The first time my wife, Kasey, and I were at the farmers market in Davenport, we met Mike and Diane Furlong with Ardon Creek Vineyard and Winery. It was a warm Saturday in 2010, and from that moment on, we were big supporters of Ardon Creek. Occasionally, we would see the Furlongs at the market, but that was it.
The first time I set foot at Ardon Creek was to DJ a friend’s wedding in 2016. How did we not make it there sooner?! I encourage you to be there for a Friday night of live music or just to visit the tasting room.
When I started working at Hy-Vee in December of 2017, I started seeing both Mike and Diane on a regular basis. They were always so kind to me and tolerated my jokes about how, “at this point we should own stock with how much Red 52 (wine) we’ve bought!”
There’s something about a locally owned business and seeing the owners pour their soul into it that makes you want to help make them successful. The Furlongs truly cared about their business and that was so admirable.
I was honored to have both Mike and Diane join in over the years on the “Hy-Vee Today with Tony Tone” show. I could tell they were reluctant at first because they didn’t want the attention, but I insisted their story was worth sharing.
Mike’s attention to detail when naming their wines was so compelling. Take for instance their “Johanna.” On the back of the bottle, Mike wrote,“Our Johanna wine is dedicated to women on their way to realizing their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, not unlike my Great Grandmother Johanna Cosgrove Furlong!” Not only are the Ardon Creek wines fantastic but the stories behind them, wow!
I had heard that Mike was sick maybe six or seven months ago. Diane and I had been exchanging text messages about getting the band Lefty & The Spinners booked to play at the vineyard this summer. These exchanges took place before the pandemic, and I regret not inquiring about Mike more.
My friend Mike Furlong passed away on June 10th, and I will miss him. The obituary spoke of Mike’s “quick wit,” and that’s so true. I would often find myself having a battle of the wits as Mike would be refilling Ardon Creek displays at Hy-Vee. I hate that I don’t have another chance to chat with Mike or to tell him just how much I appreciated him. Rest in peace to you, Mike. I promise to continue being a strong ally and to share your quick wit with others. Cheers.