Last year, I was asked to document a surprise proposal session at Jolene Family Winery in Quinton, Virginia. I had never heard of it before then, but what a gem of place. They are located on a perfectly placed family owned property right off of Route 60.
After the proposal, I reached out to Taddy and asked if I could interview her about their new venue. She happily obliged. Below is part of our conversation.
Table of Contents:
- How did Jolene Family Winery come about and how long have you guys been in business?
- Tell us something about you guys and Jolene Family Winery that most people don’t know.
- Did you guys incorporate building the winery as a wedding venue, or did that just happen? What’s that story?
- What do you enjoy most about hosting weddings at the winery?
- What is the toughest part of the job?
- How would you describe the couples you work with and what problems do you find yourself solving for them?
- What is your favorite type of wine?
- What is the number one takeaway you’d give to future potential clients in deciding the best place to host their wedding or reception?
- What is the best way for couples to reach out to you and inquire about booking or touring Jolene Family Winery?
Jolene Family Winery — Interview
— Before we start, I have 1 important question – fast forward, an hour from now, you are glowing, you are smiling and you are thinking “man, that was the best experience and conversation I have had all week, I am so glad I did this interview”, what has to happen during our conversation for you to feel that way?
Honestly I just appreciate the transparency – I am someone who is a big supporter of local business. I try really hard to work with other vendors and support others — anything you can do to help, while telling us what we can do to help you. We are very family oriented, and we want people to feel at home. We are also really big on making people feel good and we want to work with other vendors who feel the same way. Starting a business can be difficult, so we are happy to get the word out.
I am the events director for the Jolene Family Winery- I am Taddy.
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The first question I want to ask is: How did Jolene Family Winery come about and how long have you guys been in business?
Just a little over a year – July 3, 2020 and we have hosted about 20 weddings so far. We want to be discovered by more couples. We will be doing expos beginning of the year and we have had an amazing grand opening during the pandemic. It also speaks to what the world has overcome because we are mostly outdoor – and we do have indoor reception space. I designed pretty much everything you see – interior, exterior, wine labels. I wanted to keep it neutral but not too traditional.
Tell us something about you guys and Jolene Family Winery that most people don’t know.
We are a family winery and we are family oriented. Our business is a family affair – The word Jolene comes from our three owners: Brian, Cindy, Sandy. They grew up in New Kent, next door on the property. When their father built the winery it began as a garden center called Briarwood Nursery. So, the property has been in the family since the 1960s. My husband is the son of Brian – so he grew up in the house as well. Joseph and his wife Helene – Jolene comes from the mixing of the 2 names to create the name.
This whole process and creation of Jolene is to honor their parents. Sandy is the General Manager. I am the daughter-in-law and I do marketing, creative directing, wine labels, anything you see that is creative or design oriented is from me. My husband and his brother are the carpenters and that was helpful in making it unique from the bar in the tasting room and patio. We have worked hard as a family from the background to what you see now— we have created an entire family affair. We get to honor Joseph and Helene with what are we doing here.
Be present at your wedding, I will document it all.
I was there for Kyle and Lindsay’s proposal and the place is just stunning. Did you guys incorporate building the winery as a wedding venue, or did that just happen? What’s that story?
We did have that in mind when picking everything out. We had originally wanted to be a wedding venue and winery. I wanted to make sure the tones were neutral, classic and modern to create a backdrop for weddings. The property speaks for itself as a hidden gem right on the water. So, we planned for that the whole time. I got married there prior to renovating it in 2018 after the garden center had sat for many years. We fixed it up and got married. I used my wedding as an example to build from. We wanted to share that with others and to make it special for others is what drove us. We are so proud of this place. It’s so special for a lot of reasons.
What do you enjoy most about hosting weddings at Jolene Family Winery?
I would say – Getting to share such a special place to our family with other people. I say this all the time – my favorite part is seeing people’s faces when they first come to tour the venue. It’s almost always they are surprised by what they’ve found. We have only been open a year and a lot of people don’t know about us yet. And people are so happy that they’ve found their venue. There is no better feeling than seeing that you’ve made a couple happy. And feeling good there and like it’s your place. I would say just seeing couples happy and making their vision come to life for them. That is so important to me.
What is the toughest part of the job? And can you give me an example of a time something didn’t go as planned but turned out amazingly?
The toughest part would be when things are out of our control and we aren’t able to facilitate what is being planned. getting married on the water is one of our biggest features. And sometimes, Mother Nature can interfere. When that happens, we have many options for a Plan B. We are able to move the ceremony into the greenhouse or the production space. For example, last August the day of the wedding, it rained all day. So, at the last minute we moved everything. The Greenhouse was so hot and humid and we couldn’t use that because our greenhouse is a true greenhouse. So, we were able to quickly make the production space beautiful and they were much happier with that setup.
The hardest part is we sometimes have to tell clients something won’t work out, but providing a great backup for couples is something we want to be able to comfort our couples with. Our venue is customizable depending on the look they are going for. They didn’t even think about the production space and they ended up loving it because it was comfy different and unique. It was almost like it was supposed to be that way.
Be present at your wedding, I will document it all.
How would you describe the couples you work with and what problems do you find Jolene Family Winery solving for them?
We get such a wide range of couples and what they are looking for. It’s hard to place them in a category. I would say that most of our clients are looking for a great indoor/outdoor experience. They are looking for those beautiful sights and views.
I think our venue really speaks to that. All of our indoor spaces have panoramic views. Even in the greenhouse you have full view of the lake. The side closest to the lake fully opens up to expose the view. They want to be in side greenhouse with outdoor views – same with barrel room – all along the side where the lake is. Even if you’re inside, you are still right on the water. It’s like you’re inside but with an outdoor feel. We are really lucky and blessed to be where we are and still utilize those views for people who have to get married inside.
What is your favorite type of wine?
That is a hard question! Only because I really love our wines. We have such a good range of wines. But, if I had to pick one, I would probably choose our house red. That is our flagship – it’s a blend of merlot and Cab Sav, smooth and mature and perfect for sipping in the fall and winter. It’s great for dinner and events. It’s good across the board. The taste is amazing but it’s our preference. And it has a special meaning behind the label as well with our childhood home on the label. That house I painted as a Christmas gift for my husband one year.
What is the number one takeaway you’d give to future potential clients in deciding the best place to host their wedding or reception?
It means a lot to us as a family and we thrive off of making people feel at home while they are here and while working with us. I try to treat out clients like they’re our family. We want them to be able to have their dream wedding. I would say we really want our clients to feel like they are a part of Jolene Family Winery and its legacy.
What is the best way for couples to reach out to you and inquire about booking or touring Jolene Family Winery?
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