It all started 12 years ago with a visit to a small coffee shop in Connecticut. Mike Loftus, owner of Daufuskie Island Wine and Woodworks explains, “My kids and I answered an ad placed there for a kayak building class. It took about four months of sneaking off after school and on Saturdays, but on Christmas we all surprised my wife, Joanne with a 17 foot wooden kayak.”
He was immediately hooked on woodworking and more specifically on wooden boat building.
“In the years since, I tried to learn as much as I could about building things with wood,” Loftus says. “Three summers ago I convinced Bill Greenwood to take a two week course at the Wooden Boat School on the coast of Maine and we both really enjoyed it.”
With plans to retire on Daufuskie, he and Joanne began thinking about building a woodworking shop 5 years ago. They later came up with the idea of selling wine and beer out of the shop.
“We have always enjoyed finding good wine at reasonable prices,” Loftus says. “In recent years we have looked for wines made from organically grown grapes, usually from small vineyards. The recent surge in our country of small craft breweries fit right in to our ‘sweet spot.’ ”
“We began searching for a company that could design a barn for us made from sustainable wood in a post and beam design and found what we wanted in the New England Barn Company based in northern CT,” Loftus continues. “What we have now is a very cool building where I can teach local people how to build some really neat small wooden boats and have some fun selling interesting wines and craft beers.”
“Four people are already signed up to start building their own kayaks in early December and all four should have them ready to go in the water next Spring,” Loftus says. But theirs will not be the first vessels produced there. “My son Matt had the honor of building the first boat to leave the wood shop. While spending two weeks with us early last summer, he built a beautiful 9 foot wooden surfboard with the words ‘Marry Me Kristina’ painted on the bottom. She said yes!”
As for the wine shop side of the barn, Loftus says, “We have a great selection and are currently dealing with two wine suppliers who specialize in the types of wines we like, along with a craft beer supplier who deals with many of the southern small craft beer makers in the Carolinas and Georgia. Thus far we are carrying wines that range in price from $10 to $40 per bottle and beers ranging from $10 to $18 for a six pack along with some large format beers. After I finish building out the wine shop, we will carry some more expensive items for special occasions.” While still insisting on quality, when possible, Loftus hopes to accommodate special orders if they are requested.
These days he continues to be busy finishing both the woodworking and wine shops. He hopes to get an email list going soon to update customers.
Says Loftus, “Come on by and check it all out. I’m pretty sure you will like what you see!”
For more information contact Mike Loftus at email@example.com or (203) 810-8115.