April Update

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I’m so sorry we haven’t had an update for you all for way too long.  We have been moving forward, but sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back.  I can report that we’ve touched base with an excavator, contractor, the tax and trade bureau (for our alcohol licensing), clean up company, and insurance companies.

Each has promised to get back with us, so in the meantime we are investigating the cost of the equipment that we’ll need and trying to figure out if we’ll be able to produce anything immediately or if we should buy wine from another producer.

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We’ve had a few personal issues which have slowed progress too.  Many of you had met Clyde’s mother Maxine at various events over the last couple of years.  Unfortunately, she started to really decline around Christmas, and by the end of January, we needed to put her in a nursing home.  While she stabilized for several weeks in the home, she took another fast down turn in the middle of March, and passed away on the 24th.

There will be a memorial service for her on April 17 at the Presbyterian Church in Steelville at 6pm, followed by dinner at the church.  Anyone who would like to join us celebrate her life and reminisce about time spent with her at the winery these last few years is more than welcome to do so.

To say that all this hasn’t been extremely emotional would be lying.  We’ve been pretty private this past couple of months, feeling frustrated and drained both emotionally and physically.  I don’t know how or when we’ll get out of this funk, but I know that it will happen one of these days.

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Our Grandson Micah has brought us a lot of joy despite everything (as well as all the caring folks who keep in touch in with us). You can’t help but be happy when he’s around! Micah inspires us to continue to explore life and to drool.

Lots and lots of drool inspiration. 🙂

Well, time to go pull out the lawn mower and sharpen the blades. Hopefully this spring will bring a renewal for the winery, and for our hearts.  I’ll update sooner next time and hopefully have lots of progress to fill you in on.  Cheers!

Thank You From the Bottom of Our Hearts/Fundraiser Recap

Silent Auction Fundraiser
This past Saturday, a couple of our good friends, Lee & Theresa Watson (that’s Theresa above), hosted a barn party and silent auction to help raise funds for us, and it really brought home just how blessed we are to have so many people who care about us.

The weather was fiercely cold. The driving conditions weren’t as bad as the day before, but still were dicey.  Yet did that stop the 60 or so people from coming? Oh no it did not!

Everyone bundled up, the Watsons fired up their wood stove and their propane heaters, and everyone stayed comfortable.  Plus, my heart was so warmed, I’m sure that helped thaw at least one person!

Silent Auction Fundraiser

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Bob & Terry Riley went to town cooking fajitas for everyone. Delicious!  These two have catered so many events over the years for us.  It was an honor that they would be willing to feed us again.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
The silent auction was filled with so many great items, donated by soooo many generous people and companies.  The auction was spear-headed by Beth Yount, who was assisted by Sarah Carney.  They opened the auction on Facebook the week before the event to allow for folks that couldn’t make the event, then put those bids on the sheets to start the bidding at the party.

Beth was also the bar tender, serving wines donated by several Missouri wineries (and a few beers too). I’ve added a list of all the auction/party donors to the end of the post if you’d like to check that out.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
And there was live music all afternoon provided by a variety of musicians from near and far – many of whom have played here at the winery.  We were so flattered that they all came and performed at no charge for all the auction attendees.  Bill Poss & friend came all the way from Effingham Illinois to entertain along with locals The Idea Men plus our house band this year – Karl Eggars & Lukas Simpson.

By the way, Lukas’s wife makes the best coconut cream pie ever!  Angie couldn’t make it but sent along four pies to eat and auction. YUM!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Julie, Mike and our grandson Micah came down to deliver baskets and keep us wrapped up in love (plus laughing at goofy faces)!  These two loaned me their camera that night, so all but one of these photos in this post were made by me playing around with their gear.  Thanks guys!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Clyde’s mom, Maxine even made the festivities for a couple of hours. She and I had to leave early, but she got all the great-grandson love she could during the first part of the evening!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
If you’ve ever shown up at Peaceful Bend on a Sunday, you might recognize this crew.  Amanda & Steve are our Sunday regulars along with their friends Aaron, Tarynn and Dan. They enjoyed a few games of Farkle in the barn loft in between checking on the silent auction bids.  I have to apologize to these guys for not bringing our doggies along too – hopefully they enjoyed the Watson’s dogs that night.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
This goofy moment was captured by our friend Jean Brandenburg.  Our hosts generously gave Clyde a new tool belt to replace the one he lost.  Of course, he had to put it on so all the ladies could check out his, ahem, tool.    belt.    😀

Clyde and I have really missed seeing people, so Saturday ended up being a true comfort.  We are so honored by all the generosity and support that everyone has given us these last few weeks.  The gofundme campaign exceeded it’s goal, and we have so many to thank for that as well.

