The Legend Begins
I was there at this grand opening ceremony and was completely impressed. As the mother of the general contractor, I was also very proud. I’d visited Walker’s Bluff just after my son built the beautiful gazebo for Cynde. At that time, she was so kind as to give me a tour of the Keeper’s Cottage that was just being finished. I continue to be amazed as each step of the Legend comes to fruition. Eagerly, I follow the progress and watch the website for information of events and activities.
Building the General Store
Speech by Cynde Bunch at the Grand Opening of the General Store on April 22, 2011
The Tasting Room & Wine Cave Grand Opening
Welcome and thank you all for coming to the Grand Opening of The Tasting Room and Wine Cave of Walker's Bluff. The fourth of eight venues planned for this premiere destination of the midwest.
Dave and I are so proud of this latest completion – out of this facility will flow our Walker's Bluff wine. Wine that until we began eight years ago preparing soil, bench grafting plants and undergoing back breaking toil to plant and listening to the most discouraging of viticulture officials tell us why superior wine grapes would not grow in Southern Illinois.
Well I'm happy to report the experts were wrong! You see those vineyards- Vinifera, Barbera, Temprenillo, Sangiovese, Pino Gris, Syrah and our newest variety Sagrentino. And from this facility we will process, barrel, age, bottle and sell our own estate grown Walker's Bluff wine.
That's an amazing milestone for any project, but for one this size and with so many barriers, little things – like – no city water, sewer, power, roads...no hospitality-trained staff – simple things like ironed linens, building our own laundry and training staff to produce those services.
We have endured the May 8th storm, record floods of 2010 and 2011 and all the normal obstacles presented by a state that is known as “not so business friendly” - But, we are half way there!
As one often does, these past few months, I have reflected on our vision – and many times asked is this the right vision? One day in late September I was reading reviews in Trip Advisor. I read a review from a gentleman in San Diego, CA – he was visiting the area and came to Walker's Bluff and had dinner at Legends – Besides the normal dining critique, he added several observations and questions about me and Dave. He asked why would we spend tens of millions of dollars in an isolated area in Southern Illinois where there is so little hope to ever return our investment.
After many days of truly seeking this answer in ourselves I have to say I don't know the why...but, I know the who!
The who are the hundreds of construction workers who have labored the last five years to get us halfway – The who is the designers and architects who design and redraw. The power company; Egyptian Electric, who brings power across fields – get easements from farmers, water commissioners who help and devise new lines to supply our needs. The who is electricians who tirelessly “pull more wire,” the landscapers who plant, move and replant as the plan changes.
The who is the hundreds who work here tirelessly, not always knowing where are going next or how to get there – but, always willing and with a happy heart.
The who is our guests who have come and come through flood waters, mud, gravel roads, not perfect service nor always exquisite food, but they come! And most of all our who is God.
A God who I know listened to all of those praying Mothers, Grandmothers, Great Grandfathers, all those people who came before, who wanted more for our children and grand children, a God who loves us so much He has taken our hearts and heads and made us develop Walker's Bluff.
Today we give the people the newest of our venues-The Tasting Room and Wine Cave.
Everyone rest and enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter!
For those who work here and those who are watching and waiting- remember we are only half way through.