Rosé season, all year long!

Hi friends! Well, it's nearly Thanksgiving, and still Wine Therapy is trucking along. In true Santa Barbara fashion, it is still sunny and 75 nearly everyday, so it doesn't really feel like fall. Boomer and I had to scramble to keep rosé stocked because I'm certainly not ready to admit summer is over and change up my wine drinking habits! 

If you haven't visited Therapy lately, almost everything looks a little different! We rearranged all the furniture, made new menu chalkboards, and debuted the Santa Barbara Drinking Club. We also wrangled some talented friends to start making meat and cheese plates for us, so we have nibbles! Boomer is super excited about this because he has more opportunities to steal crackers. Everyday when we get to Therapy he immediately runs to where I store the cracker boxes. He's no fool!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend with friends and family. We will be open early/late to accommodate everyone shopping at Paseo Nuevo across the street. I know I enjoy shopping more when I have a buzz on! And I obviously make great choices! And you will too!

Summer day, drifting away

Well, it has been a while since I was able to blog. The short version: rush to open, Fiesta weekend, long hours, great wine, learning about beer systems, and a lot of support from friends.

Here's the long version:

We opened July 26th, with much help from friends. Literally minutes before open, you would not have guessed we were going to open! Despite a few hiccups (the glasses almost didn't arrive, the sink stoppers were the wrong size), we opened on time and our friends and family came out to support. I could not have made it through that week without my friends; they walked Boomer, fed me, and did all the things I didn't have enough hands to do. Special thanks to Annie and Jorden, who thankfully were out of school and were able to give me 24/7 help. And Brian, who is the handyman/personal assistant I never knew I needed (but totally do!)

With a week under our belts, we went into Fiesta. Once again, friends showed up to man the beer garden, check IDs, pour wine, and keep me sane! It was exciting to be in the middle of the Fiesta-tivities, but also very stressful. I wanted to maintain the integrity of my adorable wine bar (and it is adorable, and getting better everyday, not to brag or anything!), but also host a great Fiesta party. Having the back patio as a Mexican beer garden and the inside as the coolest new place in town (okay, that was a little braggy) was a good balance. That's not to say that both of them (and I) didn't end up covered in confetti! 

So I survived Fiesta. What next? Rewriting the menu, revamping the flights, and generally trying to improve the Therapy experience. There have been a lot of improvements. Neil made some amazing signs for the front windows. We're nowhere near done making changes. Back in my Starbucks days, I had a regional manager who said that we vibrated along, making little changes that added up. Everyday I aspire to make the right changes. 

August ended; now we're in September. Labor Day weekend was busy (and fun, since we had our first live music Friday and my hometown friends came up to visit). I hope that we've made enough of an impression on our local wine drinkers to keep us trucking along as the tourists trickle off. For all the braggy bragging, I genuinely hope people are enjoying Wine Therapy, and continue to visit us (and bring their friends). 

I've lost 15 pounds in the last two months, and yesterday was the first full day I've taken off. Worth it? Totally. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I have plenty of passion left in me! And thanks to some great friends, this is a team sport! 

Be careful what you ask for...

Oh boy, do I know how true that maxim is! Right now I am waiting to get the green light to pick up the Beer & Wine license from the Alcohol Beverage Control, but in the meantime I have a plumber here trying to get the hot water heater to behave, painters fixing all the boo-boos from the last tenant, a crew working on the water damage on the ceiling, another crew sealing the roof to ensure we don't have any further damage, and my two friends perfecting the finish on the bar. It's an absolute flurry of activity, and I'm trying to get business licenses etc done in the middle of it all. Organized chaos, or at least I'm pretending it's organized! All of these forces are working together toward an (fingers crossed) opening next week! Boomer is here, getting used to being a wine bar dog, and that helps keep me sane!

Praise the marine layer!

