The two least important people in this operation are the owners, Jack Lord and Kathryn Danko-Lord. Just a few words about them, and then on to the important people (our volunteers and wine angels, see below).
Kathryn is the boss of everything and even when she isn't, Jack lets her think this. She is the winemaker and is responsible for the tasting room. Originally schooled in Poultry Science (I am not making this up), Kathryn graduated from The Ohio State University and headed to Chicken Country in MD. A few years later she got a Masters Degree, which really wasn't all that exciting, except now she can do her own winery budget and she can count every penny she is losing on this new venture.
She's taken a few wine classes from University of California, Davis and with the help of her adopted brother, Carl DiManno(she adopted him but he shrugs if you mention it, so don't), she makes CV's wines.
Jack is the dirt guy. He loves the vineyard and so that is his domain. We think it is from dealing with various dirtballs over the years when he was a Maryland State Trooper. He retired in 1992 and has been digging holes in our 10 acre property ever since. First his holes were for strawberries, then tomatoes and all types of produce....and 4 years ago he started planting grape vines. Now we've got about 4000 of them.
Our varietals in the vineyard include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chambourcin, Pinot Grigio and Cayuga. It takes 4 years to get a baby bunch of grapes and good weather to harvest each year. Most of our wines have our own grapes in them.
We mean this from the bottom of our heart: our volunteers, family and friends are at the very center of all things Costa Ventosa. From the Grape Whispering (talking to the vines as they are being pruned) to Hand Bottling and everything in between, our volunteers have laughed with us, sweat with us, and have given us much more than we will ever give them.
Sniff sniff, I need to cut this out...
Below are beloved volunteers, and supporters of Costa Ventosa. Since we don't pay them we gave each of them a fancy schmancy title:
Tasting Room Operations:
Susan Hutchinson (friend): Tasting Room Manager Extradionaire
Tia Danko-Dess (sister): VP of Tasting Room Operations
"Hutch" Hutchinson: Assistant VP of Marketing (see below)
Dj Thompson: VP of Marketing (Hutch used to be VP but his ideas of late are pretty lame so he's been demoted)
Debi Rus (friend): VP of Fun and Fizzy Graphics
Nicole House-Blanc (Legion buddy & friend): VP of Creative Bull Shit
Jake Dess (nephew, 14 years old but he decided on his title when he was 10): VP of Skating Around with Cheese Plates
John Lord (son): VP of Assistant Winemaking & Computer Stuff GOD!
Laura Widgeon (beloved friend who is now in heaven): Vice President of Wine Enhancement & Expert Grape Whisperer
Mitch Dess (nephew, 12 years old but he decided on his title when he was 8): VP of Serving People Food
Dennis Lord (son): VP of Grass Cutting Operations
Karen Cremeans (sister): VP of Grape Whispering
There are folks who have helped us along the way--we call them Wine Angels. We are absolutely indebted to them and we want to say thanks and let them know how blessed we are to know them:
Carl DiManno: Owner of 868 Estate Winery, consultant, adopted brother, award winning winemaker and all around terrific human being. HIRE HIM if you are starting a winery or vineyard. The guy is brillant, his wife Erin is charming and his kids Arden and Cole are precious.
Tom Shelton: Tom owns Bordelieu Winery, near Salisbury. He's spent countless hours with us teaching us the wine business.
Jen and William Layton: The owners of Layton's Chance Winery, near Vienna, always answer our questions with patience and practical advice. They are also a ball to drink (and drink and drink) wine with.
Mom and Dad Danko: The world's best parents and pretty good grape pickers and processors.
Connie, Clayton, Carol, Stephanie, Kitty, Ken, The Girls, Mary, JT, Helen, Chris, Christy...and so many more friends and supporters of Costa. It truly takes a village to support our botique winery and we love you all.