Futures, Friends and the Team: An Evening to Remember

A few Saturdays ago we had our annual “Wine Club Only” barrel tasting event.  It had to have been one of the most incredible evenings of my life. There were close to 500 people at The Castle from all over the United States. I even heard that someone flew in from Canada. The weather was picture perfect. It was the kind of magical Sonoma Valley spring evening when the sun is warm as it descends and the breeze is mild and refreshing. An incredible energy hung in the air.

It was amazing! I went from one conversation to the next. I must have talked to 200 people myself! Everybody was raving about the wines, about the staff, about the building, the food, the evening.  Everything.

Words can’t describe what it’s like to work in an industry like this, where so many different facets are involved in the finished product:  Finding the right piece of property to plant grapes, going through all the soil tests and weather checks and getting the right root stocks with the right clone with the right trellis system, planting the rows in the right direction. And then you have a good four years of growing the vines before you get any grapes!  Once you finally have grapes, there’s another two or three years for the winemaking process.

From the time the root goes into the ground to the moment the wine crosses our customers’ lips, it’s been six or seven years, and in some cases, eight!

That only gets the wine into the bottle, then it needs at least six months to a year to evolve.  Once it has passed over the palates of our most expert tasting panel, then it is time for our wine consultants to contact our valued customers to receive their wine. A lot of hard work from so many people, vineyard workers, winemaking team, wine consultants, Marketplace staff, wine club department, shipping, runners, admin, and janitorial.  A total of 122 people on our little team at Ledson all working seamlessly over seven to eight years to bring our product to our loyal customers.

And so that’s why, on Saturday night, when couple after couple , one after the other, came up and  shook my hand and saying things like, “This is one of the best events I have ever been to.  Your staff is absolutely incredible, you can see they love what they do here. The wine is impeccable and so is the food.” It was music to my ears.

As the sun set behind the mountains and the building became lit, and with the warmth of the night spring air, the castle could not have looked and felt better – there was no place I would rather have been that evening. It was such a high, an evening like that, not only for me, but for my entire team. They get up early and put in long hours with so much passion and drive for what they do, and always with a smile.

I was so moved throughout the event that I couldn’t sleep when I got home. I kept thinking about the event and all the positive things people said. I was thinking about all the people who have worked so hard for so many years. You know this did not come to fruition overnight – it took a lot of people with positive perspectives years to put it together. I am so proud of all my staff and so happy to be part of it. I don’t know how life can get any better.


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