Whistler's Knoll Vineyard, Tom and Holly Boettcher
The Boettcher's share their story: Our original Business Plan was to become a Vineyard and a Winery. As we began our barn renovation, people started calling us and asking: “Do you do weddings?” We thought, why not? This will help to pay our bills until we have our estate wines to sell. We ended up booking every weekend except one from May through October during our first year without even advertising.
Our 2000 grapevines were maturing, and now we were ready to apply for our Winery Permit, so Whistler could begin making estate wines. We had all of our equipment purchased, and the winery was ready to go. In the State of WI, once you apply for a Winery Permit, you must give up your liquor license, AND wineries must close at 9:00 pm. We quickly realized that IF we began making estate wines, all of our business would go away! Who would book a wedding if their guests couldn’t even have an Old Fashion, and everyone would have to leave at 9:00 pm? Because of that, we decided to sell our grapes each fall to other wineries, and continue operating as an event venue.
Whistler's Knoll Vineyard hosts corporate business functions, weddings, and wine and cheese events along with other private events like holiday and birthday parties and showers...to name a few!
The Boetchers were nearing retirement and looking for a project to help them stay busy. Tom had a background in winemaking and vineyards and Holly had experience in marketing and sales - but they were unsure of the steps to take to start a business. Their SCORE mentor answered their questions and set them on the path toward the successful business they have today.