The heat has finally broken in Santa Barbara! I know it was worse in LA, Phoenix, and Vegas, but those places have AC! I'm trying to get all my loose ends tied up, and it was CHALLENGING in the heat. Naps kept sneaking up on me, and then I found myself working late into the night to catch up! An advantage of the heat was that it made for perfect sangria making weather. I made about a dozen different recipes over the weekend and invited friends over to my buddy's pool to try them out. Some went better than others, but I think I have a great start! If you want to see pictures of the trials, follow my instagram. I just made this super cool code that will take you right to it! 

 

Impatient Downtown

It has been over a month since my last blog post, and oh what a month! June 1st the previous tenants moved out of 732, and SURPRISE!!!, I got to take possession. If you have been downtown, you've seen my notice of application for a beer and wine license in the window, and not much else since I put butcher paper in the windows. Nothing super exciting is happening in there right now, short of me oh so slowly moving in furniture one carload at a time, but I don't want anyone to see the interior until it is 100%. I have been hitting garage sales on Saturday mornings for the last three months, and I think it's going to look pretty cool and eclectic, but who knows? I may scrap most of it and end up paying retail for a bunch of new furniture (but let's hope not!!!). 

My weekdays are still full of wine and beer, but more in town lately. I'm still trying to sneak up the hill to Santa Ynez as often as possible, but now that I have 732, I find myself getting most of my work done in town. I don't have internet yet (they install next week), so I am often on my laptop at the Starbucks on the corner or McConnells two doors down. 

I am so anxious to get the doors open, and I feel like this is just a big waiting game (for permits and licenses to come back), and I was never very good at waiting. Don't get me wrong, there is SO MUCH for me to get done while I wait. Maybe this experience will make me a more patient person? If not, I can always rely on a little wine therapy to calm me down. :)

 

One step at a time

Things are happening! The lease is officially signed (you may have noticed I added an address: 732 State St!) and I'm just waiting for some paperwork to go through to be able to post our intention to get a beer and wine license in the window of the space. I spent a lot of time this weekend looking for furniture and worrying about design. Putting a business together has been like a crash course in so many different areas: design, accounting, real estate law, business law, zoning and licensing, and the list goes on. I've always described myself as a generalist, not a specialist, so this is a perfect fit. For the record, this is what makes me good at trivia nights, if you are ever putting a team together! :) 

The countdown has started and I'm aiming for a June 15th opening, although it's completely contingent on bureaucratic hoop jumping and my ability to multi-task. Keep those fingers crossed for me, and I will treat you to a wine tasting later! xox

Patience as a virtue and wine as therapy

April 1st was my last day at a 'real job'.  Since I had already found my dream location and figured out that as long as I was smart I would be able to afford it, I assumed I would quickly sign the lease and be on my way.  Three (almost four!!!) weeks later, I am still negotiating and renegotiating to lock down my location.  I know very well that once I sign, things will kick into high gear with the ABC, and I will have too much to do in too little time.  I have many virtues, but patience has never been one.  Wine helps.  God willing and the creek don't rise, I may be able to get this done by the end of the month.  Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes for me!

Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear

And so it begins: I find myself designing my first ever webpage (it'll get better, I swear!) on my first day of self-employment. After watching my grandparents struggle to retire after owning their own businesses, I always swore I would never own my own, and yet here I am. When I approached my parents about this idea of opening a tasting room featuring local wine, which entailed me quitting my fairly lucrative job in the dental industry, I expected them to tell me I was crazy and to calm down. Instead, they told me I was young enough to take the risk, and that if I failed, I have enough connections and experience to get back on my feet fairly quickly. But imagine if I built something for myself! I was prepared with a hundred reasons to convince them that I should do this crazy thing, but confronted with their unconditional support, I found myself playing the devil's advocate: I gave all the reasons why I shouldn't! Luckily, my parents recognized that this is just my contrarian nature, and so here we are. I am daunted by this task I have set out; my to-do list has never been longer. But imagine if I build something for myself!