Shining His Light on the Harvest
The Gilbert family has been planting and harvesting crops in Paulding County since 1963, when Bob Gilbert’s parents purchased their land. His mother loves to tell the story of her father encouraging her to “buy some land to raise her boys,” and that’s what she did! They purchased 500 acres at the time, and the family still has 80 acres today.
Bob and Jenny Gilbert have been married 28 years. They have one daughter, Emilee, and Bob has two more daughters, Lindsey Catone and Jenna Gilbert. Since 1996 they had been farming their land with fresh cut flowers and vegetables. They sold their products to wholesalers in Atlanta and at local farmers markets. Jenny also specializes in florals for special events and weddings, and Bob has experience in real estate and development, and upper education furniture sales.
Emilee and Derik Gilbert have been married four years, and have two children, Harrison age 2 ½ and Hadlee age 7 months. Emilee is a certified Wedding and Event Planner, and has worked as a Catering Director in the private club industry. Derik is a Sales Manager at Auto Experts in Acworth.
Emilee and Derik moved back to the family farm because they knew this was the best place for them to build a home and start their family. They feel blessed to be raising their children on the farm, where they can learn so much from the land and experience their new family venture from the start.
The Gilberts had been talking about starting a new business they could all be involved in and use their land in the best way possible, while being able to bring in revenue and enjoy themselves. With their collective experience and love for wine, the idea of Qualusi Vineyards was born. Qualusi is a Cherokee word meaning ‘grapes.’
The Gilberts visited a few North Georgia wineries, then jumped in full force. They planted a test plot in 2016 before planting a remaining 2.5 acres in 2017. Switching to vines has been a fairly smooth transition with their years of farming experience. The vines they currently have are Blanc du Bois, Norton and Crimson Cabernet. They are able to grow these varieties at this elevation because these particular vines are disease resistant to Pierces disease which can affect some varieties at this elevation.
It takes all the Gilberts to keep the vineyard running smoothly, as it is three businesses in one – vineyard, tasting room and winery. Bob and Jenny are in charge of vineyard management, Emilee is in charge of tasting room operations, and Derik will eventually work full time as the Head Wine Maker. Though everyone has their own skill set, they help out and are involved in every aspect of the business – including planting and harvest time.
The Gilberts also enjoy spending their off time together watching Georgia football, and their traditional Friday steak and wine night. On Thanksgiving, deep fried turkey and Bob’s dressing are a must! Emilee says her parents are great cooks, and they love to keep Thanksgiving simple and relaxed with good food, wine and precious family time.
For the Gilberts, “Everyday is a blessing, but on Thanksgiving we are reminded how bright His light can shine. We are glad to come together as a family and celebrate our hard work and passion. We have big things coming and we couldn’t be more grateful; for the friends we’ve made along the way and the hope to make more in the coming years. Cheers to friends, family and a full wine glass.”