The Story of Soldier Creek Winery [part 1]

The Story of Soldier Creek Winery [part 1]

In our neck of the woods, nearly everyone knows our story. I think. Small-town Iowa will lead you to this conclusion. But, for those who don’t know, for those who are just joining us, for those who have been a part of the story– here it is.

This is our story, Part 1.

dreamers, the lot of them.


Now, I’m going to tell this story from my perspective. I’m, technically, an outsider– married in. But, I’ve heard the story enough to know the details…and the bits that they think aren’t part of the story. But, they are. They really are.

Let’s start here, a few years ago, to a guy named Bill Secor (my father-in-law). After attending Iowa State University to receive his degree in Ag Business, Bill was back on the farm turning his family house into a home he would call his own someday soon. In his free time he was taking the short drive (one bag of peanut M&M’s, to be exact) to UNI to pursue a lovely lady, Tammi Gord (my mother-in-law). Little did he know, the pursuit had begun years earlier. In high school. In symphony. In the car with her mother as they drove slowly past the farm so Tammi could check out Bill (!!!)….Isn’t this just always the way, ladies? Tammi’s high school crush morphed into a full-fledged relationship, and eventually a marriage in 1981.

Back to Bill. He’s a dreamer. (I mean I’ll tell you more about how they are all dreamers…but I’m getting ahead of myself). He comes back to the farm with his college degree and some radical ideas on how the farm should be run (not unlike another family member I know!). At that time, the farm was strictly corn, soybeans, and a sizeable hog operation. In the past, it had been a completely self-sustaining farm: egg-laying hens, chickens, beef cows, dairy cows, hogs…. the whole thing. To speed up for just a second, in recent years the farm did throw back some respect to the old ways in the form of egg-laying hens.

So, Bill and his dreams. He dreams of changing the tillage of the farm. His dad reserves his judgement a little but allows Bill to try the practice on his own land. After a few years, the changes take effect on all the farmland. In the years to come, Bill and his dad, Bill Sr., will continue to find ways to change and improve their farming to be more efficient and better for the land. In the farm crisis of the 80’s, many farmers found themselves in a very rough place. And many of you may know family that changed their operation completely during the 80’s. The buzz word was diversify. Expand. Start growing value-added crops, experiment, try new things. Well, as you can guess, Bill and his father were not strangers to trying new things… so, try, they did.

Not your normal farm family

Bridge 1994

I remember the day I met my husband, Rob. To me, he seemed like exactly the man I was searching for. He was nothing like the typical Iowa man. He wasn’t a “farm boy”. He seemed perfectly city to me and that was fine by me, thank you very much. I was so done with these Iowa Farm Boys. He was a musician– a violinist, a guitarist, an-any-stringed-instrument-ist. That part was actually a bit intimidating. But, boy, was I ever wrong about him. He is a farm boy. He was going back to the farm.

This farm family. The Secor’s. Gosh, I am just always so happy at how….well, amazing they are. I mean, talk about talent. I can say all this because I married in, okay? So give me my moment of adoration.

You’ve never met a family less like the stereotypical farm family. Every single one of them plays an instrument. (insert that emoji with the wide eyes making eye-contact with you like “WHOA.”) In fact, for a while, they were quite the wedding quintet. They’re all a bit busy just now, so that’s not something they particularly do all the time anymore. Oh, what instruments, you ask? Bill plays cello, Tammi plays violin, Robert plays violin (guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, any damn thing with strings….ugh!), Anne plays piano (organ, harpsichord, anything with keys), and Amanda plays violin (piano, organ, harpsichord, accordion….again anything with keys). Oh, yeah, and they all sing rather well also. Like, at the dinner table…if someone just gets a tune stuck and starts singing out loud they all harmonize. It’s disgusting lovely…. 🙂

Okay, I’m not telling you all of this to make you think I love them or something (so what if I do?!), but to show you just how different they are. Because, it’s not just any farm family that is: a string quintet, a bunch of farmers, a gaggle of gardeners, a couple of viticulturists, and an enologist. They are just so diversified. They are all willing to try something new. They don’t give up easily, they persevere… they succeed.

A stopping point

So, how does this bunch of dreamers (okay, it may be just couple guys in particular) get into the wine business? How do they go from having a hog operation one day to having 6 acres of potential wine deliciousness?

Well. You’re going to have to check back next week to find out. The continuation and completion of this bedtime story will be published next Thursday, so set a reminder! Check back! Because, darling, this is the part of the story where you join in and it becomes your story too!

Part Two

with midbest love