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Donna Kirkwood
October 29, 2019 | Donna Kirkwood

Our Journey

Eddie and I LOVE to travel!  On many of our adventures over the years we would visit different wineries and talk about how amazing it would be to one day open our own winery.  Of course back then it was merely a dream of what retirement could be like.  At one point we even came back from a trip and looked up Winery Franchise Options.  A few calls and emails with no response led us to believe that maybe it wasn’t in the cards for us.  We figured we’d just keep selling insurance and if a winery was in our future the door would open.  Fast forward several years and the door flew open AND when I say flew open, it flew open quickly.  One day I was sharing a meal with my then new friend Trina, that just so happens to be the head of Economic Development in our community. As we were talking about our families and getting to know one another we did talk shop a little bit.  Through the conversation it came up that Eddie and I had once thought about opening a winery and it just never came to fruition.  Trina’s exact response as Head of Economic Development was “You should!”  (She’s always looking for ways to bring businesses to Keller)  To which my reply was, “I think we will stick to insurance.”  You see the insurance business was (is) going well and I was not interested in starting a new venture this late in the game.  I literally shrugged (laughed) it off and we finished our meal.  That evening I was at home going over my day with Eddie. (You know every woman does this because we have to get our 25 million words a day out before we go to bed) I mentioned my time with Trina and how she said we should still pursue our dream of a winery.  Ya’ll!!!  I am not kidding when I tell you that I was not even able to finish my conversation with Eddie before he was emailing that same franchise company AGAIN.  ONLY THIS TIME, we had an email back within 45 minutes.  You see, the guy that had been with the franchise company before (that we NEVER heard back from) had walked away from the franchise and started his own consulting firm.  He literally helps people start wineries.  Next thing you know we are meeting with him the following week.  The first thing he told us was we needed a location. So I immediately reached out to my very helpful friend Trina and asked if she knew of any properties for sale in Keller.  She gave us a few and the one that stood out to us was this one….


Well, we called our realtor friend Shana Martin of Martin Realty Group and asked if she had time to show us this gem. We made arrangements to look at the property and when we walked in my words were, “This is a dump, let’s buy it!”  So we put in an offer and after a few negotiations the offer was accepted.  We were really doing this!  We were going to open a winery! What in the world were we thinking?  We both work full time at the insurance agency and literally have no time to run another business.  Eddie and I knew that in order for any of this to work we were going to need some partners. The more and more we thought about it we decided that the perfect partners would be Eddie’s brother Brian and his wife Stephanie. This was a way that the TWO BROTHERS would be able to spend more time together as they approached retirement.  It was perfect, they loved wine just as much as Eddie and I!  So Eddie called his brother one morning to see if they’d be interested in joining us on this adventure.  In short Brian said he’d have to talk to the boss AKA Stephanie but YES they were in. This all started in October of 2018 and we closed on the building on Dec. 12, 2018.  We couldn’t believe things were going so fast.  We started the business formation and had our initial meetings and in May of 2019 (yes you read that right, MAY) we began construction.  So much for fast…..Things were plugging along and we were seeing a lot of progress on the building and then in August our longtime friends Greg and Stephanie AKA Donna’s sidekick approached us about joining us on this crazy ride as well. Wow!  We were elated that they wanted to join us!   We’ve learned a lot along the way, and have also hired a dear friend of ours, Tracy, as our Lead Wine Consultant (which basically means she is ALL THINGS TASTING ROOM) to run the winery as we all have full time jobs.  Guess we didn’t think that one through very well. It’s definitely been an adventure and we thank God for this opportunity to do something we love with the people we love.  We consider ourselves very blessed to be able to pursue our dreams and we look forward to seeing where this adventure takes us!     


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