. In late May we were allowed to open at 50% capacity inside. Sales picked up and June started as a good month. That was until the next second closure on June 26th.
In late August we had the option to open with the requirement of submitting paperwork to become a restaurant. Brian has an entrepreneur’s heart and it is because of his determination that we opened and were able to start serving. This was not an easy project. It resulted in our having to buy equipment and restructure our back room to accommodate food service. Brian took on the task of being the cook. Most weekend evenings he has had to be in the back – not where he prefers, but he has become quite the cook. Some of his creations, like the bacon wheel and chalupa pizza, have become quite popular. Serving food allowed us to be open, but with just the two of us it was wearing us out. The food prep, cleaning and dishes were overwhelming at times. In November we hired our first employee. We are so happy to have Liz as apart of our Spirit of Texas family. She is energetic, friendly, and great to work with. She has helped us make this transition easier.
There were many bright spots in the year. We couldn’t have made it through the year without the support of so many, especially our community. Our Wine Club Members had a major impact in helping us get through the challenges. Even when they were unable to try the wines, they trusted us and continued to support us.
Here are some highlights of the year:
We released a record for us of 8 Texas wines
We won some awards!
Converted a shipping container into a refrigerated wine storage
Added our very cool Roof Top Winery sign
In spite of everything, we still continued to support our local non-profits. We donated or raised just over $10,000 for the year. Here were a few of the events we hosted:
Good Samaritan Ministries Empty Bowl Painting
April 5% of Sales
Memorial Day Weekend for the VFW
4th of July for Corinne T Smith Animal Shelter
BBQ for Hero’s – Local Volunteer Fire Departments
So what’s in store for 2021? We’re focusing on exterior improvements:
Expanding our parking area and new exit
Enhancing back patio area
Property-wide landscaping projects & clean up
Planting ½ acre of grapes
Planting ½ acre of lavender
2020 was definitely a learning experience. No contingency plan could have prepared for this. It challenged us to be creative and try some things we never would have done. We had so many people that stood by us and continued to support us all year. We are forever grateful!