August 31, 2009- Four years ago today, Long Cliff was still just one of Grandpa’s dreams, and only the family patriarchs were permitted at winery meetings around the dining room table. That time allowed myself, with my mom & my aunts, to be with Grandma Judy in the time before she passed and share and catch up on each other’s lives. I cherish those memories of “girl time” in the living room. The men built their winery while the women continued to build the familial bond that kept it all together.
Four years ago today, I was attending my first classes at the University at Buffalo. Bright eyed I woke up early, drove myself to campus for the first time, and tried to mentally prepare myself for the long road ahead as a member of UB’s Freshmen Class of 2013. Driven by my fascination with words and the power they can hold, I had decided when I was in Third Grade that I was going to be a lawyer, and spent the rest of my pre-college schooling working towards that plan- never questioned it, never looked back. But plans do change. I realized in the sea of people that is UB’s Student Union, that I had no idea who I wanted to be. I’ve spent the last four years trying to figure it out.
May 31, 2012- With the family business finally open and work to be done in the vineyard, Dad asked me if I would consider helping out in Long Cliff’s tasting room while he & grandpa spent the summer caring for the grapes. They needed someone who could work part-time, and I needed to earn some extra money for buying textbooks that coming fall. It was a win-win situation… and I quickly fell in love with the job and began asking for more and more responsibilities, taking on more and more tasks.
August 31, 2013– I am now preparing to return to school this Tuesday with a new goal: a degree in Winery Operations. When I get to chatting about life and school with guests at the tasting bar, I am almost always asked “Oh so you’re going to be taking over this place?” Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves- Grandpa’s still got a whole lot of good years in him to boss me around (and believe me, he would never let me forget that!), and of course, even when he retires (retire? Grandpa? Yeah Right!) I’ll still have to answer to my dad. But believe it or not, I’m not returning to school so I can learn how to run a winery. Yes, that’s the end goal, but my reason for working towards this degree is entirely because it is something I am passionate about. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, or for Long Cliff, but I know that for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m actually living a plan with a purpose, and I am right where I was supposed to be all along. Long Cliff is no longer just “one of Grandpa’s dreams…” It’s a dream we all share together, with a combined vision of it’s success for generations to come.
So this Labor Day weekend I’m raising my glass to the start of something new. Here’s to the dreamers, the believers, and the go-getters. Here’s to my Grandpa giving me a future I certainly hadn’t envisioned for myself, but could not be more thankful or hopeful for. And here’s to the customers that repeatedly walk through those tasting room doors to see how we’re doing. Thank you for making my family’s dream possible, and thank you for giving us (and especially me) a purpose. We’ll see where this crazy ride takes us!
“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard… She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” -Proverbs 31
Have a safe and happy holiday this weekend! I’ll be in the tasting room regular hours Labor Day Monday (12p-6p) if you want to come impart some wisdom or advice on me on my last day before classes!
-d. ❤ xo.