posted by Ben
The deeper Becky and I got into this, the more we realized that we needed to rely on some real experts. We are friends with an accountant, who offered to help us put our numbers into something financial people would understand. We consulted with a marketing person, who is very involved with Mead and got some more great info. We took a seminar about starting a winery/vineyard at Surrey Community College and met a lawyer, who specializes in wine law (and is opening her own winery with her hubby). We hired a graphic artists we know to help design our logo. Of course, we are also relying on information from other meadery owners and local winery owners, all of whom have been very helpful!
I have to say, the winery owners have been wonderful. They do not treat each other as the competitors that I thought they might. In fact, when one of these owners heard about what we were doing, they suggested we check with a building near them that was for lease. They are on on the Haw River Wine Trail and feel like the more wineries in the area, the more people will come to visit them. Personally, I love that philosophy!
When we found out how much it would be to build our own place, began considering leasing a place! We emailed the people, who were mentioned by the neighboring winery owners. It turns out they were taking an old cotton mill and refurbishing it. They were turning it into apartments, shopping area, and so forth. They had already completed a few of the buildings and were getting ready for the next phase. They wanted to include an indoor farmer's market, cafe, coffee shop and micro-brewery. The micro-brewery that they were speaking with fell thru, so they were receptive to the idea of a winery, especially a quirky little honey-winery!
The two spaces available to us were just a little bit larger than what we were thinking of building, so we knew it would work. We reworked the numbers with the lease amounts and found that we could make it work. In fact, in December of 2007, we signed a contingency lease and are planning on opening in Fall of 2008!!!