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12 Spies Vineyards & Farms Anniversary & Vineyard Fire Debut

We have had 12 Spies Vineyards & Farms Anniversary Party on our calendar for several weeks. As Saturday’s outdoor event grew closer, the weather forecast did not look promising and it was indeed pouring rain here in Sautee as we loaded the car to head north to Rabun Gap.

          That’s not grass on the weather map

Really, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised it was raining. Rabun county has the title of the rainiest county in the state of Georgia, with average rainfall of over 70 inches a year. Regardless of the weather, we were going to be there. When we commit, we follow through, and the event was advertised as rain or shine.

Things always seem to work out for us though.

One of many examples…
We have had a new product ready for about 2 weeks now but have been waiting on labels for it. We had hoped they’d be done in time so we could debut our third product at 12 Spies. It wasn’t looking like we were going to get them in time, but then, we got shipping notice and not only did they arrive in time, they arrived on the Monday before the event so it wasn’t a week of wondering if we’d be bring Vineyard Fire with us. It was going to happen!

Vineyard Fire is our newest and spiciest pepper spread. Using plenty of spicy jalapenos and blending them with sweet Chambourcin wine, Vineyard Fire stands up well on an appetizer plate with creamy goat cheese and roasted pistachios, almonds or walnuts.

So with Vineyard Fire, Chambourcin & Georgia Apple Cider spread on board, as well as jelly roll cakes & other goodies for tasting, we were in the car hoping for a break in the weather.

          I have made 21 jelly roll cakes since we began Unicoi Preserves

When we got to the vineyard, there was a flurry of activity with everyone working to get set up for the day

Wish you could smell the coffee roasting that Kervin Kaffee of Eastanolle had going when we got there

Tonya Kimsey of Mud Fairy Pottery was doing pottery demo and made it look easy (I know its not!)

Lisa and Mike were very considerate and thoughtful of all the vendors who came up for their celebration and instead of having everyone set up EZ-Ups in the field, we were all inside and Unicoi Preserves was blessed to score the best possible location for jelly sampling — in the winery tank room right in front of the lab sink! It was absolutely perfect for us with access to hot running water, soap and towels! Serving jelly roll cake, cream cheese, crackers and jelly can get a little sticky at times.


                          Clark Neal, Jr. – Purveyor of Preserves

We met some really nice and interesting people, to include a man retired from the FBI, and some people from as far away as Houston, TX and California. In addition to new friends, we were so happy to see some of Clark’s family that live in Tiger. Technically, Clark said they aren’t family, but we all talked about and agreed,  when you marry into the Neal family, you are part of the Neal family.

Towards the end of the day, our friends Chris & Sarah came by to do a tasting and see the vineyard. Awesome friends, not only did Sarah & her girl Lucy visit & give our greyhounds a turnout before coming, they helped us load out quickly so we could get home and get ready for Sylvan Valley Lodge’s dinner with Habersham Winery.

                   Colbie, Fox, Bonnie & Lucy the honorary greyhound

             Bonnie says “Please pet me!”

Things always work out, you just have to Believe