It has been almost three months since we have been in Canada. After living here on hard ground we ask ourselves… how is it going? It has been quite the transition. And most transitions are not without adversity. The most challenging thing, apart from outfitting a completely empty house, starting completely new jobs, girls starting mid-school year in a completely new school is…this is the first time that Cameron and I have worked closely together on the same project. Finding our footing as a team has been much harder than living on a 43ft sailboat. We have each had frustrations and getting used to each others working style and rhythm has been, to say the least… hard.
The project we are working on is extremely fast paced. With a total of 10 months to achieve the goals it sometimes feel impossible.
- building a new, albeit fairly simple, winery for crush this year
- ordering all the equipment supplies and fully set up a working winery from scratch
- processing 110 tonnes of red grapes from a recently purchased vineyard and find some Riesling for icewine production…every winemakers nightmare – it’s always ready to pick and press on Christmas I hear… or New Years.
- writing all the protocols for the business
- setting up the lab with equipment and procedures
- assisting heavily with (meaning I’m responsible for the success of) the long term architectural plans of the main 50,000 case winery.
- vineyard acquisition evaluations and recommendations
- vineyard development and replant plans
- evaluating all vineyard operations and making changes and recommendations for quality improvement with a move to organics and biodynamics.
- hiring of a full production team that will remain once we are gone
- training of that team
- and don’t forget to make the best wine Canada has ever seen….
The stakes are extremely high, the pressure is intense and the pace is relentless. For the first month and a half Cameron and I didn’t take even one full day off. We quickly learned that this was probably not a good idea. So, we have been pacing ourselves a bit more and I think we have finally hit a stride that works and we are getting in sync with a rhythm and common perspective that will carry us forward. ahhh
The girls are doing extremely well. They joined the Canadian school system about a week after we arrived and can I just say that I LOVE the school system here. No homework! Or very little. The kids do tons of stuff at school, the lessons seem rigorous but the girls are really excelling and didn’t seem to have lost any ground with me as their fumbling teacher…blog post coming on that topic soon. If anything they seemed a bit ahead in many areas. Isa joined 2nd grade which was a full grade higher than she had been in. She hasn’t missed a beat academically. Finding her social circle has been a bit of a journey, but she is learning great skills in resilience, generosity and independence.
Adelaide is in 3rd grade and slipped right in with such ease that I was literally shocked. She found a lovely posse of girlfriends, loves her teacher and even seems to enjoy the way they teach math. It’s absolutely amazing to see her mature and grow. She turned 9 recently and is maturing into a lovely young lady. They are thriving in the school almost to the point that I feel guilty for planning to take them out when we leave! These days they catch the bus from the end of our drive at 7:40am and arrive back all smiles and tearing in the door at 3pm. I love that they are getting this quintessential experience. Once home, they immediately jump into the swimming pool and often stay there most days until dinner is ready.
It took me all of three weeks to find a horse to ride and a pony for the girls. Cameron is even joining in and every Sunday afternoon will find us at a very sweet little horse barn, all taking turns on our mounts. The girls hop on and off a lovely schoolmaster pony while I ride a sweet gelding with a great mind. I’m getting in shape for my own personal light at the end of the tunnel! Cameron is getting comfortable in the saddle as well and really seems to enjoy his new hobby.
We found a nice Catholic Church locally with a lovely community of people. We are working on getting a Spanish mass for the growing population of Catholic migrant workers. The girls will join the catechism classes in the fall and finally take first communion!! sheesh… a bit late there but getting it done!
So that is the update from the Vawters in the Valley…the Okanagan Valley that is. Keep tabs on our doings on Instagram.