Back to the Newsletter Page

 

Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn

 January 2006 Newsletter

To our Guests & Friends,
"In this issue of our newsletter, we are proud to introduce our extended Hermann Hill family to you. Our guests frequently comment, "it's all in the details", and we agree. Hermann Hill is only as good as our staff. They make sure those details are consistently provided to every guest, every day. From cleaning to room amenities, laundry to reservations, breakfast brought to your room to warm cookies at 10 p.m., our dedicated staff works very diligently to make sure your Hermann Hill experience will be memorable."

  ~ Peggy and Terry

Terry and Peggy
Peggy and Gracie, Terry and Fred

(You will note an asterisk (*) throughout the newsletter. This indicates a reference to Hermann Hill's Three-Mile Walk. Information about the walk is on our web site.)
 

Behind the scenes at Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn
Running a bed and breakfast is an all-day, every day endeavor. And, it takes some dedicated people to keep things running smoothly. Here's a look behind the scenes at Hermann Hill.

The day begins around 8 a.m. when the kitchen/breakfast server crew arrives. Most weekday mornings, guests will find Mary Battocletti in the kitchen preparing breakfast and serving it in one of the common areas--dining room, kitchen, or patio--or delivering it to your guestroom. "That's the best part of the job. You get to interact with the guests," said Mary. Mary also helps where needed. She is the silver polisher, "And, I've been designated the duvet ironer," she said. "This is kind of a fix for me," said Mary, who at one time wanted to open a bed and breakfast of her own. When she's not working at Hermann Hill, Mary and her husband Hal, the butter roses maker, do some outside catering. She has worked at Hermann Hill for three years.

Renee Poulsen is assistant innkeeper and check-in person, and she heads up the weekend kitchen crew. She's been working at the inn for 4 1/2 years. In nice weather she does quite a bit of outdoor work. "I'm kind of unofficially in charge of the pond outside. I don't know how that became my job," she said, but we hear it's because she's the only one who didn't say "no" when Terry asked her to do it. "I do a variety of whatever they want me to do," she said, which includes helping with the new plantings and odd jobs at Hermann Hill Village.

Renee says her favorite thing about working at the inn is checking in guests because she can have one-on-one contact with them. She also is grateful for the flexible hours she works. With a handicapped child at home, she knows she can run home to check on her whenever she needs to. "That's a huge thing. I'd never feel comfortable anywhere else," she said. "Most employers wouldn't be as accommodating as Peggy and Terry." When not at the inn, Renee said, "My kids are my life outside of work."

Helping serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday are Isabel Hohl, Lis Hohl, and Kelly Lackey. Kelly has worked at Hermann Hill for more than four years. She was hired as a room cleaner, but she seems to be doing more breakfast service these days. She typically works one day a week at Hermann Hill. "I don't think I could do a weekend job the same as I do all week," she said. Her full-time job is working as a secretary for Hermann Lumber. "I really enjoy working at Hermann Hill. It's a beautiful place to work. I'll never own a home like this so it's nice to work in one," said Kelly.

Isabel, a sophomore at Hermann High School, has worked at the inn for about a year. "It's a really great place, and it's also nice to work with family," she said. Both her mother and sister work here. "It's nice to work with my mom. It's very comfortable," she said. Asked about her favorite part of working at Hermann Hill, Isabel replied, "It's beautiful, and I get paid nicely, which is always a plus." When she's not serving breakfast at Hermann Hill, Isabel enjoys acting, singing, playing piano, drama, and speech.

Isabel's sister, Lis, is a second year student at Webster University in St. Louis. She's worked at the inn for about four years, but now is limited mostly to summer and winter breaks from school. "They graciously allowed me to continue working when I'm home. I really like my bosses. They're great people," she said about Terry and Peggy. Lis is a breakfast server and sometimes helps with checking in guests. She is majoring in international relations at college and hopes to attend law school and become a judge. "That would be my ideal job," admitted Lis. When not in the classroom, Lis works as a Writing Center coach. She also is a peer tutor in math, literature, and English courses. Lis explained, "One of the cool things I've found about working at Hermann Hill is that it has come with me. My boss at the Writing Center stays there."

