Edenton Vineyards


Adam closed the door and locked it. He sighed, thankful to be in his third favorite room of the house, the master bathroom. It came after the barn, where the wine fermented, and his office. But unlike his office, the bathroom was the only place he could really think and clear his mind without being disturbed, for everyone knew not to bother dad while he was in there. Occasionally, Evelyn, his wife, would knock on the door and make sure he was okay. Longer than two hours and she would start to worry. She swears that on his dying day she’ll find him in the bathroom. But that was still a long way off, hopefully.

    Adam did his business but took some time to look around after he washed his hands. The window faced north and brought in excellent sunlight. He had placed a few potted plants in there because of it. As soon as they began to over flow in their pot, he would transfer them to a bigger on and place it outside. He had a spectacular collection by now. But it couldn’t compare to his most prized vineyard. 

    He had bought the land in his late twenties after touring Italy and working in a vineyard in Tuscany for three years. Based on what he learned on that vast land, Adam turned the dirt patch into award winning bottles of wine. Of course, not without the help of his life companion, Evelyn. 

She was the one who started to enter their wines into various wine competitions that helped put Edenton Vineyards on the map. Being an artist herself, Evelyn designed the labels for each bottle. Not to mention, she was the bookkeeper and made sure the company stayed afloat. She even helped in the vineyard when extra hands were needed. Adam was grateful for everything she did. 

As for him, well, he made the wine. It was eerie how natural it came to him. His senses were amplified compared to a regular person. Just smelling a grape, he knew exactly how to pair it with other fruits to make different complex flavors. This heightened sense of smell and taste allowed him to anticipate how the wine would turn out and gave him room to fully experiment. 

But wine wasn’t all just taste and smell. It was chemistry too. Knowing the fermenting process was just as important.

The only person to fully understand that was his daughter, Avana. She inherited his sense of smell and he knew it the moment she would not eat mashed carrots as a baby (he had refused to eat them at that age as well). He let her begin picking fruits for wine at eight years old and by ten, she had a fully formed pallet. 

His ultimate dream was for her to take his place once he no longer was able to move freely around the vineyard. 

But at the moment, it was unlikely to happen, for she had gone off to “find herself” or whatever. He’ll admit she’s a free spirit and had a feeling this would happen. So before she left, he gave her a good amount of money to help her along. That was eight years ago and with no word, she was either well off and rich, traveling all over and too busy to stop by and say hi, or too proud to admit that she’s broke to come back. 

So that left him to work with his son, Clinton. Yes, Adam pitied him a bit because he tried too hard to be good at what came naturally to him and Avana. Clinton worked tirelessly to be able to understand what he and his daughter knew just by being. The amount of times he came to him to make a suggestion on what flavors to pair were plentiful and sad, for Adam had to deny each one, not fully satisfied that it was good enough. Unfortunately, he developed a habit to almost tune out his son and dismiss his idea by saying they had enough barrels to focus on already. 

But he had to give Clinton some credit because he never gave up. And last season, just before they began harvesting, he had shown Adam his plans for a merlot that seemed promising for once. He couldn’t give his old excuse, for it seemed like Clinton planned in advance and presented his idea before Adam could give the excuse to say no. 

Adam wasn’t completely sure if Clinton made this move just to prove to his father that he can make wine, or if he had some other agenda in mind. One that involved him inheriting the vineyard. But why would he want it? That’s what Adam didn’t understand. 

Either way, there is no point for him to make any decisions about the vineyard yet, especially one involving a pen and paper with the word “Will” written on it. Adam’s health was above average for a man his age, a hearty 65 years old. And it gave him plenty of time to wait another seven years to see if Avana does come back. 

Adam’s gaze turned to the wide window above the bathtub. A few of the smaller plants sat there on the sill. From the window, the small path between the store and the barn could be seen. As Adam’s eyes followed the path to the store, they fell on Evelyn running into Sam, one of their sommeliers. He looked frantic, waving his hands up and down as he talked to Evelyn. Adam was sure he saw Sam mouth, “Where is Adam?” to Evelyn, who, with her back turned to Adam, shrugged and gestured to the window of Adam’s sanctuary. 

Adam ducked so he couldn’t be seen in case they looked up. He sighed and figured his alone time was over and he should get down there and see what was going on.

