Shortly after Wayne and Nicolette arrived in the Willamette Valley some items were taken out of their mailbox. Nicolette had a lively Greek exchange of expectations with the postmaster of McMinnville. Just a few weeks later Nicolette and Wayne were out on a “date night” when they were sharing stories and a few glasses of wine with some yet-to-be-introduced new acquaintances.
Finally names were exchanged, and Nicolette realized she was sitting across from her adversary, the postmaster himself, otherwise known as Jess Davis. The emotion of the earlier exchange resurfaced as a bond of friendship that might have otherwise not been as strong, and a new road to be travelled unrolled before me. Winemaking holds an appeal for me that I didn’t know was there.
After cooking a couple of winemaker’s dinners and private parties at Youngberg Hill (I am a trained chef), I began assisting Wayne in the vineyard and at the winery – sorting grapes, and barreling and bottling the wines. I spent my evenings and vacation time assisting in the winemaking for a few years, before Wayne convinced me it was time to change careers and become part of the family on the Hill. So after 32 years of faithful federal service, I sold my acreage, and began the life of a farmer/vintner/barkeeper/winemaker/chef/inn manager. On a farm, the day starts when your feet hit the ground, and stops when you do. But a day on a John Deere beats a day at the office anytime.
I love spending my time bringing smiles to people tasting our wines, or helping them unlock the mysteries that wine presents. I love welcoming guests into the inn, and I love being a farmer. And when it is time to call it a day, I watch the sunset through a glass of my favorite Pinot Noir and cherish every sip of life.