After breakfast, as guests begin to check out, the real hustle and bustle begins. The room cleaners arrive and start their workout of stripping beds and clearing away dirty dishes and linens. They jokingly refer to themselves as "the strippers". With lists longer than Santa's, they re-supply each guestroom with clean bed linens, towels, robes, toiletries, food items, and they literally clean the rooms from top to bottom. Dedicated to perfection, our room cleaners do far more than the basics. They always search for that hard-to-detect stray hair and make sure the thermostat is set correctly. (Talk about attention to detail. They are the masters of detail.) Before guests arrive, the rooms have been double or triple checked.

The room supply person is Wendy Pagel, who has worked at the inn since May of 2001 when she graduated high school. She works full-time Monday through Friday and occasionally on weekends as needed. Wendy has been known to do 10 to 15 loads of laundry a day. "There's a lot of laundry," she admitted. She's also the master cookie baker, for it's Wendy who whips up the batches of shortbread and chocolate cookies that are delivered warm to your door each evening. She likes working in the big kitchen, and she says the guests enjoy the aroma of the freshly baked cookies when they arrive. In between loading the washers and dryers and making cookies, Wendy takes reservations and checks in guests. "I like seeing people ever since I worked in my parents' restaurant. It's nice to meet different people," she said. In her spare time Wendy attends her brothers' ball games and enjoys cross-stitching.

Mindy Bloch began working at Hermann Hill in the fall of 2000 as part of her senior year COE program at Hermann High School. "And, I'm still here," she said with a laugh. A Hermann native, Mindy is always on the go. She is a room cleaner at Hermann Hill on weekdays, attends East Central College where she is studying Early Childhood Education, and works as a waitress and cook three or four days a week at Lyndee's Restaurant. And if that weren't enough, she also is the mother of a four-year-old son. When asked about her favorite part of working at Hermann Hill, she replied, "I like it all."

Hermann High School senior Sarah Grosse has been a weekend room cleaner for 1 1/2 years. Sarah was born and raised in rural Hermann a few miles north of the Missouri River, but enjoys working in town. What she particularly likes about her job is the flexibility of her hours. She said, "They are really good about working with my schedule." Sarah is involved in many school activities and is a National Honor Society member. She has been accepted at several colleges, and shortly she will make her decision about which one she will attend. Her interest is science and she's considering going to medical school. When asked if there is anything else she wanted to add, she replied, "That's my life, work and school."
 

Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn Staff
Back row (l-r): Mandy, Mindy, Debbie, Val, Renee, Mary Bruckerhoff, Sarah
Front row (l-r): Nancy, Dawn, Wendy, Kelly, Isabel, Connie
Not pictured: Mary Battocletti and Lis Hohl

Mandy Carnahan has been a room cleaner at Hermann Hill since September of 2003, shortly after she moved to Hermann from Illinois. "Hermann had so many bed and breakfasts, so I sat with the phone book and called each one until I found a job," she explained. When not at the inn she attends East Central College where she soon will earn an associate degree. Then she'll begin working on a bachelor degree in psychology from Central Methodist University. She plans to go into counseling of some sort. In addition to cleaning the sleeping rooms, every Wednesday she's in charge of cleaning the main level of the inn. "It's somewhat a change of scenery," she explained. Speaking of scenery, the view from Hermann Hill is her favorite part of the job. "In Illinois all we had were cornfields. We didn't have pretty views like this."

Dawn Warfield started working at Hermann Hill about 2 1/2 years ago when she needed a few extra hours of employment. Not wanting to be away from her two small children in the evening, the 11 to 3 room cleaner shift on weekends was ideal. Dawn mentioned how much stair climbing the workers do. "We stay in pretty good shape here," she said. When asked about the best part of her job, Dawn replied, "Getting done." Then she paused, and added, "The difference from being home and here is that here you don't watch the mess being made. You just clean it up." That sounds like something a mother of young children would say.

