Mow Important Things

By Hilary Berg

As I write this letter, it is the end of April. And I must tell you, the sun is shining.

In Oregon, this is an overdue, much-needed change from the deluge of rain. In fact, the forecast shows blue skies for the foreseeable week. I seriously thought the dripping was never going to stop.

While rain makes everything green and lush, it also makes everything, well, wet. And if you have ever tried to mow a waterlogged lawn — especially one with any kind of slope — you know that it’s more likely swear words are gonna fly instead of clippings.

After the ground has dried out a bit, you bet my husband and I will get out to mow and trim. As some lawn warriors might look at our place and laugh and think, “what a bunch of wimps,” I look at my lawn and think, if only we had more time… and sun.

The sun part is out of my hands, but the time factor I can explain.

I work full time here at Oregon Wine Press. When I am not at work, I am busy with my son, who is 15 months old and brimming with boundless energy. My husband, Chris, shares the latter responsibility, and works full time, too.

He’s the winemaker at Laurel Ridge near Carlton. He loves his job and the people he works with. Chris and crew make a range of wines for owner Susan Teppola as well as produce sparkling for wineries throughout the state.

We also own our own winery and seven-acre vineyard, both named Roots. Working full time for someone and running your own business is time consuming, to say the least. As many other entrepreneurs know, you never “leave work” when you work for yourself. Also, as soon as money comes in, it goes right back out. Rarely do you pay yourself.

To be able to get a paycheck and make our wine at the same facility is the only way we could make it work. And for this, we thank Susan.

There are other wineries, like the ones mentioned in this month’s cover story (see page 33), that graciously allow its top employee to produce his or her own wine.

There is a great level of respect for both employer and employee in these types of arrangements. In the case at Laurel Ridge, there is a family atmosphere — complete with hugs, potlucks and “can I borrow the truck?” I suspect the same at other similar facilities.

And as with any family, there are chores, like watering the plants, cleaning the roof and, you guessed it, mowing the lawn.

Speaking of yard work, I know many of you will be outside catching up on home improvements this Memorial Weekend, but remember, this is one of the best weekends to taste the latest offerings, nibble great food, listen to live music, take winery tours and more.

So, forget the lawn — it can wait one more week — and soak up the sun in Oregon’s lush wine country. 

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