2022 – Year in Review
It’s been an action-packed and exciting year at Hermit Woods. We experienced more significant changes in a single year than ever before, some by choice and some that needed to happen.
The most important part of 2022, as is always the case, is that we got another year to share our wine, food, and music with you! Thank you for your continued support. Without you, non of the following achievements would be possible.
One of the biggest and possibly the most exciting things this year has more to do with the coming years than today. We engaged the architect firm, Misiaszek Turpin Architects, to imagine the future of 62 Main St (the little red building next door) with us. We are still being quiet about our plans, but those of you who know us the best are likely making some good guesses.
Another achievement associated with 62 Main Street, we received permission from the town of Meredith to run the garden for three more years. Not a small feat, given the hurdles we had to get through. Thank you to all who helped us with this effort. This will give us the time to see our more extensive plans through.
Expanding our kitchen and food services is possibly the next most exciting thing this year. We started the year by nearly doubling the size of our kitchen to accommodate the many changes we had planned for 2022. The most important being the changing of our name from Deli to Eatery. We were never entirely comfortable being a Deli; Eatery does a much better job telling our story.
To add to the rebuilding of our kitchen, we added a patio and 24 seats to our outdoor eating space. After a year of asking our guests to balance on our sloping front lawn, we finally built a proper patio.
Chef Travis continues to expand and explore new menu options with a focus on an even more seasonally focused farm-to-table cuisine. Having recently promoted our very talented Stephanie to Sous Chef and filled out his kitchen team with Jack and Ruby, there are no bounds to where our kitchen will take us in 2023. Additionally, we now offer full table service and the capacity to serve over 100 guests.
We also took the opportunity to adjust our team’s pay rates. We have increased our base pay from $15 an hour to $17. In addition, through our innovative “House Fee,” even our servers can earn a living wage, starting at $17 an hour, without relying solely on tips to make a living.
Ken has been busy in the Cellar. For the first time, he released Rosehip Mead, Blackberry Mead, Meredith Bay White, and Cirque de Strawberry and revamped his recipe for our Winni White. He also found time to collaborate with Stoneface Brewing which will result in releasing two new wines in the coming year. Ken also made us proud at the Eastern Winery Exposition as a guest speaker in four presentations about fruit wine. In addition, he shared the stage with some of the industries leading fruit and cider wine producers.
Sadly, Noah, our winemaking assistant, left us this fall, but we were fortunate to find Ben to replace him. Ben comes to us with many years of brewing beer as the head brewer at the Black Abby Brewing Company. Ben has already proven himself to be a tremendous asset.
2022 has also allowed us to put The Loft to full use with the addition of comedy nights, educational classes, piano nights, and, most importantly, our Listening Room Series on Thursday nights. Whenever we are not using our loft, we are happy to make it available for private events, of which we held many this past year.
Our Listening Room Experience has enabled us to bring some of New England’s and beyond’s most talented musical artists to our stage. Wangari Farhari opened the year for us and almost closed it with her fantastic performance on December 22nd. Benny Sharoni closed the year with his outstanding saxophone playing on the 29th. We brought the nationally recognized Ballroom Thieves to the stage, along with dozens of other genuinely talented musicians performing jazz, folk, R&B, and other musical genres to the stage. With 30 shows this year, not one disappointed.
On a less exciting note, but every bit as necessary, we rebuilt and repaved our back parking lot and replaced our aging furnace. Going on ten years in Meredith, the upkeep and maintenance of our building remain a priority so we can keep bringing you the highest level of service and experience.
We are also very excited to begin the reimagining of our brand. We had not revisited our brand since the beginning, 12 years ago, when our winery was just a winery located in my home in Sanbornton. So much has changed since those early days. We are pleased to be working with Deb Lucke and Paul Hartzell to help us refresh our brand and better represent Hermit Woods as you know it today. We look forward to reveling in early 2023.
Some fun and important things also took place outside the winery this year. As many of you know, Ken got his start in fermentation as a home brewer. Since starting the winery, Ken’s home brewing has had to take a back seat. Well, this year, we changed that. We helped Ken purchase some new and modernized home brewing equipment. As a result, Ken has found the time to get back into his old hobby and put out some home brew this year, including his famous maple sap beer.
Adding to our adventures at the winery this year, Ken, Chuck, and I went on a couple of exciting adventures. We rode our motorcycles at a racetrack in Palmer, Mass., one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures I have experienced. We also sailed Chuck’s sailboat, Dolgo, around Narragansett Bay for five days. The opportunity for the three of us to get quality time together outside the winery has always been important. This is the most effective way for us to imagine and plan for the future of our winery together and ensure that we continue to offer you the highest quality wine and experience. We thank our dedicated and talented team for continuing that experience for you in our absence.
We also continue to find time during the week to get out on the slopes in the winter. We look forward to a snowy 2023.
Thank you, again, for taking this ride with us. As I said earlier, what makes this adventure best, is that we get to go on it with you.
Happy New Year!