Edenton Vineyards


Clinton took a deep breath and allowed the scent of the wooden barrels mixed with the fermented fruit wash over him. 

Ever since he was little and chasing his older sister, Avana, through the barrel barn, he always had to stop and take a long deep inhale of his father’s work. It was a smell he always loved and so desperately wanted to understand. And now he does.

With years of hard work, he finally was able to produce a wine his father approved of. It was not easy to impress him. But then again, Clinton was not Avana, who had a natural talent for making wine, as so their father said. So it was always hard for Clinton to get his father’s attention while he was looking at what Avana was doing.

But not this time. Besides this batch of wine, Clinton had something else up his sleeve that would get Adam’s attention. Something that Avana was nowhere near accomplishing, as far as he knew, for he hadn’t seen or heard from her in eight years. 

His engagement to Naomi happened this past weekend. He did it right there in the vineyard, surrounded by plump red grapes. Cabernet, to be exact, because they were her favorite. He and Naomi had met almost two years ago, when his mother, Evelyn, hired her to help her in the shop and conduct wine tastingS. Soon, Clinton realized that he was in love with Naomi but didn’t ask her out until less than a year ago.

Falling for Naomi made him realize that if they started their own family, then it would be more of a reason for his father to pass Edenton Vineyards to him. Clinton would make it a point to promise to keep the winery in the family by passing it on to his son or daughter when the time came. Isn’t that what his father would want? To keep the business in the family? And that’s exactly what Clinton was offering.

His sister can’t offer that, at least it wasn’t in her nature to settle down, so how could she commit to a business? So what if she had the natural talent of making wine that so impressed their father and convinced him she was the one meant to inherit everything? She made her choice eight years ago when she left didn’t she? While he stayed as a dutiful son to help run the business. And all this time he came to learn the art and science of winemaking. He was ready to take on everything, while Avana kept running away.

Clinton noticed he was breathing a little harder and his heart was beating faster as he thought about his sister. He took a deep breath to slow down.

There is no need to worry, for who knows when she’ll be back, or even if she’ll ever be back. Either way, he was prepared to do anything to keep his plan on track.

Edenton Vineyards


A beat up Audi sped through the main street of downtown Edenton and parked itself in front of the local bar. The car, once shiny and sleek 8 years ago, had gone through some rough patches. Dirt and mud covered most of it, bugs splatter the windshield, several dents punctured the once smooth body and the paint was scratched. 

The driver emerged. First a baseball cap over a low ponytail, dark sunglasses, leather jacket, torn jeans and boots. She was also a little worse for wear, but unlike the car, her damages weren’t physically seen. 

The door slammed closed, two beeps and it’s locked. 

Avana surveys the street, taking in the familiar buildings and bustling people. Since she left, nothing has changed, save for some new paint jobs and updated signs. 

Even the people were the same. Is that Mr. Walker who owns the drug store down the street? It had to be. She’d know that pot belly and mustache anywhere. It has more gray in it than what she remembered. 

As he draws closer, Avana pulls down her baseball cap lower over her face and looks down and away as he walks pass. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s here yet, because without a doubt they would tell her father. And she doesn’t want him to anticipate her coming. 

It’s not that she was planning on surprising him, both she and her father, Adam, hated surprises, and that wasn’t the only way they were alike. 

She didn’t want to tell him she was coming home because she didn’t want him to think that she was planning to stay. She didn’t want to have it built up in his head that she was back for good and will help him run (and take over) the family winery. And she didn’t want to give him any time to make a plan for her to stay either. She knew Adam, because she knows herself.

And why was it up to her to take over the winery? Her younger brother, Clinton, seemed all too eager to take up the mantle, once their dad decided he was too old to harvest. Avana knew Clinton was secretly happy when she decided to leave 8 years ago. It was the perfect chance to prove himself without her overshadowing him with the spotlight Adam always had on her.  

Anyway, it’s not like she was back in her hometown to say hi. It came down to a last resort. She was fired from her job, she was broke, and the audi (a 21st birthday present from Adam to his favorite child) was one mile, one pot hole away from breaking down. She had no other choice but to go home and beg for help.

Avana would have driven directly to her childhood home as to not risk someone seeing her before she got there, but she couldn’t help herself. She had to stop for a drink before seeing her family. 

Placing her keys in her back pocket, Avana walked up to the bar and entered.