Pilgrimage Winery Timeline - 2015

Business Plan Chart


UC Davis Winemaking Cert

09/29/2014 - Approx. 04/29/2016

5 classes over 5 semesters. Est 12 weeks each. Should be done Spring 2016. $10k total, but GI Bill paying.

Architectural Planning/Design

Approx. 02/02/2015 - Approx. 07/31/2016

Important early step. Willie interested? What will be our theme and how will split our budget between the tasting room, winery, and living quarters?

Develop Business Plan

Approx. 02/02/2015 - Approx. 07/31/2016

Determine: Exec Summary, Goals, Permits required, Regulations, Legality's, Zoning Laws, marketing demographics, management, concept of operations, Budgets, Financials, cash flow, Type Grapes, Type Wines, Yields, Trellis systems, equipment required, etc.

Vineyard Farming Contract

Approx. 01/02/2017 - Approx. 08/31/2017

Finish contract negotiations w/ local farmers to grow 10 acres of grapes for us on our farm. Best land for grapes to grow is ID'd, zoned, and ready to go. Start working supplies. Work contract to lease land in exchange for tending to crop while we're gone.

Raise Investment Capital?

Approx. 01/08/2018 - Approx. 12/24/2018

If needed. Options: Family, Friends, Bank, Venture Capital?

Apply for TTB Bonding

Approx. 09/03/2018 - Approx. 04/26/2019

Become Federally bonded Winery w/ Federal Tax and Trade Bureau. Very involved and lengthy process. Requires architectural sketch/plans of winery.

Apply for Indiana Liquor Permit

Approx. 04/01/2019 - Approx. 08/12/2019

After were bonded w/ TTB, apply for Indiana Liquor license w/ Indiana ATC. Initially start as farm winery (2000 case max). Can I apply without winery built...and not a resident, or in state?

Winery Construction

Approx. 07/08/2019 - Approx. 04/06/2020


Indiana HORT conf.

01/17/2015 - 01/25/2015

Eastern Winery Explosion? (NALO ride?)

03/16/2015 - 03/19/2015

Sicily Trip (DET)

Approx. 05/15/2015 - Approx. 06/08/2015

Scott on Navy Det; Emma w/ UNO; if possible...try to visit some country side wineries...take pictures and try to capture essence of the Italian country side Agriturismo.

2015 Indiana Site Visit-Farm and wineries

Approx. 07/04/2015 - Approx. 07/12/2015

Soil samples (if required), Survey Site, Visualize and determine Lay-out, Meet w/ Farmers for land or Local Farmers who could grow grapes, City of Commerce, Zoning Officials (if required). Also visit as many local wineries as possible.

2016 Indiana Site Visit - Farm Contracts

07/09/2016 - 07/17/2016

Visit Local Wineries, Visit Doug (farm equipment), make contact w/ farmers and start setting up contracts for 10 acres grapes on our land. Determine where to live and if farm house can be saved. Look at lake dredge?

2017 Indiana Site Visit - Zoning/Planning Permits

07/08/2017 - 07/16/2017

Nail down zoning, planning building permits. Make sure Architectural drawings work. Check for Drainage, Waste management, Insulation, Environmental, OSHA, etc.
Visit local wineries.

2018 Indiana Site Visit

07/07/2018 - 07/15/2018

Follow up on all permits, check vineyard, close all loops, visit more local wineries. Begin joining local wine organizations, wine trails, societies, etc. Anything to begin networking and meeting the local industry.

2019 Indiana Site Visit

07/06/2019 - 07/14/2019

Break-ground for winery; meet contractors, visit wineries, make sure everything is set.


2019 Whites/Blushes Ready


2019 Red's Ready

Approx. 07/31/2020

2020 White's Ready

Approx. 04/05/2021

2020 Red's ready

Approx. 07/19/2021


Soil Sample/Site Survey/Orientation


81 acres. Well drained, and water table depth not an issue. pH and nutrients fine and can be adjusted for. Can accept medium cold hardy grape, but no Vinifera. Overall, farm should work well for farming...easily have 30 aces just easy of road. Will determine grapes best suited for our farm and geography. Determine vineyard set-up, spacing, Trellis system, type root stock, irrigation, drainage, orientation, and required gear, cost, etc.

1 yr out from orders! Everything starts form here...

Approx. 10/03/2016

Check-out VR-54/Move to the midwest

Approx. 10/31/2017

2.5 years left; where to move? Stay in New Orleans, other flying tours, or Midwest NOSC (Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, OH, Decatur) ?

Identify Stakeholders/Consultants (if required?)

Approx. 05/07/2018

Try to list and ID anybody who might be required and start making connections. Such as: Attorney (?), Accountant, Insurance Agent, Banker (?), Builder, Farmers, Vineyard consultant, Winemaker (?), Marketer/PR/Packaging consultants, Artist/Designer/Photog/Web/Technology consultants, Food service consultant, Custom Crush Partners, Advertisers (?), Local Retailers, Distributors, Other Winery help, cellar rats, Vineyard farmhands.

Apply for DATCP License? (if required)

Approx. 06/04/2018

Permit to serve food on premises. Determine if we want to go with the Argiturismo option...what food items?

Apply for Federal Tax ID

Approx. 07/02/2018

Easy...not that involved. Small fee.

Register Business in Indiana - Eckart Family Winery LLC

Approx. 08/06/2018

Become Official Business; Choose name...Official Structure-LLC or Sole Proprietor.

Build Winery

Approx. 03/04/2019

Have build and ready to process grapes by crush 2019

Submit Label to ATC/TTB for approval

Approx. 05/13/2019

Winery labels are regulated. Is this an annual process or just when a new wine variety is produced.

Go on Terminal Leave


90 days paid leave.

Retire From Navy


20 yrs.

OPEN WINERY - Spring 2020!!!

Approx. 06/01/2020

Shoot for early late spring 2020. Will have 360 case of 2018 and 2019 vintages.


Farm prep/build barn? (Pre-mature)

Approx. 07/06/2015 - Approx. 10/30/2015

Farm and Vineyard Prep - (Pre-mature)

Approx. 03/07/2016 - Approx. 09/23/2016

Prep Vineyard for Planting

Approx. 10/03/2016 - Approx. 11/30/2016

X acres = est. $X for Trellis, supplies, back hoe, digging, drainage, etc. This is estimated for 8-9 ft spacing using cordon trellis system. Long rows over 700 ft. Should be situated around future winery site. May not include labor.

Order Vines

Approx. 12/19/2016

Farm and Vineyard Prep

Approx. 03/06/2017 - Approx. 09/29/2017

scout vineyard layout; clean and clear trash debris; try to salvage barn for storage of tractor (or build one). Start clearing land; roads; parking...winery layout. Tear down and burn whats required.

Vines - Yr 1 planting Season

Approx. 04/03/2017 - Approx. 09/29/2017

Won't harvest until year 3.

Vines - Yr 2 planting season

Approx. 04/02/2018 - Approx. 09/28/2018

Still training...no grapes until next year.

Vines - Yr 3 - Harvest X acres

Approx. 04/08/2019 - Approx. 09/27/2019

First harvest of Grapes should be ready to go. 1/2 yield at best

Vines - Yr 4 - Harvest

Approx. 04/06/2020 - Approx. 09/30/2020

75-90% Crop. Year 4-5 grapes are usually the best until year 10 when a vines hits their golden years and produce the best grapes from 10-20 years old.

Vines - Yr 5 - Harvest

Approx. 04/05/2021 - Approx. 09/30/2021

90%-100% crop