The Frisbees are adding 400 vines of Petit Manseng to their vineyard, expanding it from 3.8 acres to 4.4 acres of six varieties. Growing more of their own fruit increases the ability to have influence over the quality and availability of fruit, eliminating some uncertainty in the supply chain.
They are also purchasing two new pieces of winery equipment: a forklift for safely stacking barrels and raising and lowering harvest bins, and a 350-gallon stainless tank for increasing capacity of white wine production by 33 percent. The Frisbees are also building brand awareness through marketing with a permanent sign, branded stemware, rack cards and business cards.
The recently opened tasting room is key to the Frisbees’ success, as distribution requires selling through a middle-man at thin margins. They expect to be cash flow positive in 2014, the sixth year of the vineyard project. They anticipate providing a living wage for at least two members of the family and part-time work for at least two people in the community in 2015. To reach these goals, they are increasing their annual crush from 1,000 gallons in 2012 to 6,000 gallons by 2015.
“Building the vineyard and winery gives our family the opportunity to continue the farming tradition on this piece of property through at least the fifth generation of our family,” Jeff said. “The family farm is a key component of our community in western North Carolina. Too many family farms cease to exist after a generational change as the property falls prey to residential and commercial development. We do not want to see that happen here.”
Customers include wine enthusiasts, tourists, local restaurants, and wedding parties in the western Carolinas and east Tennessee. Their bottles are also on the wine lists at Modesto and Chorizo in downtown Asheville.