My relationship with the Wilson family dates back to 2009. I had just launched my website, WINEormous, and saw Bill Wilson on Mornings on 2 on the Los Angeles Fox affiliate. It was harvest time, and Bill was talking about the grapes that had already been harvested and shared his thoughts on how he envisioned the quality of the 2009 wines.
At the time, Wilson Creek Winery was well established and was among the most popular destinations among Temecula Valley wine country visitors. Less than 10 years old then, the winery was already experiencing growing pains. I sent an email to Bill, telling him I wanted to get together with him to do a feature story for my website. He replied almost instantly, and we spent more than an hour together. He graciously filled me in on how the winery came to be.
I wrote about our visit, feeling certain I had learned everything I could possibly need to know about Wilson Creek. I could not have been more mistaken. Fast-forward six years. Bill invited me to join the family and staff at a post harvest taco party on a hillside above the winery. Over tacos and beer, I had the good fortune to spend quality time with Rosie Wilson, Bill’s mom. Over the course of our visit, Rosie told me about a series of interviews that had been done with members of the Wilson family as well as their spouses. The hope was to turn those interviews into a book.
My mind instantly started to spin. What a remarkable story it was, and what an amazing book it could be. I told her I’d love to take a look at it and perhaps write a chapter and see if we could possibly work together on bringing the dream to reality. Nothing more came of that conversation. I mentioned it to Bill on a few occasions, and he seemed interested, but had too many other things on his plate.
In January of 2017, I was asked to meet with Gerry and Rosie to write their love story for the February (Valentines) issue of The Valley Business Journal. It was a lovely visit. Among other things I learned they had been married 63 years, and that Rosie knew within five minutes that she was going to marry Gerry. Afterwards I brought up the interviews and reminded her about the time we met at the harvest party. Two weeks later, I held a six-inch thick binder of interviews in my hands.
Gerry and Rosie encouraged me to get to know their son, Mick. We got together for lunch, and when I brought up the interviews, he lit up. He said, “Maybe we can work on this together.” It’s a compelling story, and Mick will share it with you. It’s been my honor and privilege to get to know this remarkable family. I’m delighted to help Mick tell this incredible story.