After all the rooms are cleaned and checked, and re-checked, candles are lit, wine and snack trays are prepared and lined up on the kitchen counter, and soft music fills the air. Hermann Hill is ready for the 4 p.m. guest check in. This is the time of day that Connie Drake-Jones and some of the others greet incoming guests.

Connie has been involved with the inn for about 6 years. "When I first came, there were only five rooms. I was taking care of the vineyards," she said. "It's been a real pleasure to be a part of how this concept has grown in this community," she said about the bed and breakfast. Connie and her family lived a short distance from the inn and watched every phase of the construction. She has done just about every job at the inn. Currently, she is an assistant innkeeper. Sometimes she serves breakfast and is called upon to "inn sit" when Terry and Peggy are away. She also is in charge of the maintenance at the inn, which includes outdoor landscaping, painting, and repairs. "It's fun," she said.

When Connie married in May of 2004, her wedding was held at Hermann Hill. Her husband lives in Madrid so she divides her time between Spain and Hermann so she can spend time with her daughters Lis and Isabel. Any time she's in town, Terry and Peggy put Connie to work. They even save projects for her to work on when she's here. "They're fantastic bosses. The best bosses I've ever had. They are lenient, give us a lot of latitude, and allow us to make decisions." For Connie, Hermann Hill offers a good work environment. "When I came here I wanted work stability. They pay well and are sensitive to what their employees have going on in their life." Connie also pointed out that the staff works well together. "It takes everyone working together to run this place," she said. "There is a lot of respect among employees and employees to owners."

Debbie Riegel's job is to make sure the inn runs smoothly. She is sort of "chief cook and bottle washer", and then some. She is senior assistant innkeeper, handles reservations, is in charge of inventory control, purchasing, and quality control, and checks in guests. Debbie works full time Monday through Friday. She also is inn-sitter when Terry and Peggy are away. "I do a little bit of absolutely everything," she admitted.

Debbie's day starts in the kitchen preparing and serving breakfast. She maintains the grocery list. Then there's the kitchen clean up and making sure everything else around the inn gets done. Essentially, she's Peggy's right-hand gal. "You never know what you're going to walk into. No day is ever the same. Every day is a new day," she said, which makes her job more interesting. "I guiltily add that it's not like having a job sometimes."

Before coming to Hermann Hill about six years ago, Debbie worked in a clerical position, but wanted something different. The oldest of seven children and several dozen cousins, she claimed she learned to be organized and deal with pressure at an early age. These are skills she uses daily at Hermann Hill. She also is a firm believer in customer service. "I'm following in Peggy and Terry's footsteps," she admitted.

Less visible, but no less a part of Hermann Hill, are Valerie Pearce, Mary Bruckerhoff and Nancy Fagerness. Val prefers to work outdoors. She maintains Hermann Hill's vineyards. Guests often watch her work while enjoying a cup of coffee on their private balconies. As vineyard manager, Val is responsible for pruning, tying up the vines, harvesting, and keeping the vineyard mowed. She has a degree in horticulture from Michigan State University. When not at Hermann Hill, Val works as a viticulturist at Stone Hill Winery*. You will read more about Val in the March 2006 issue of our newsletter.

Mary started working at Hermann Hill about three years ago because her sister, Debbie, was short-handed on cleaning staff. Later she became a weekend kitchen worker. This past summer, Peggy and Terry asked Mary to do some bookkeeping, which led to her current position as office manager. "That suits me better because I can do all the cooking and cleaning I want at home," she said. And, she can work her own hours, giving her flexibility to attend her son's ballgames.

During the week, Mary has a full-time job at Peoples Savings Bank, where she's been in bookkeeping and data processing for 22 years. About Hermann Hill she said, "This I enjoy more because it's part time and not nearly as stressful." Mary often works at the inn Sunday mornings. "I have guest contact on Sunday when the office is busy with people checking out." In addition, she makes reservations and checks in guests. "About the only thing I haven't done is inn sitting, but I wouldn't mind doing that," she said.

