Living the Vineyard Life with Jan Schaefer

Living the Vineyard Life with Jan Schaefer

Early Days

We moved to the vineyard, full time, about July 1, 2007. Our furniture arrived and was stored in our almost-finished garage. (That’s another story involving skunks!) Rod and I lived in the front portion of the winery building — a 550 sq. ft. studio with a full kitchen & bathroom (thank goodness) and a pull-down bed. Our laundry room (our washer and dryer) was in the Crush Room right behind our “apartment” hooked up to the plumbing for our hand-washing sink and three-compartment sanitary sink. Needless to say, our washer & dryer were sometimes splashed with red blobs as Rod and I learned how to make wine and handle all the equipment.

We didn’t have any grass on the property during those early days — just dirt & very little sidewalk. We did have a small hotel-size air conditioner which didn’t work very well and, thank goodness, a rolling evaporative cooler that saved us during the summer bringing in delightfully cool air at night. One of the benefits of sleeping in our winery beside huge open windows was you could lie down at night, watch the stars, and actually sense the earth revolving. One of the minuses of the bed located next to the huge open windows were the almost-nightly summertime skunk visits! I always prayed no larger animal
would come to visit!

I probably can think of many “early days” funny stories, but I remember one lunchtime in particular.  During the 2006 harvest, we had been pressing Syrah grapes on the Crush pad & in the Crush Room all morning (and our press was an “early” press so not very efficient.) Rod and i were hot, sticky, and covered with grape juice. It was noon and I went in to the fix some lunch. A truck drove up, so I went outside to greet the man getting out of the truck. I said, “Good Afternoon,” and
he said, “Hi, I’m Doug from the Health Department”! What a day for the Health Department
to visit … but WE PASSED… and the rest is history!

More later … Jan S


  • by Dale Leach Posted June 9, 2020 6:15 pm

    Cheers to the best winemakers in Arizona. So glad that Machrina and i are bo customers and friends🥂

  • by Adam Macari Posted June 9, 2020 6:15 pm

    It’s pretty miraculOus how far you and rod have come In the last 13 years. You both Epitomize Perseverance and passion. GreaT Blog Jan!

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