It’s like the old saying goes: A family that grows, harvests and ferments grapes together, stays together.
That’s of course not the saying, but there is certainly something about the bond the Thompson family from Crosby, Minnesota, have that’s worth making an expression out of.
Four generations of them – Mike, daughter Carrie, granddaughter Kahlin, and a brand new great-granddaughter – spend their early falls making wine, specifically Gewürztraminer, a white variety that’s sweet and fruity. They even design the label.
When the Thompsons aren’t making wine, they’re out picking apples together or going fishing together or taking a trip together. While a lot of families’ revel in quality together time, not many of them also share the same careers, but Mike, Carrie and Kahlin do. They’re all electricians and proud members of their local electrical worker’s union.
It started with Mike, of course. Like many in his generation, he was a proud and active member of his union. His work ethic, combined with his privately funded union training, wages and benefits, allowed him to see his children off to college and into engaging careers in service to their communities while also earning a good wage. It’s maybe somewhat surprising that Mike’s commitment to his union and his love of construction led Carrie into the same field, though she may not have recognized him as the inspiration at first. (Read her story here.)
While many often think of labor unions as a relic of the past, of something only meaningful in Mike’s era, it’s clear from Carrie and Kahlin the value unions continue to bring to members and to their communities, and the bonds they help families and communities form. It can’t just be what’s in the wine water in Crosby.