A Letter to Our Family and Friends: Change is in the Air


Dear Friends and Family,

This is a bittersweet letter to write, but life is all about change, and after my childhood as an “Army Brat” I have learned not to be afraid of change.

After a lot of thought and consideration, Simon and I have decided to pursue purchasing a larger property here in the Central Coast area.  Last week we made an offer on a property that we have had our eye on for over a year.  We found out yesterday that our offer was accepted, which is very exciting news.

The bittersweet part is that we will need to sell our Ohana Vineyard property in order to purchase the larger parcel.  Simon and I purchased Ohana as ten acres of bare ground in 1999 with the help of my Mom and Dad, Karen and Bob Shirey (the down payment was our wedding gift from my parents).  We planted our 7.5 acre vineyard by hand ourselves (Simon, me and my mom and dad) with help from other family and friends including the deer fence, irrigation, every stake, end post, wire and plant.  It was a labor of love, and a big accomplishment for two young kids just out of college.


We built our custom home there in 2005 using Dave Ormonde as General Contractor.  Our neighbor, Jim Donahue, and my dad built our masonry wood burning pizza oven in 2010 (It is not a kit!).

Also in 2005, we were proud to be able to produce all of our wines solely with estate grown fruit.  It was an amazing feeling to be responsible for our product from dirt to bottle.  The Ohana Vineyard has provided us with enough Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo wine grapes to produce about 1500 cases of wine a year since vintage 2005.  The vineyard has given me the opportunity to grow my business over the last 10 years, and it is comforting for me to think that perhaps someone else will prosper from it as well once we have moved on.


Through the years, adding all natural grass fed beef, pastured poultry, organic eggs, and now heritage breed pigs to my farming practices have proven to be too big for Ohana and we find that we need more space.

While I am sad to move on from Ohana, I feel that the time is right for us to embark on a new adventure.  Although there are some mornings when it doesn’t particularly feel like it, I think that we are young enough and strong enough to build another life from the ground up on a new piece of bare dirt.  While Simon and the girls and I will remain in our home here at Camatta Hills, the “headquarters” for my farming operation, Mighty Nimble, LLC, will move from the Ohana Vineyard to the new property which we plan to call Cloudbreak.

We feel strongly rooted in this community, and one of the things that is most inspiring about this place we call home is the camaraderie that we feel among our colleagues and friends in this area.  Which is where you come in…

I’d like to ask for your help in finding a suitable new family for Ohana.  A family who will appreciate the remoteness of it’s location, the quiet star-filled nights, the elbow grease that went into its establishment, the soul of the fruit that it produces.  Please pass this letter on to anyone that you think might be interested in a small custom home with a big heart, and a vineyard that gives generously every year without fail.  For any referrals that result in a sale, we offer a $1000 finders fee.

If you would like to visit the vineyard and house to see what it is all about, please feel free to contact me by email at Hilary@graveswinegrowers.com, or by telephone at (805)674-1686.  Barry Humphrey is our realtor and he can be reached at barryh@c21home.com or by telephone at (805)234-4442.  I also have wines to share that will show the possibilities for wine production from the property.

Thank You!



8 responses

  1. Exciting news!

    Hope all else is good! Are the girls still swimming? Baseball has taken over so now I’m not sure when we’ll be back. Looking into trying the new team at Paso Kennedy too and Karenna is doing “running club” at school before the Track season starts. I miss seeing you a few times a week! Bree Heil

  2. Reblogged this on latebloomershow and commented:
    Looking for a new experience? Owning a small vineyard with a custom home to live in? Please share. There is the perfect person/family out there looking for an opportunity like this, and if you help them connect with Hilary, there is a $1000 finder’s fee! – Kaye

  3. Wow…how VERY exciting! It’s tough to leave those places we’ve built ourselves, but it’s an exciting new chapter. We’ll help spread the word and hope for the best on your sale, move and new life.

    Best, Jennifer

    The Blog (jenpb.blogspot.com) – Road trips, homeschooling info and random rants The Books (BestFamilyAdventures.com) – Best Family Adventures – San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Counties

  4. It’s very impressive that you started your own business at such a young age. You will look back on these years fondly. They will pass quickly.

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