I have worked in agriculture and wine production for the past 7 years, and I’m so excited to come together with Grace and Justine, to share with you, Kalche Wine Co. What is it that draws me to the divining powers of wine? Its the allure, the mystery...there is so much unknown, so much that can only be determined by the passage of time and the inoculation of the right culture. That is what excites me about our project. We are building something with a nod to the past, low intervention winemaking production, and our hearts on the future, as we build it centered on the tenets of supporting worker rights.
We have formed Kalchē Wine Cooperative with the goal of finding a better professional formula. Our organization will be a living document that grows and pivots to reflect the needs and opinions of the many. We will enact change. We will be compassionate of work-life balance. We will prioritize comfortable wages for all over a scale of "livable" to c-level. We will lay the groundwork so that one day we may all retire with dignity. We've participated at length in discussions about heady cooperative theory and written out beautiful words and concepts in our structure, articles, bylaws, and policies. Given our past experience though, a well articulated idea does not a business make. I want to create a professional ecosystem wherein the wine industry isn't dictated by elitist figureheads who are only in it to maintain white supremacy, chauvinism, power, and profit. I want to run a business that is worker rather than owner-centered. I want to be radically transparent. Welcome to the Next World of Wine™️.
Something keeps bringing me back to the food, bev, hospitality and service industry. I love this community where coworkers become fast friends and chosen family. Support and cooperation is engrained in the work - because it simply doesn’t work if the team doesn’t work together. Simultaneously I am heartbroken and furious with this industry where misogyny, abuse, and deceit thrive - built on the backs of the caretakers of the world with no interest in reciprocity. To continue this work without serious transformative change = (more) complicity, and I’m not interested. When we (myself, Kathline and Justine), started dreaming up Kalchē we knew we would make wine and it would be a cooperative. What kind of cooperative? Wine from what, where and how? All details we’d work out. When we’d talk about our dreams and visions, they were filled with cooperative values - primarily keeping the power and profit with the people whose work drives the company, and responsibility to one another and our planet. From livable (eventually even thrive-able) compensation and benefits, to providing opportunities for a balanced and beautiful life of choice. Thinking and working this way in our infancy has already blossomed into a culture that is compassionate and caring, honest, communicative and transformative. We have only just begun and the field will no doubt be filled with boulders (I mean, this is Vermont). Still, I can’t wait to build our little alternative economy and cooperative community together - rocky soils and all. Oh, AND we’ll be making local, experimental, juicy, jazzy, and zingy wines, ciders, spritzes, sparklers and more! Coming to your table live in late 2021 or early 2022.