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We hope you enjoy our story!
After a bunch of hard work (still more to do), setbacks & other obstacles; we finally opened on April 6th. We sent a message to our mail list and quietly opened the doors at 4:00 pm. On Thursday, we still had many items on the checklist. Moira & I had to make ourselves stop so we could be ready in time. My brother & sister-in-law came up and were a big help! We still have a big checklist including signage, but we’ll be open daily.
Those that came out were so supportive. They were patient while we worked out some of the kinks with our new software. We quickly realized we needed more tablets and credit card readers. We purchased the tablets and the cc readers are being shipped. Otherwise everything went very smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!
Here are some of the reviews that were posted:
“Great fun atmosphere! Owners are amazing as well!! So glad to have the in Early! Going to one of Brown County's favorite hang outs!! The Blush is awesome!!” Denise
“Fun atmosphere, great wine, owners are very friendly. We had a good time and are already planning another visit out there.” Christy
We’re excited to be open and we’re looking forward to being part of this community!
On February 17-19, we had a work crew from Round Rock come to help, AKA the Milestone CrossFit support team (they’re all members of our son & daughter-in-law’s gym). Vince and his son Vinny, Carla, our daughter-in-law Amber along with our granddaughters, and Jason. Jason came up to finish the HVAC installation, hanging the exposed duct along the center of the room. With Vinny’s help, he was finished in no time.
Vince went to work on finishing the wood trim. We set all of the windows and he trimmed around them. He also installed shelves inside our wine barrel display racks. They will each hold a single variety of each of our first five wines. The rest of us went to work on all of the other little projects. Carla started prepping the oak chairs to be refinished. Moira & Amber were staying busy.
Most of the crew had to head back early Sunday but Amber and the girls stayed since they had no school for President’s Day. We had rented the scissor lift for Jason, so we wanted to get our money’s worth and use it to finishing hanging the ‘Tennessee clamp’ sheet metal panels. Cutting & re-cutting the metal, driving the sheet metals crews; it was hard work. We finished about 10:30 that evening and it was pouring outside. With the walls almost completely covered, the tasting room is really taking shape!
Besides the sheetrock and finishing the plumbing, we need to tile the restroom and paint the storage room. We need to seal all of the wood trim and bar. Then the last item to do on the inside is the floors. We are going to try to use a concrete dye to color them and then seal them. We can see the end!
On about 5:00 pm on March 1st, we were told we had a trademark issue with another Texas winery. This news came just weeks before opening and just after bottling 4 out of our first 5 wines! The winery was very understanding and is allowing us to sell out of our remaining product including our May bottling.
It definitely came as a surprise and took a little wind out of our sails. That’s when Moira came up with our new name, Spirit of Texas Winery. So we looked into it further, here are some definitions of Spirit that really resonated with us:
- the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
- the thinking, motivating, feeling part of a person.
- a pervading animating principle, essential or characteristic quality, or prevailing tendency or attitude.
- real meaning; true intention.
- the fundamental, emotional, and activating principle of a person; will.
- vivacity, courage, vigor, enthusiasm, etc.
- the influence of God or divine things upon the soul.
There have been many days in these past 9 months that have really tested our Spirit. There were some long, hard, and stressful days as Moira and I worked to complete the build out of the tasting room. We have put our blood, sweat and even tears into this endeavor. It wasn’t until after we opened that we realized what we had created. Although it’s only been 6 weeks, we have met so many wonderful people. We have had the opportunity to share the story of our journey. It is heartwarming to know that so many of you are a part of our ongoing story.
I am a believer that most things happen for a reason. We are excited about our new name; Spirit of Texas Winery!
My buddy Arthur Serrano has been trying to make it down to see us. He sold his business a few years ago and had planned to retire. He has been so busy these past few years, I hardly see him. One of his ventures is a charter fishing company, Hot Spot Fishing Charters (follow him on Facebook), based out of Port Aransas, TX. As he’s trying to keep his many projects going, he has been watching our progress on Facebook. When he saw the work Vince did, he called and told me he wanted to build us a ‘bad @ss bar’! I again said, come on down!
When he arrived on Tuesday afternoon, he quickly went to work. After assessing the room and the materials we had available, he wanted to use the 3 old cabinets that were in the building. We moved them around a few times until he saw the layout he liked. While we were looking at the design, I mentioned the old aluminum boat that was near our stock tank. I had wanted to stand the boat on its transom and make a wine rack out of it. He immediately wanted to look at it. After seeing it, he was determined to use it. It was too tall to stand, so we rolled in two wine barrels and placed the boat on its side. That was it! We went to Home Depot to buy some parts and had the boat mounted on the wall within 2 hours of him being here.
Seven days later, Arthur left his mark on our tasting room. Everything built in the tasting room was from materials on the property when we bought it. We have the coolest focal point, a beautiful barn-wood bar and an impressive wine barrel display rack. There is about 31’ of bar space and we’ll be able to store over 1,500 bottles in the shelving he built. There were some long days, great laughs and a chance to spend some quality time together. Moira & I will be spending most of our days around the bar that Arthur built. We are truly blessed with the people that God has placed in our lives.
We got so much accomplished last week that I had to write about it. We received a text from our good friend Vince Garcia. He said he needed a break from performing home inspections and wanted to use his hands to build something. He crazily asked if we needed any help on the tasting room. I responded quickly with a YES. He said he could work from Sunday afternoon through early Thursday. So Moira & I immediately started working on tearing down the animal pen and small barn for materials. I received a call from my brother saying that he & his wife wanted to stop by on their way to Lubbock. They planned to get here late Wednesday and stay through Friday to help us if we needed it. Unfortunately for them, they’re not on Facebook and didn’t know what they were getting into! When Vince arrived on Sunday, we had a bunch of material for him to work with. He spent some time looking at what we had and started to visualize a plan. At the time we did not know how we were going to layout the floorplan; especially the location & layout of the bar. He came up with a beautiful idea.
So on Monday with Vince’s help, we proceeded to tear down the old shed behind the house. We knew that the backside of the shiplap board looked perfect on the inside. We were surprised to find out that on three sides of the shed, there was a tongue & groove over the shiplap. Over 800 square feet of wood was reclaimed! On Tuesday Vince started running the wood through his planer while Moira and I continued to pull nails. By the end of the day, Vince had most of the wood installed on the bar wall.
Vince finished the bar wall on Wednesday and since we had so much wood, he installed a half-wall of siding adjacent to the bar wall. He also made a 5” trim that would be used as wainscoting trim and baseboards throughout the tasting room. My brother Jim and his wife Elaine arrived around 4:00 and got put to work. We wrapped up by 6:00 and had a great night outside by the fire.
Thursday came way too fast, and while Vince finished up installing all of the trim. Moira & I were able to start installing some of the patinaed corrugated tin for the wainscoting. Jim and Elaine worked on pulling nails. Vince left late in the afternoon. In just a few days the tasting room has totally transformed.
On Friday the four of us decided to take on the project of dismantling the small barn. It was slow going. Jim and Elaine left shortly after lunch to Lubbock. Moira & I were able to get the majority of the barn down that afternoon. I got a call from my great buddy saying he wanted to make his mark on the place and was planning on coming up next Tuesday for a few days. So Moira and I worked through the weekend, getting things ready for Arthur’s arrival. It was a rough week. I am moving slowly these mornings, but Moira keeps me going! We are very blessed!