By Karyn Howard and Jennifer Greenholt, RayLen Vineyards & Winery

You know that family? That family? The one with the kids who are…well, they’re not awful, but they’re not saints, either. Every time one of them comes over to your house, something gets broken. They are just kids being kids, but still, something always gets broken. The parents are affable enough, but they never seem to have a real grip on discipline. They put up a good show and follow through on some small stuff. But, still, at the end of the night, you can’t help but comment on a few big loopholes in the discipline.

You know that family. Let’s face it—everyone with children has probably been that family at some point. Deep down, we all want to avoid being that family. Believe it or not, that family comes to visit us at RayLen Vineyards & Winery as well. Over the years we have accumulated some nuggets of wisdom about the subject. So here, direct from the RayLen archives, are three pointers to help you avoid that family status.

20 Degrees Separate One and 21…For a Reason
That family stopped by one day on a scouting trip for the perfect place to host a birthday party for their one-year old. That’s right. Read that again—a birthday party for a one-year-old at Raylen. Picturing a giant Minnie Mouse swirling a glass of Category 5 and leaning in to hear John Marshall discuss the hurricane gods, I struggle to keep a straight face as I respond: “No, I’m sorry, but RayLen cannot host a birthday party for your one-year-old. I’m sure there is a law about having a birthday party for a one year old at a bar, but even if there isn’t, we certainly can’t allow that. But, thank you for your interest to include RayLen in your child’s special day!” That family looked a little perplexed, but they left without doing a wine tasting.

A Bottle Buddy Does Not a Babysitter Make
RayLen hosts events about once a month, and they are a lot of fun. There are usually about 400 people here, tasting wine, laughing, enjoying great music, and eating good food. That family attended one of our events a few years ago and promptly lost their toddler. Music, wine sales, wine tastings, and food consumption came to a screeching holt as a staff-led search party began moving toward the pond we have on the property. Then one staff member noticed that a door was open that should not have been. (It leads to the private apartment of RayLen’s owners.) Up two flights of stairs, down a long hallway, a quick turn into the master bedroom, and another turn into the master bath, and there was Missing Toddler, playing in the sink: shoes off, clothes soaked, and laughing. That family sheepishly recovered their child and decided to call it a day.

Getaway Wine Has a Special Savor
Funny as these stories may be, there is another kind of that family. My favorite couple with whom I ever worked came in many years ago. They were visiting North Carolina from Massachusetts and thinking about relocating. They had three children, who were at home with the grandparents. It was the first time these parents had been away without their children, and the oldest child was ten years old! They were giddy. They giggled. They held hands. They talked about adult stuff. They enjoyed wine. And, when I told them that one of our wines was guaranteed to rejuvenate any marriage, they bought two bottles. That family later wrote me an email, telling me what a great experience they had had at RayLen and how the RayLen staff had made their adult time so exceptional. (And, apparently, amorous, too!)

Wouldn’t it be lovely to take your cue from that family? The good news is that you can do just that. Plan a trip to RayLen as a special time to get away from the kids. Reconnect with your spouse without having to deal with the needs of children who don’t want to be in a winery and won’t behave as the angels you know them to be. You’ll come back refreshed, and your parents will be so relieved to see you return that it will be at least a week before they make another unsolicited parenting suggestion. Everyone in that family is a winner.


*Sponsored by RayLen Vineyards & Winery