Last week I attended the Iowa Specialty Producer’s Conference and spent two whole days condensing ALL THE IDEAS and inspiration into what I could capture on a few notebook pages. I love my notebook, and anyone who knows me knows that my entire LIFE happens in that notebook (because otherwise I’m likely to forget). But my favorite part is that now those thoughts, memories, and ideas travel with me and I can look back at them when I need some fresh thoughts.
The highlight of the conference for me was the keynote speaker John Stanley. He and his wife own a Chestnut Farm in Western Australia. They take their knowledge to the streets worldwide and consult with other retail businesses to provide insights all the way from global trends down to simple, effective changes to make in your own storefront to increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Mr. Stanley absolutely drove home one of my biggest passions that I discovered way back in college, but have struggled articulating. Selling the EXPERIENCE is crucial in so many farm or value-added business. I don’t want to sell wine. (wait, what??). I don’t want to sell corkscrews, or t-shirts, or any THING. I want our consumers to know our values and see our passion. Then I want to invite them as a guest to our FARM to see and sample the high quality products we’re producing for them. THEN, if I’ve done my job correctly, I want you to WANT to bring our wine home to your table.
I think for many years the wine industry tried to ‘commercialize’ and disconnect themselves from their farm roots. In today’s world though, so many consumers are paying more attention to where their food comes from and that means the trend is bringing them back to the farm. Last summer I gave this presentation about Agri-Tourism at the Iowa State Fair. And like I said in my last post, I am a realist. In that presentation, I recognized that Iowa doesn’t have scenic mountain views, or white sand beaches. What we CAN offer our visitors is the chance to get in touch with where their food comes from. And meet some pretty cool people along the way. I mean, we are known for being ‘Iowa Nice’, right?
So, what makes Backcountry Wine different than Barefoot? The EXPERIENCE. Stop in the tasting room to sample (always free of charge). Meet the Owners (we’re usually the ones pouring the samples). Ask for a tour (fill your glass before we start, sometimes it’s a long story!). We’ll see YOU at the winery!
Happy New Year!
I’m not a resolution kind of person. I’m a realist. That diet will end by next Tuesday, and life happens in our home so it will always be a mess. BUT, one of my serious goals for 2020 is to connect with you all and share a little more. You’re part of the Backcountry Family now – are you ready to come along for the road trip?!
For those of you that are new to our story, I’ll give you the spark notes version. Preston and I are high school sweethearts who grew up in Northwest Iowa, graduated from ISU, and decided to stay to build our dreams here in Central Iowa. We bought our land in August of 2014 and began an 18 month journey renovating a beautiful century-old brick barn that now hosts our winery production, tasting room, and event space. Two babies and lots of life lessons later, we’re still doin’ this crazy entrepreneur thing and still dreaming about all the new awesome things to bring to the business.
Small business is messy. And you all know balance in life is nearly impossible, but we all work at it every day. Finding the best open hours, best events, and making the best WINE for our people has always been our goal. Sometimes we nail it, and sometimes we need do-overs. But we feel so blessed to have put wine on your table for nearly FOUR years! And man, do we have some exciting things coming in 2020!
My goal is to write a little once or twice per month and share more about why we do what we do and the details of how we’re doing it. I’ll cover topics like vineyard management, bottling and labeling, Weddings at the winery, Wine Tasting 101, and more. Have questions or topics you’re curious about? Shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to answer!
That’s all for now. Cheers!
Photo cred to Wilder Edge Photography. Thanks for capturing our smash cake birthday madness!
Preston and Amber both grew up on farms in Northwest Iowa. They share a passion for the outdoors and enjoy taking on new projects to see what adventures will be discovered. As high school sweethearts, they attended Iowa State University together, and now are continuing to pursue their dreams at Backcountry Winery.