A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Nicki Caylor

A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Nicki Caylor

Owner and founder of Running Vines Winery in Chesterton and Aftermath Cidery and Winery in Valparaiso, Nicki Caylor is a hard-working woman who hasn’t stopped at anything to see her dreams realized or to see her ambition to start a business seen before her eyes. She holds all of the necessities of a fantastic leader, with an intense entrepreneurial drive and a love of tasteful wine. 

This story, exactly where one of her businesses is now located, starts in Valparaiso, as Caylor grew up and attended high school there. It’s probably no wonder that she chose to select her home as one of the places where she also works. 

Caylor was not always bound to running a business, however. Before she chased after achieving any of her entrepreneurial endeavors, she was not doing anything closely related to wine. But one’s life often diverges from following a specific path, especially a path that one supposedly has planned from the beginning. 

“I was working as a personal trainer and sports performance coach and club director at an athletic club in Michigan City when I started to think about opening my own business. I was talking with a family member, and we decided we would open a business together. And he talked me into opening a winery, as he owned a winery out in Pennsylvania, and we moved forward from there,” Caylor said. 

Inspired by her parents’ ownership of their own businesses, Caylor knew she had wanted to do the same, wanting to make a positive impact in her community. 

It’s evident that Caylor possesses a love for running and athletics, too. But for her, there was obviously this lurking urge to begin her own business. And with her work, she’s embraced most of her interests. 

“I had always wanted to own my own business, and I noticed this great opportunity to do so. Running Vines is actually a fun play on words because I am a runner,” Caylor said. 

“So, with Running Vines, we have a race collection, which features the sprint, half marathon, marathon, and triathlon – all races in which I've competed and run. It was a fun way to incorporate my love of fitness into the winery.”

There’s never a dull moment for Caylor. Most people usually envision the CEO of a business to hide away in the maintenance of their operations, but Caylor refuses to follow any sort of stereotype, which serves as a testament to her tremendous character. 

“I love serving, so I like being behind the bar or putting on events like Uncorked, which is where I get to pour wine or cider and talk about it, getting to visit with the guests that come into our winery. It's really rewarding; it's fun, awesome, getting to see what we've built,” Caylor said. 

Aside from actually running the Winery, Caylor is currently running for Center Township Board in Valparaiso. Though the Winery may take most of her time, she hasn’t faltered in balancing her family life and social life. 

“My son actually works for me in the wineries, so we spend a lot of time working together. And I've always made spending time with my family a priority, so I always have times where I make sure I'm home, that we do things together,” Caylor said. “And due to the business, I get to meet new people all the time, and I've made a lot of new friends, loving the relationships I've been able to create over time.”

Outside of work, Caylor keeps herself busy with a lot of running, something she’s always had a passion for since her middle school days and her brief stint in the army. But her leisure time doesn’t exclusively feature her doing her own thing.

“I love to be outdoors, and my husband and my son love to fish, and I like to fish a little bit. I like to work out, and I'm always looking for new challenges and different things to do. We like to go hiking, too. Really, anything around working out and spending time with my son and my husband always makes me happy,” Caylor said. 

To add to what she already has on her plate, Caylor will be speaking at part seven of the annual All About the Girls (AATG) event, and the excitement is surely there and felt. 

“I'm super excited and I was very honored to be asked to speak at the event because there are so many amazing women in our community. I am honestly humbled that I was even chosen to be a speaker at it. We will be talking about True Grit, and I'll be telling everyone a little bit about my story,” Caylor said. 

If you wish to further your experience hearing Caylor’s story and wish to hear from GreatNews.Life’s own Jenny Craig-Brown you can purchase your tickets to the All About the Girls event through this link: https://allaboutthegirlspart7.eventbrite.com.