The Real Story
Below is the update we sent out via our Notaviva Vineyards newsletter, hoping to help people understand what’s been going on lately!
Dear Notaviva Friends,
So we figured by now everyone might be a little confused as to exactly what is going on with Notaviva Vineyards and the Mackey family, given the announcement about this time last year that we were moving to Colorado with the winery brand, and that the home and vineyards were for sale. Since you all have been so gracious in supporting our business, we wanted to take a moment to bring you up to speed on all the recent developments, so here goes!
Q: Thought you were moving to Colorado?
A: We did-we moved our family out west at the end of July, and now live in the Rockies in a little town called Divide, high up at 9,200 feet, past Pike’s Peak and west of Colorado Springs. The boys are thriving in their new schools and scouting pack/troop and we have enjoyed some of the most wonderful family adventures while hiking, fishing and exploring the area.
Q: Thought Notaviva Vineyards was for sale?
A: It was, for over ten months, and although we received one letter of intent with a full offer in April, the deal fell apart and was never brought to contract. Once we arrived in Colorado, and our family no longer lived underneath the tasting room, we began to realize that a whole host of new opportunities was beginning to present itself. In other words, how might we be able to leverage that downstairs space, as well as re-think what we had historically been doing in the tasting room? It was actually YOU, our customers, who sowed the seeds of these new ideas. Your emails, texts, social media inquiries inspired us to re-open the tasting room over Labor Day weekend. In addition, the interest of our amazing staff and their commitment to getting the ball rolling again influenced our decision to carry on. Notaviva was taken off the market in late October, as we worked through the early stages of a new vision for the business, the home, and our service offerings.
Q: Why did you leave?
A: Focus on the family. What we have been saying all along was the absolute truth in regards to our need to fully focus our attention on our three boys and each other. Living underneath a working tasting room had become too invasive, and we had reached a point where we felt “life made us choose” between building the best family we could, or the best winery. We felt we could build one or the other, or screw both up, but living underneath the business we could not see a path to doing both well. We had to create some separation, clear our heads, and re-prioritize everything in our lives. Now by living in the mountains, and seeing Notaviva with clear eyes and clear heads, we have been personally and professionally re-inspired.
Q: What’s all this about “coworking” and “B&B” activities?
A: As we began to re-think what might be possible in our amazing custom timber frame-thinking of it as an inspiring, creative, collaborative atmosphere-we spent a lot of time analyzing new and interesting concepts from around the world, specifically those engaged in “coworking and coliving” situations. Notaviva is now among a small but growing number of venues from around the world creating this kind of space. You’ll find others around the U.S. as well as Finland, England, Spain and the Orient. So the idea is to serve the growing number of creative digital nomads that are traveling the globe, as well as our mobile professionals from around the Northern Virginia and WV panhandle who are seeking an inspiring, convenient space in which to work without having to battle the congestion of our overcrowded transportation grid.
Q: With these new initiatives are you still running a tasting room?
A: Yes! Even though we are now positioning ourselves to cater more to the business professional during the week, we are still open for tastings (Notaviva Tasting Room Hours) and will be hosting special entertainment events. That said, given our commitment to this new model we have changed our age policy to 21+ at all times, with the exception of a few family-friendly events that will be announced and posted across all of our channels.
Q: So who is running the place and making the wine?
A: Nothing has changed in that regard. Shannon is still the COO in charge of all aspects of the tasting room, wholesale accounts and festival operations and long-time wine roadie Dirick Cummins is running the bar, working with retailers and tending to VIP club members. Stephen will still be the creative force behind the brand, as well as the wine composer, vineyard manager and general instigator of bright ideas that make everybody else crazy. Our other wine roadies that you’ve come to know and love over the years (Paula, Sunshine, Shelley, Jen, and DP) are still on board and looking forward to some big changes, likely requiring the addition of new staff sooner rather than later. Sure we’ll be working out the team infrastructure and learning to deal with the realities of running a business from two time zones away, but modern technologies are helping to solve a lot of those challenges, and the ease and affordability of travel means that a 3-hour $300 plane flight is really no big deal for Stephen & Shannon to get lots of face time with both staff and customers alike.
Q: What is the plan for 2018 and beyond?
A: Well there is the plan, there is the intended execution, there are the inevitable bumps in the road, and then there is the eventual reality. So we think we know what we’re doing, and what’s going on but have a lot of work to do to get from here to there! That said we are in the midst of putting together a very solid emerging business plan to deliver against our new vision for what Notaviva can and should be, both in terms of our product and service offerings as well as completely re-thinking our brand identity with regards to all aspects of the customer experience. Whether experiencing the Notaviva brand promise in our tasting room, in a store, at a restaurant, at a festival, online or wherever, we are designing and developing new products, experiences and technologies to better serve you, our customers. It’s still a little early to let some of the cats out of the bag, but suffice to say if everything comes together as we envision you’ll not only be blown away with the new customer experience, you’ll probably be re-thinking wine (or should we say craft beverage…) brands all together.
Q: What is going on with your other company, Mesh Omnimedia?
A: Mesh is still located in downtown historic Leesburg, as well as in Epicentral in downtown Colorado Springs, and well, pretty much anywhere in the world. We continue to focus on web development, video production, creative design and digital strategy, and serve a global clientele from these two offices as well as boarding gates, trains, planes, campsites, hotel rooms, and coffee shops. We’re also filming our first feature length documentary film, more on that below.
Hopefully that will give each of you some idea of where we’ve been, and where we see ourselves going in the years ahead. Who knows what challenges life will put before us, but given how many obstacles we’ve overcome and how far we’ve come, we believe we can make it happen. We appreciate your business, your moral support, and your words of encouragement.
Stephen & Shannon