Pulling the Thread: Unraveling the Story of Quiddity Wines

 “What the heck? Let’s buy some grapes and make some wine.” – Greg Peiker

“Pull the thread, lean into it and go with it, go where it takes you… The Universe tells you things. The secret is to be open to it.” This is the philosophy Greg Peiker has led with, and what brought him to the opening of Quiddity Wines. Greg sat down with us to tell us about the journey pulling the thread has brought him on.

– What The Heck? Let’s Try It – 

Led by his lifelong love of food and wine, Greg’s journey into the wine industry started as a hobby and a learning experience. 

“I don’t believe that I went in with the goal of opening a winery. I think it was more about, gee whiz, my kids are getting older and I’ve got more time on my hands. This sounds interesting, the winemaking program. I get to do cool stuff like make wine. So let’s do that.”

Nearing the end of his winemaking program, in search of an internship, Greg reached out to long-time friend Bill Grassie for advice. It just so happened that Bill was able to offer up something much more than advice on where to complete an internship. “I have a winery and I’m not using it this fall. Why don’t you buy some grapes and make some wine?” Pulling at the thread life (and Bill) offered up, Greg did exactly that. 

Seven and a half tons of grapes and a year and a half later, bottling came around and Bill presented yet another thread, “Are you going to open a winery, or are you going to sell [the wine] to me?” 

It wasn’t a hard question to answer, “By that time my kids had graduated, I was empty nesting. I was going through a divorce. COVID had happened. I left Microsoft. And I just kind of thought, if I don’t try this on my own, I will always regret it. I think one of the key success factors was I didn’t think too hard about it. I just said, okay, what the heck? Let’s try it.”

– Building a Community –

Offering a selection of Rhone style wines, Quiddity Wines resides in the Warehouse District of Woodinville, Washington amongst a group of wineries where Greg has come to find a community. As a self-proclaimed introvert, Greg has found the greatest joy in a surprising role; In the tasting room, interacting with the community Quiddity has become. 

“Interesting people come in and you get to connect with them and talk. I do enjoy that…I get time to talk to everybody, and that’s kind of fun. One club member… they actually stopped by the winery two weeks ago to give me a bottle of wine. They said, here, we thought you’d like this one. Why don’t you try it and tell us what you think? People email you on Thanksgiving or Christmas and say, hey, we had your wine with dinner. It was awesome. Who does that? That’s cool. So that’s fun. Just knowing that something I’ve created has kind of made them smile or added to their day. That’s fun.”

Planting a new winery in the middle of an established group of wineries may sound daunting, but not only has Quiddity built a community of customers, Greg has found a community in the winemakers around him. 

“There’s around 25 wineries in the warehouse district. So one Sunday a month, what we’re trying to do is all get together and drink each other’s wines. That way we get to meet each other. We get to understand who makes what kind of wine. That way, when you’re in the tasting room and somebody says, hey, where should I go next? You can say, well, what do you like? And you can actually give a value-add opinion.”

– Small Business Surprises –

While both the winemaking and wine drinking community have come through with their support for Quiddity, Greg has found a deeper respect for small businesses along the way, experiencing first-hand the struggles of being a small-business owner. “At Microsoft, if I need legal help, I would email the legal department. Running a winery, you don’t do that. You have to figure it out yourself… There’s a lot of learning along the way, too. Costs are twice as high as you think… I don’t know that it’s a surprise or anything, but it’s a learning [experience].”

Another surprise? The cost of staying small. In search of a second location, Greg is realizing that keeping his production levels at a similar volume while attempting to share his wines at a new location would be impossible. “I may end up having to get twice as big as I am now, which I’m not interested in, but I may have to. So that’s a recent learning that I hadn’t thought about at the time. There’s a minimum level of viability.”

As we wrapped up, Greg had some final thoughts for our readers: “The Warehouse District is pretty unique… It’s where those wines are made and you can go there and you can talk to the people that made them and you can see them being made. In other words, small, craft, artisanal, family owned wineries. That’s the place. So be conscious of where you spend your dollars, support what you want to support. If you’re going to buy wine, buy it directly from the producer … the kind of people you want to support. Because they’re small, and it’s hard to make ends meet.”

Head over to Quiddity Wines in Woodinville, Washington to chat with Greg and see what he has coming up! Or click here to check it out online.

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