Those of you who read our monthly newsletter have had contact with Nancy. She's been the newsletter editor since the summer of 2004. Nancy worked as Director of Catering and Convention Services at several hotels in Denver before moving to Hermann in 1987. While she was no stranger to the hospitality industry, writing was something new for her. Since moving to Hermann she has written for the local newspaper and the Wine Country Journal. "I loved these jobs, so when I was given the opportunity to write Hermann Hill's newsletter, I leaped it," she said. "The best part is writing about people and places. I've learned that if you give them the opportunity, everyone has a story to tell."

Now you know all the players who keep Hermann Hill running. Next time you stay with us be sure to take time to visit with them. If it isn't already apparent, a favorite part of their jobs is getting to know you and making sure your stay at Hermann Hill is a memorable one.
 

From grape to glass--local wineries share the art of wine making
Seven wineries along the Hermann Wine Trail will host Wine 101, a first-ever, behind-the-scenes look at the art and science of wine making. The January 14 and 15 event will feature various aspects of the wine making process.
 

At Adam Puchta Winery, the subject is Sensory Evaluation of Wine. Visitors will be given a lesson in wine tasting and food and wine pairing. Tank to Tongue at Bias Winery will take visitors to production areas to taste dry and sweet Concord wines. White and Red Port at Bommarito Winery will give visitors an in-depth discussion of port production along with port tastings.

Hermannhof Winery will discuss the use of oak in wine making. During a session of Tasting Differences in Oak, guests will visit a private tasting cellar to sample Norton wines aged in French oak and Missouri oak. The Vine to Glass session at OakGlenn Winery will guide visitors through the winemaking process with a display at the Husmann Pavilion. Tanked in the Cellar at Robller Winery will unravel the mysteries of red and white wine production. Stone Hill Winery* will compare three styles of wines using the Norton grape during its session titled One Norton Variety, Three Wine Styles.

Arch Barrells
These wine barrels in the Apostle Cellar at Stone Hill Winery are where the Norton and port wines are aged.

The wineries on the Hermann Wine Trail are nestled along a route that meanders for 20 scenic miles along the Missouri River between Hermann and New Haven. To view a map, and to learn about upcoming events, visit www.hermannwinetrail.com. It is recommended that tickets to Wine 101 be purchased in advance. They may be purchased online at www.hermannmo.info or from the Hermann Welcome Center, 800-932-8687.

Event hours are from 10-5 Saturday and 11-5 Sunday. Take note that the event will be held regardless of the weather, and wear warm clothes, as wine cellars are cold in January.
 

What's new in town

The Wren's Nest
The Wren's Nest

We would like to introduce you to two dining facilities and an antique shop that we have added to our web site listings. All are located in Hermann's downtown historic district. Two of them are on Hermann Hill's three-mile walk route.

Luncheons are served at Treasure Cafe* in a quaint dining room adjacent to the owner's Attic Treasures*, an antique shop we featured in the July 2005 newsletter. Dinners are offered, by reservation only, at CADY Winterset Cottage, a private supper club on Hollyhock Alley. The Wren's Nest* is a new antique shop in a tiny historic building that has been restored at the corner of Schiller and Second streets.

To read about each, visit their individual web page by clicking on the name of the business.
 

Hermann Hill Village update

Our Christmas present for Hermann Hill Village was the completion of the fifth roof, meaning that all five cottages are now enclosed and weather tight. December was a very productive month. The remaining three basement floors were completed with stamped concrete, along with sidewalks and entrance ramps for Cottages 1, 3, 4, and 5. We also poured footings and retaining walls for the parking area serving Cottages 3, 4, and 5. Utilities should be installed shortly and final interior framing has started on Cottage 1.

To view more photos of our progress, click on the Hermann Hill Village page.

Hermann Hill Village
Shingles are loaded on the roof and concrete is pumped into the basement of Cottage #4.

Hermann Hill Village

February newsletter: The Fasching tradition.


Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn
711 Wein Street - P.O. Box 555 - Hermann, Missouri (MO) 65041
Phone: (573) 486-HILL (573-486-4455)  |  Fax: (573) 486-53733
Email: info@hermannhill.com  |   Website: www.hermannhill.com