This November hallmarks 17 years of business for Deer Run Winery owners, George and Joan Kuyon. I interviewed George, Joan and their son, Scott separately to find out how they each feel about reaching this milestone.
George was in the production building assembling a wood countertop for the new lab space when I came in out of the blue and asked him what he feels has been his greatest challenge as a business owner. I believe most small business owners would agree with him when he said the greatest challenge has been "paying for things". Deer Run Winery would not be a brand or a place for folks to get together on Conesus Lake if it wasn't for George's tenacity to keep the business afloat all these years. It has been a blessing and a burden for George and Joan, who continue to financially support the business as it grows larger.
Are you happy with where the winery is today? I asked George. He replied, "Yes, very happy. I never thought it would go this far. By the grace of God, Scott showed up at just the right time...that made me very happy". Scott had been working as a manager of a marina in Florida and decided to move home after George built the winery, just before it opened. George and Scott have worked closely together for the better part of two decades as a father and son team of commercial winemakers.
"What has been the greatest highlight of the last 17 years?" George didn't miss a beat and answered, 'It's Scott and how he has taken the winemaking to another level."
I phoned Joan, and asked her what she feels has been the greatest highlight as owner of Deer Run Winery for the last 17 years. She replied , "The winery brought Scott back to us". And are you happy with where the winery is today? I asked. Joan replied, "I'm proud its a family-run boutique business that has grown to include weddings and a wine club."
I appeared in my husband's (Scott's) office and sat down opposite him to ask him what he feels he has learned about himself over the last 17 years working at Deer Run. "Patience, lots of patience". Scott went on to add, "I have a better grasp on critical thinking. Farming grapes and making wine has taught me small changes can lead to large results over time if you have the patience to see it through. Some [changes] take years to show up. Winemaking techniques and styles can take 6-8 months to show up in a bottle. We get better by learning and experimenting." Lastly, I asked Scott if he is happy with where Deer Run Winery is today. To that he replied, "Overall, I am happy we are still around!"
Congratulations George, Joan and Scott! Your determination and drive has led to a successful business enjoyed by so many people from all over the world! Many folks have fond memories associated with their time spent at Deer Run Winery. May you continue to host good times and great people over delicious glasses of wine for many years! Cheers!!
I am the winemaker's wife. Scott and I married in 2014 and I transitioned from a hospitality manager to a grape farmer's wife, event coordinator and blog author.