This week I am joined by Nicki Caylor, owner of Running Vines Winery in Chesterton (and its sister location Aftermath Cidery & Winery in Valparaiso). For those who haven’t visited the winery, you will notice as you peruse the menu that some of the bottles of wine, which they produce and manufacture themselves, have a running theme. Their sweet wines are called Sprint, Half Marathon, Marathon, and Triathlon, which all mark a personal milestone in owner Nicki’s life.
So, what led Nicki to opening a winery in Chesterton, Indiana? Just like grape vine, her journey meandered and required nurturing. Nicki began her professional career in the army and loved her work. But after a heart attack at age 29, her future plans quickly came to a halt. With the help of her family, she pursued a new path in fitness, eventually becoming a personal trainer and then a sports performance coach. But she found herself wanting to open her own gym and to give back to her community. It was at this point her cousin proposed opening a winery. And the rest, as they say, is history.
April 30th will mark Running Vines’ 8th Anniversary. When they first opened, Nicki had 5 employees. She now employees 60 people. It is hugely successful, which is in part to Nicki’s belief that a balanced life is important. She is proud that she is able to offer a life for her employees which includes competitive pay and the opportunities to grow.