With stunning views of Lake Champlain and 11 acres of grapes, there's no shortage of beauty and bounty at East Shore Vineyard in Grand Isle. There is also something missing from this off the beaten path location-- and that, my friends, would be patrons.
"We initially thought about having a part-time tasting place here because we needed a place for someone to go. We needed brick and mortar," said Bob Livingstone of East Shore Vineyard.
It now has that building 25 miles away in the heart of the Queen City on the Church Street Marketplace.
"Traffic, traffic more than anything and exposure to people," said Linda Livingstone of East Shore Vineyard.
With no sign or tasting room, East Shore Vineyard has been selling at farmers markets and events for five years. Now, once again, they are going to the customers.
The winery sells almost 60 percent of its products in June and July to tourists.
"So far, so good. We love it," said Dorise LeCates, a patron from Tennessee.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Real estate on Church Street is not cheap.
Bob Livingstone: No.
Gina Bullard: So, this is a risky investment?
Bob Livingstone: As exciting as it is, it's also knee-weakening.
And believe it or not, this all started with beer.
"I started out as a home brewer," Bob explained.
"I didn't really care for beer that much," Linda said.
"So, I tried making wine. So, we bought a kit and it was really bad," Bob said.
The now-retired couple works seven days a week producing 34,000 bottles of wine this year-- that's up 5,000 from last year.
"It's been a 12-year learning curve and we drink our mistakes," Bob said.
A changing business that's branching out to get the Green Mountains on the wine trail map.
Gina Bullard: Do you think people pooh-pooh wine from Vermont?
Bob Livingstone: To some degree, but that's been changing.
The Livingstones say it's all a matter of getting them to taste this Made in Vermont vino.
PO Box 4508