10137 Indian Trial
Phone: (765) 853-5100
Contact: Jim Wilson
The Wilson Family Story and how the winery came to be.
A few facts:
•When Jim moved to Portland, Oregon, he was so poor that he to make his own alcohol.
•John vowed that he would never be a farmer- There were no money, no fun and too much work. John complained.
•Richard (Dick) Wilson, John and Jim father, like keeping his family close.
In 1989 John's job took him to California and an idea was born which would pull these diverse facts together. Following his divorce, John was a little lost. The only things that made sense to him were home, the family farm and family. It took a while for John to convince Jim that he was serious about starting a winery. (Being taken serious is a bit of a problem for John.)
The boys planted some grape vines in Ella's (their mother) old garden patch in 1996. Add a lot of time and Jim's hands, some beginner's wine equipment and a lot of frozen raspberries from Ella's broken freezer and Wilson Wines began to take shape. Through it all Dick watched and helped despite his skepticism.
John and his new wife, Debbie, decided a ham bean supper was a good way to give away their amateur wines. All the Wilson's invited everyone they knew. The annual Modoc Meadows Follies began. What a hoot! People loved the wine, loved the winery idea and enjoyed the show that the family put on in the barn.
The Winery was licensed in September 2000. The boys continue to improve both the facilities and the wine list. If you come to the winery, plan on having fun. The Wilson's make fun a part of everything they do.
We lost Dick in October 1999. We all miss his ideas and wisdom. Side by side he worked with his boys, from picking grapes to remodeling the blacksmith's barn, constructing Wilson Wines. He helped his boys chase a dream he couldn't see but it was enough to be by his boy's side, to lend both a hand and his humor where he could and watch what was happening. Many times it was the belief in his boys that kept them going. And though he is gone he continues to influence his boys. The Richard Red wine was something John and Jim knew he would have loved. (Hence the name) As children John and Jim remember their father playing a great game of croquet which is why the croquet court is being made and named The Richard Wilson Croquet Field.
Sometimes at B.Y.O.M. when everybody is laughing and having fun I can't help but think of how much fun my father would have at the Friday night cook outs. Sometimes I can almost hear him laugh at a joke or a funny story.
Though John misses his father, the addition of Darin has been great for the winery and great for the wines. Last year, with Darin's help, the winery sent in 14 wines to the Indiana International Wine Competition and caught 13 metals and 2 of those were gold. Not to mention that the father son tradition carries on through John and Darin. Most of the family admits that Darin and Jim have a great uncle-nephew relationship and that one couldn't do it without the other considering our growth.
Winemaker: Jim Wilson
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