Working as a couple in the same business takes a degree of understanding, respect and diplomacy that not every relationship could endure. So it's refreshing to read about the love and dedication shared by BookCliff Vineyards Owners Ulla Merz and John Garlich, in a recent write up in the University of Colorado's student newspaper.
Under the headline, "Labor of Love: Boulder Couples in Business Together - Couples Say Key Is Not To 'Step on Each Other's Toes,' Boulder Colorado Daily Reporter Laurie Phillips writes:
"Ulla Merz and John Garlich, BookCliff Vineyards"
'We have split it right'
"Planting vineyards and starting a winery wasn't the first major undertaking Ulla Merz and John Garlich, of Boulder, entered into. In 1992, the couple began building a house together."
"The duration of that project -- about six months -- gave each a sense of what doing business together would be like. Merz left the construction end to Garlich, while she handled the approvals needed and the décor."
"Although both are engineers by training, Garlich acknowledges he is more process-oriented, while Merz says she focuses more on the goal."
"Merz met Garlich in 1977 shortly after leaving Germany and starting her education at the University of Colorado."
"We have complementary skill sets, and that's definitely helpful," Garlich said."
"As they built their house -- as with their business -- he has learned that "for Ulla, it's hard to make decisions quickly; she needs a little time to think." But Garlich also has learned to be patient and build in the time she needs, he said, and he appreciates "the planning aspect of what she brings to our business." Establishing an advisory board, for example, was her idea."
"Having worked as a structural engineer for 22 years and studied winemaking at the University of California-Davis, Garlich began making wine at home in their basement in 1981."
"The couple bought 10 acres of peaches in 1995 in the Vinelands, a region east of Palisade. They shared a passion for wine -- and had planted vines in their backyard in Boulder -- and learned as they worked the land and connected with others in the wine industry."
"Now, having added another 23½ acres, BookCliff Vineyards is up to about 2,700 cases of 11 different varietals and continues to sell excess grapes to others."
"As their business grows, the couple has decided to consolidate their effort by moving their tasting room from Pearl Street to the winery on Lee Hill Road. They hope to have it open by Valentine's Day, with a grand opening planned for March."
"The most important part was to find out that we need to stay out of each other's hair in areas that were not our strength, so the other person could take the lead," Merz said. "We have split it right."
You can read the rest of the article in the Colorado Daily here.