Most of you know us already unless someone sent you a link. We are Brendan & Tarnna Simpers and we are Willow Wine Cellars. And we finally have the opportunity to buy our property.
10 years ago we began making rosé from a tiny little vineyard up in the West Hills of Hood River. A lot has happened between then and now, and most of you have been along for it.
That same year, 2013, we got married and got pregnant, Brendan continued on at Syncline and I finished my Masters and started teaching full time. It was a bit of a whirlwind and felt that way for quite a few years until we found this place.
At the time, the property was heavily wooded and had a carport, three garage doors, and this manufactured home. Our landlord, Tom Lumpkin, decided to rent to us, log the mini forest, and plant Chardonnay on the hill. He's been the best landlord there is and we've been able to grow steadily in a large part to him keeping rent capped and allowing us pretty much free reign for fixing up the carport as our winery.
And now… He's finally ready to sell! Which is good news for us, but the market value for this property is VERY high. Anyone in the Gorge knows our land prices are high and Underwood especially so.
We've been saving for a downpayment since we moved into this house and have about $35,000 saved. The challenging part with this property is that the manufactured home on it is pre-1978 which means a conventional loan is out of the picture, and that means a much bigger down payment. We're currently exploring every avenue to purchase this special piece of property, including talking to the Skamania Economic Development Council, seeking outside real estate investors, and selling lots of wine (and some surfboards and houseplants if you're interested).
We plan to put as much down as possible so that we can continue to make as much wine for you as possible without the interruption of having to move. If we have to move-we’ll make it work. But it most likely means skipping a vintage of wine, and going without a tasting room until we can jump through all the hoops of opening a new tasting space (a process that could take from 3 months to a year).
Many of you know about the Tunnel 5 Fire that put a damper on our business operations for the last two weeks. This has, of course, been a mental and financial burden that we hadn’t planned on. (All of the Underwood wineries have been in the same boat, please continue to support our friends and neighbors.)
You’ve watched us grow in this place. Some of you have held our babies, washed some glasses, and all of you have shared our wine with your friends. And we’ve worked hard to create a backyard where you felt like you were home.
We are asking you, as our wine family that helped to make us what we are today, if you can help. Every little bit helps, every wine purchase, every share, every time you’ve said “I believe in you.”
Thank you for being a part of our journey.