The Future of Tunnel Hill

Since coming back to the farm in 2004,  I’ve helped my dad with the step-by-step evolution of our winery.  I got the street lights installed, the highway entrance re-striped, the waterfall garden engineered, and I had a big hand in the tasting room construction.  But up until this year, the winery has always been his baby.  I helped oversee the tasting room staff, but it never felt like I was really in the game.

That’s changed.  This past winter, I began to realize how integral the success of our winery is to the overall success of the Sunshine Farm.  I also quickly saw that Dad’s original vision for the winery wasn’t big enough. Up until this year, before I became more involved in the winery, Dad figured he didn’t have many other options than to stay small and look for a buyer in the future.  When I realized I didn't want to see the winery sold, that maybe instead I wanted to learn how to make wine, the vision for the winery changed.  We needed more wine--and more production space!

  Ground has been broken on our new production facility adjacent to the tasting room.  When it is complete, we will have the capacity to produce around 2000 cases of wine per year.  Compared to our current 450 cases, that offers a nice set of big shoes to grow into.  And along a somewhat parallel tract, we are working out the initial visions for a seasonal restaurant at Tunnel Hill.  You know those great Brandywine tomatoes you get at The Sunshine Farm Market?  The ones grown just up the hill from our vineyards?  Well, slice one of those up alongside our celebrated organic salad greens, top with some fresh chevre and you’ve got a great summer salad.  Could I suggest our ’09 Riesling as a pairing?

But hey Guy, didn’t you study engineering in college?  And what was that your wife studied?   Classics?  As in Greek?  What do the two of you know about wine and food prep?  Answer:  We’re learning.  As fast as we can!  And it helps that we have great neighbors.  Dean and Heather over at Nefarious have been the best in sharing ideas and perspective.  So to, our neighbor to the east, Dr. Bob of Tsillan Cellars. 

But there are still plenty of moments where we’re left scratching our heads and figuring it out on the fly.  Which is to say we are a little stressed sometimes, but generally optimistic about our chances.

I wrote a poem years ago for my Dad’s birthday.  It was a sentimental affair about two men, father and son, looking out over the same landscape from the different vantages, but walking together towards a common point.  Certainly that poem has lived its way into life here on the farm.  Dad has the audacity to build buildings and get businesses rolling that I would never consider starting.  And I have audacity to step up to the plate when those businesses need a boost to the next level.  Even if we have to figure it all out as we go along.

Which is all to say we are a little stressed sometimes, but generally optimistic about our future!  Thanks for joining us as supporters and customers.  We look forward to the days ahead.

Jessie and construction.jpg
Michelle Fanton