What was supposed to be a 2 year hiatus from our winery to pay down debt and raise capital tuned into 5 after a run-in with cancer, the covid quarantine and a life flight to Portland Legacy Trauma Center.
From The Beginning
It's not unusual to find vineyards and grapes growing in beautiful places because the conditions that you need to produce award-winning wines involve temperate climates, long stretches of sun and a terrain that will provide the nutrition but bring a certain amount of struggle.
Our property provided an ample supply of both and maybe a little more hilliness than we were prepared to farm. But so beautiful that we named the property Evensong. Its long sunsets were accompanied by musical mountain breezes coming from the Callahan’s in the coastal range every night.
We also sourced grapes from several Southern Oregon vineyards and in August 2014 we introduced our 2013 Southern Oregon Barbera in the tasting room. Like several Italian varietal’s, it needed a bit more time in bottle for it to open up. Fortunately, in February the following year it did just that and just in time for the Greatest of the Grape competition in Canyonville, Oregon, the oldest Oregon Wine competition. That year we won the platinum judges award for the Barbera! we were shocked after so many people had turned their noses up when testing it the previous year. But, it solidified my love for Italian varietals because there was so much reward hen one was patient waiting for the wine to form.
Unfortunately, even with the added visitors coming into the tasting room from news of our award on radio and local paper, we learned it takes a few years before a small winery in Roseburg would earn enough to cover the costs of vineyard and winery operations. We didn't want to take on partners or be forced to make decisions under duress due to high debt. So in 2016, we came to the difficult decision to head to Austin, Texas in order to earn high enough incomes in the tech industry to pay down our debt from the winery startup. Once free of debt, we would reboot the vineyard and winery to a manageable operation that would not drive-up debt again. We stored 700 cases of wine at an Oregon climate-controlled warehouse and drove south.
In 2020, with our debt paid off I began plans to re-introduce our wines to wine consumers and rehab the vineyard, that needed a lot of TLC. It was the middle of Covid, so I thought I’d find out what the experts thought of our wine before reconnecting with customers. I packaged up a mixed case of wine in the best packaging I could find (an A/C box) to send as entries into the 2020 Sunset Magazine wine competition. Our 2014 Wines all won silver medals and re-affirmed their drinkability. They compared very well to wines that received silver submitted by Abacela and Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards.
2021 came and with the ability to work remotely in my job as a System Architect for Cray Supercomputers and award-winning inventory to help us reboot the winery, I set out in May to begin clearing the overgrowth in the vineyard.
On May 12th, during a routine lunchtime ATV trip down to the vineyard my ATV accelerator was pegged to the max by a badly attached piece of equipment. It sent me over a hilltop and ended with me life flighted to a Portland trauma center. My neck vertebrae c5-c6 had been broken and my spinal cord was injured. This was an injury that should have left me completely paralyzed from the neck down, a condition known as quadriplegia. It was a miracle that I had survived having spent 9 ½ hours for someone to find me. Instead, after 5 ½ months of community prayer, unwavering love and support of Amy and family, medical procedures, and physical therapy, I have begun walking with a cane for short distances. My medical team is very confident that I will eventually walk free of a cane, but I know that the miracle began with a gift by God and they will continue by God’s love and grace.
I won’t dwell on my injury, as a matter of fact, we have a slightly modified slogan for the winery. To our saying “celebrate what’s right about life”, we have added, “thankful always”!
The only thing related to my injury that you will hear about from me; is the gratitude I’ve learned and empathy for those less fortunate than me. That is why, when you purchase anything from our store, you will be presented with a choice of 3 charities that do great work for the disabled when you check out. We will donate 10% of your purchase price to the charity you choose.
Edward Coughlin, winemaker