You just got Carded

By entering our website, you are confirming that you are of legal drinking age.

Enter Site

The Time That I Got Fired

JF_FiredThe Time I Got Fired

It was Mother’s Day weekend in 1999 and Leah was graduating from Campbell University.
We had been dating for over a year.

Leah told me that she was not going to move to Rose Hill, NC without a reason. I knew just what she meant, so I asked her to marry me. Over the years, I gave Leah many reasons to wish she had made a different decision. Our first Christmas together as a couple one of those occasions.

Christmas Eve was a special time for our family. It was the one-day during the year that we knew we would all be together. We would have Christmas Eve dinner at my Aunt Jo’s house and then go to my parents to get our presents from Santa Claus. In the mid-90s our “Santa” presents changed to family gifts that my parents wanted to pass along. My father would always give us a note that he had written detailing his love and pride in us. My letter this year was different. It was written on a small sheet of paper with only three words. The winery was a lot smaller in 1999. We had six employees counting my brother and me. I was training to be the retail manager and planning to take over my parents’ responsibilities. In December, my mother and father decided to see what I was made of.

I had worked in the winery my whole life. I knew that our business picked up over the Easter holiday when the tourists are starting to travel. We would be very busy during the summer with people visiting our NC beaches and our fall was always crazy with grape season. We would transition to the Christmas season, where we worked six or seven days a week.

This Christmas season, my parents decided to leave for a long and very well deserved vacation. My father wanted to visit some distributors and take my mother to see a Christmas show in Nashville, TN. They would return on Christmas Eve, and I was to manage the retail and shipping department in their absence. My father wanted to see if I was prepared to take over and how I would operate without him. I knew I was being tested, and I worked hard to make sure every customer was satisfied. We had the best Christmas season ever at the winery, and I could not wait to see my father on Christmas Eve to brag about our accomplishments.

On December 16th, traffic at the winery was slow, and I decided I deserved a vacation too. Leah was leaving town to go work in Atlantic Beach, NC and I was going to be home alone. A coworker, Jonathan Murphy, invited me on a trip to Atlantic City. I told Leah that I wanted to go as I had never been to Atlantic City and wanted to see what a casino looked like. Leah begged me to stay home. She told me that my father was testing me and that there was plenty of time after Christmas to take a vacation. I wish I would have listened to her, but I didn’t.

On Christmas Eve, my father called me to ask if I would come over to the house a little early. He wanted to discuss work before dinner with our family. I couldn’t wait to see him. I wanted to tell him all the things we had accomplished while they were gone. As soon as I walked in the door, I started telling my parents everything. I discussed the challenges that we faced and how our team succeeded. I was very proud, and I wanted to make them proud, as well. My father asked Leah and me to sit on the couch. He wanted to give us a present before my brothers and sisters -in-law arrived. Dad gave me the note. I opened it up, and it was a small sheet of paper that read, “YOU ARE FIRED.” At first, I thought it was a joke. After all, I had just told him everything we had accomplished. Leah looked at me and asked me what the note said. I looked at my father in disbelief. My father then told me how disappointed he was in me. I will not go into all of the details, but it was not the Christmas gift I would have imagined that year. I stayed fired for a really long time. I really thought Leah was going to leave me as she was disappointed, too. My mother finally came to the rescue about four months later. I do not know what she said to my father, but it worked!

-Jonathan Fussell

Under The Grape Vines

JonathanFussellAround The Grape Vines

Ever feel like you have a great idea?

I am sure all of you have been in a planning meeting at work, church, chamber, etc. where someone comes up with a great idea.

You leave that meeting and that idea goes nowhere. Eight years ago, one of our staff members came up with a great idea for Dave and me. They recommended us writing a blog.

If you know my brother and me well, you would think this would be something very easy for us to do. Dave and I love talking to people. This is one of the best things about working at Duplin. You get to meet people from all over the world and learn something new. There is nothing better than sitting under our porch in North Myrtle Beach or Rose Hill enjoying a glass of wine with a new friend. The problem I have had with creating a blog is that I hate writing. It is just not natural for me. However, this was a great idea and I need to make sure that we move forward. I hope you all enjoy the first of many secrets that come from Under the Grape Vines at Duplin.

My father was very smart to place me in a different division than Dave when I came to work for the winery after college. He knew that two brothers did not need to work under the same roof. My father and uncle tried this in the 1970s. It did not work out and this is the reason that my uncle left the winery. Dave was put in charge of the production facility, vineyards and distributors/wholesalers. If you think of a human body, Dave is in charge of all the organs that keep the business alive. I was to learn from my father how to run everything a customer sees when visiting the winery in person, online, at an event, etc. My father was very good at his job, but his strong suit was public relations. The media seemed to gravitate toward his personality. I wish I had paid more attention during this training process, because this is my weakness. Dave and I are both very lucky to have a great team of individuals that actually run Duplin Winery. Our job now is trying to figure out how to grow the company. My job for the past three years has been making sure our new winery in North Myrtle Beach is run correctly. I have noticed that I have become very good at picking up trash. So much so, people think I am the janitor and turn me down when I ask if I could do their wine tasting.

I will continue to expand on the breakdown of the winery and really explain, over the next several blogs, why Dave and I have been fired so many times. While you are waiting, please come see me at Duplin. I would love to share a glass of wine with you and get to know a little more about you. No matter if this visit is in Rose Hill or North Myrtle Beach, please remember that Life is Sweeter with Duplin.

Jonathan Fussell

Life Is Sweeter With Duplin