I think back about the way things looked when we first showed up back in 2001. I remember driving down the Sechrist toward the winery and pulling in with Kris and Carl (age 1) in the back seat. I remember seeing the winery and the old trailers and the trash out front and the musty smell in the tasting room and the dark, dampness in the cellar. I also remember that I had a cold and couldn't taste anything. And, John poured us a taste of the 1997 Cadenza, and I was impressed.
Then, he poured me a taste of the 1991 Cadenza and I was floored. Totally blown away. What an awesome wine. Even with my head-cold, I could see the brilliance that this man created in his wines.
Things have changed since then. I have lived by the mantra that a business has to spend money to make money. (John never understood that. He lived by the Field of Dreams "If you build it, they will come" motto. Doesn't work too well in Brogue.) So, early on we spent money on advertising, but lately we have spent money on expanding our vineyard and production area. And, related to this, we may be expanding our tasting/event area.
Back when John and Tim ran the winery, they produced around 4-5K gallons annually. We're now about three times that. They didn't really have any employees. We now have about 23 people on staff (mostly part-time.) They never did festivals. We take our wine on the road as much as we can. They didn't have other stores. We have five.
But, you know, would I trade what we have for what they had? I don't know. I also have a family that this winery helps to support. They did almost exclusively dry wines, while I end up making a lot of sweet wines. It's just a different path.
I have to say that because of our size, we are now surrounded by some of the most interesting and special people that I am proud to call part of the Allegro family. If we were smaller, this wouldn't be part of my world. I also come in to contact with so many people that love our sweet wines. And although I don't personally drink those wines, I feel good about bringing a bit of happiness into their lives. Our winery is different and things have changed, but you know, I like it this way.