Thursday, August 29, 2013

Indie-Preneur interview ~ Upper Bench Wine & Creamery

Okay so I met Shana through a ‘learn to run 10 km’ group a few years back.  All I have to say is, she is a complete blast! A lil pocket dynamo, oooddles of energy, lots of laughs + a great lil runner to bout.  Now after the big 10km race was done,  I hung up my sneakers + took a ummmmmm an extended break , but i’m pretty sure Shana- the energizer bunny - kept going!   So naturally, we kinda lost contact....until one day we happened to bump into each other I ask what she’s been up too + this was her answer  ‘well , we just bought a winery!’

So how did all this ‘we just bought a winery’ happen?::

My hubby Gavin and I had always been looking to have our own place so when we ran in to acquaintances Wayne & Margareta Nystrom, at the local Safeway December 2010 and got to chatting, we partnered up and the rest is history.

 Yikes how stressful was that? How did you know you were making the right decision?::

It was pretty stressful. The property was actually part of a bankruptcy & going up for Auction in Vancouver, so we had to ‘bid’ on it in court. We got one shot at it, there were others bidding against us, so yep pretty darn stressful. Heck yeah! We knew we were making the right decision ‘cause this is what we’ve both wanted for many many years.

 What’s your role + whats the Mr’s role in your business?

Both Gav & I have many roles, I make cheese, do all the administration, help in the Tasting Room, and help keep the ship on course. Gav oversees the Vineyard, winemaking, building matience, helps in the Tasting Room (he’s pretty entertaining).

 What awesome things have happened since??

Gav’s wines have won lots of awards (he’s not a bragger so I’ll gladly do it for him). I’ve recently returned from Toronto where I participated in ACE Bakery Incubator. It was a whirlwind three days of work-shops, networking and all round awesomeness.

 For anybody considering taking a leap...what 3 things should one consider?

#1)Do it for the right reason
#2)Choose your partners carefully (me & Gav worked together previously and knew we work well together
 #3) Understand that the hard work is just beginning!

What is the most important thing you’ve realized since being an indie-preneur??

 Hmmmm good question! I guess I’d say that I’m friendlier than I thought! I always thought of myself as an introvert and a pretty shy person. When you have so many folks coming through the door, interested in what you’re doing it is easy to chat with them. Something that I didn’t realize I’d ever be good at, but I really enjoy connecting with people. Especially when we get the occasional ‘curd nerd’ who makes their own cheese at home. We always have a good story or two to share.

What about this word success ~ whats your definition?

Man you’re asking some pretty deep questions here! I’d say my definition of success would be: Success = life in balance. When I say life I mean family, partners, work & self. I will also say I’m not there yet. I don’t spend enough time with family and rarely take time for myself. But I’m working on it. Life is a work in progress.

How do you guys do it all? And what most peeps want to know is you still have time for running??

LOL! We have a lot of help. We have the best Winery Team ever! Great tasting room peeps, awesome Vineyard workers and I’ve a lovely young lady helping me make cheese. Still run occasionally starting to bike too! Like most working folks trying to get that balance is a challenge, but I’m up for it!

I wanted to give a huge thanks to Shana (+ Gavin) for taking some time out of their day to give this top notch interview ~ I thoroughly enjoyed the read (hope you guys do too), the visit + catching up!!

Here are some of my fav snapshots of my visit::

You can keep up with Shana (aka Big Cheese!) + Gav's adventures at Upper Bench Wine + Creamery here::
and why not 'like' em while you are at it ~ to show your support + give them extra encouragement + love...these guys are pretty darned awesome + supa inspiring to say the least :).

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