Plus all the notes, emails, and social media outreach has lifted our spirits during one of the darkest moments of our lives.  Thank you all so very much.   Every time we sit and process everything, we are in tears. I truly hope that you are surrounded by as much love and caring this holiday season as we’ve been experiencing. Thank you again.

Here is a list of all the donors I could come up with for the silent auction and barn party.  If I’ve missed you or left someone you know of out, please let me know and I’ll add them here!

Lee & Theresa Watson, hosts

My Vintage Varia (Paula & Ray Harvey)

Julie Brand, potter

Red Moose Vineyards

Edg-Clif Farm & Vineyard

Murphy’s Place

Trout Lodge & Camp Lakewood

Stone Hill Winery

Meramec Scenic View Lodge

St. James Winery

Taryn Walk

Susan & John Zornak-Stevens

Public House Brewery

Mary & Steve Wade

Living the Dream, INC

Diane Engelsdorfer, massage therapist

Sarah Carney & John Sunderland

Ronica Clark and Jennifer Hutchinson

Karen Laboube, painter

Homestead Iron

ALPS Brands

7th Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival

Bill & Marilyn Startz

Simple Folk Productions

Willy & Rob Bowness, potters

Farwig Farms

Nancy Quinn and Kathy Shoemaker, quilters

Elliott Ranney, musician

Bill Passalacqua, musician

Delrio Designs

Jessica Stroh, beautician & stylist

Julie Gill

Painted Sky Pottery, Kate Sachs

Cheri Groves

Joey & Erika Crider, artist

Crystal & Gerald Earhart

Sophia Ulmer, artist

Debbie Laboube

Skip Doak

Creekside Fudge & Gifts

Sybill’s St. James

Turtle Earth Healing and Arts

Ozark Ed (Smith), fishing lures

State Beauty Supply

Connie Smith

Bem General

Environmental Energy Consultants/Solis Farm, Dan and Deborah Payne

A Grace Day

The Improv Shop

Dressel’s Public House

Hope Montessori Infant Toddler Community

Barbara Gibbs Ostmann

St. Paul’s UCC, Gerald, MO

LaChance Vineyards

John & Virgina Watson

Robller Vineyard Winery

Cuba Arts Council

Odds & Bends, Greg Land

Mary & Rusty Young

In the Niche, Mary & Nobby Ota

Mound Ridge Retreat Center

Tim and Veronica Schuppan

McGinnis Wood Products

 

Short-term Plans

Short term plans for re-opening

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I thought I’d pop in and let you all know what Clyde and I are thinking of doing to open up a space as quickly as we can while we work toward a permanent rebuild.  If you have ever parked in our extra parking lot space, you might recall this old barn/shed we have stuffed with junk.

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Our neighbor Gerald over at Murphy’s Place lent us use of his bobcat last week. So Clyde has spent his free time moving out all the old scrap lumber, broken chairs, and various other clutter that we’ve built up over the years in this space.

We’d like to pour a concrete floor and enclose this area to make a small tasting room.  We are still debating a few things (how to handle bathrooms, where to put the bar, where to store extra wine, do we call the outdoor area a ‘wine garden’ or wine yard’?, etc), but it feels good to at least have some direction for the near future.  We are probably going to purchase wine from another winery and put a custom label on it for this year, but that is another item which is still unclear at this point.

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Meanwhile up at the winery, the fire investigation is still going on, so we haven’t heard what caused the fire or figured out how to proceed for the long-term yet.

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Oh, and Maggie and Pepe have a nice warm dog house that Clyde built them last week, so they are doing well.  Although they are definitely missing their treats, and Pepe is wondering where his chairs went to!

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And Polly is having fun finding a few new spots to hunt.

Thank you again to everyone who has so kindly reached out these last couple of weeks.  We have sorely needed your encouragement, and are truly grateful for each and every one of you!