Thursday, August 4, 2016

Five Years

By Becky

I never told you the whole story of how we found ourselves living on a vineyard. Here goes.

Five years ago in April 2011 I was bummed out.

I was always bummed out on some level that year, but on one particular day I was super bummed out because Justin and I had had an argument about throw pillows.

I wanted to buy new ones.

He said no.*

As a working mom who painfully and begrudgingly left her sweet little boy every day to go to a full-time job, it was beyond frustrating that I couldn't even afford to buy new throw pillows.

Shortly after the Great Throw Pillow War of April 2011 (which Justin tells me he has no recollection of), I ended up having to work a four-hour shift at a major community event for my job. I knew that students from a ministry school led by friends of ours were also going to be at the event praying for people. This particular group of students practice hearing God's voice and sharing what they hear with people as a way to bring encouragement and show God's love. I schemed a little bit on how to get my co-worker over to their booth for prayer because she had been struggling to get pregnant for more than a year. (I succeeded, we all prayed, and her daughter turned four earlier this year. Yay!)  

After praying for my friend, one of the students turned her sights on me. She told me that she felt like God was saying that He was going to bless me in regards to my home. (Ahem, throw pillows!) She also felt like God was saying that because Justin and I had been such faithful givers, we were going to move into a season where other people would want to give to us. She said that it would feel uncomfortable to be on the receiving end, but that God wanted us to not ask questions and just rest in that place for awhile.

After that I went home and told Justin what went down and his response floored me. He said, yeah, the market has been going down so I've been thinking about us looking for a new house and renting out this one. What??? We can't buy new throw pillows, but we can buy a new house? I was very confused, but I started looking at bigger houses in our general neighborhood in Stockton.

Everything happened so fast.

Three weeks later Justin and I found ourselves with an unexpectedly child-free evening. We also found ourselves unexpectedly without a house key. Oops. We drove to a neighboring town to pick up a spare key from a friend and Justin suggested that we drive into the country to check out some properties he had found online.

We drove up the long driveway to a foreclosed, basically abandoned, property and made our way through the tall thick grass (while I freaked out about creepy crawlies) and sat on the deck staring out at the beautiful overgrown vines and the trees swaying softly in the evening breeze. The waning light painted a pretty romantic picture of an idyllic country life. Could we? Should we? Can you imagine? How is this even possible? This is crazy.

Long story short, we did. You know that.

What you don't know is that during a painful three-month escrow the deal almost fell through several times and that our realtor asked us repeatedly if we were really sure about this..

We were.

And on August 4, 2011, we closed. Five years later, here we are.

People always ask us if this was a dream of ours. To live on a vineyard and make wine? I feel a little sheepish when I tell them no. Not even a little bit.

We have always known that God had a plan for us as a couple in business. We felt it even more strongly when we set foot on this property. Pretty funny that God would lead two non-drinkers to buy a vineyard. Even funnier that He would lead us to make and market our own wine. Quite honestly, most days I'm still bewildered by this life I'm leading.

These last five years have been the hardest, most confusing, and painful years of my life. They have tested us as a couple, and me as an individual, more than I ever could have imagined. And if I could have imagined, we probably would still be living in a modest house in Stockton.

We have sown in tears, disappointment, sweat, money, and ego. But we have also reaped to an uncomfortable degree (as my praying friend said we would) in major home improvements, furniture, car repairs, in wants and needs met for us and our children, meals out, unexpected checks in the mail, and most recently - investments in our business. We have been so uncomfortably blessed.

Today, I feel the tides shifting, and those same praying friends have been sharing new things with us. God is leading us into a new season. And I am moving into the next five years with confidence, faith, and hopefully a lot more gratitude and wisdom.

Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

*(For those of you wondering. Yes, I did finally get new throw pillows. My next request is grass. Please buy some Fete today) :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Inspiration on Scratch Paper

By Becky Perry

Inspiration finally struck at around 75 miles an hour on Interstate 205 in Tracy, California.
Justin had been after me for several days about putting some words on paper that would ultimately grace the back of our wine bottle and help carry our company’s message. I had scratched out a few drafts, but nothing was flowing. Finally on our way over to Richmond to meet with the bottle design company I took a deep breath, said a silent prayer, and let God write the words.

I was nervous to put it out into the world. I know it’s just a couple of sentences on the back of a wine bottle, but it felt really raw and intimate and I didn’t really want to share it with anyone, let alone take credit for writing it. What if people thought it was dumb? What if they rolled their eyes and found it a bit over the top?

Today our first wine bottle has been out in the world for 9 months and we are getting ready to start the design phase for our second bottle. Most of the time I feel grossly inadequate about this whole undertaking. We don’t fit the traditional mold of winemakers. Our wine is geared toward a very specific audience, and unfortunately that audience doesn’t have any “muscle” in the industry. We never had a deeply rooted desire to make wine, nor found the idea of living on a vineyard romantic and alluring.

Yet, here we are.

Today Justin went by one of the wine centers that sells our wine. One of the workers told him that she took a bottle home to her mom for her birthday because the whole concept of Fete seemed to speak to where her mom was at in life. She presented the bottle to her mom at her birthday dinner. Her mom read the back of the bottle and cried. Then her dad cried. Then her mom passed the bottle around the table so all her friends could read it. They looked up James 1:2-4*, the address of the Bible verse we had screen printed onto the bottle. They were all moved. By this silly little thing we put into the world hoping it would resonate and bring some light to those who need it.

What a gift.

This is why we have a wine brand. This is why we have thrown our humble product out there against hundreds of other wineries with family history and clout. This is why we have chosen to target a demographic that the wine industry believes is only good enough for cheap products. This is why I force myself to swim against the undercurrent of desperation that is so prominent in most wine marketing to women – especially on social media.

It is not just about the wine. It is about this message:

Life is a gift. YOUR life is a gift. Life, with its messes and letdowns and disappointments, IS a gift. Celebrate it. Fete today.

*James 1:2-4:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.