Six Loudoun women to watch: Lori Corcoran, Corcoran Vineyards
Lori Corcoran rarely thinks of herself as a businesswoman.
“I just have so much fun doing what I do. It's hard to consider it work,” she told the LBJ in September.
It makes sense. For Corcoran, “business” is making wine and managing a successful vineyard in scenic Waterford in western Loudoun. And while the labels “businessman” or “businesswoman” are often associated with powerful, dogged men and women in powerful suits, that's not for Corcoran.
Instead, she frequently finds herself “making wine in [her] jammies,” she says.
That's not to say she – or any vintner – doesn't put in grueling hours in the vines and pushing grapes, but “businesswoman” in a traditional sense isn't exactly a tag suited to Corcoran.
Corcoran Vineyards has been in operation for nearly a decade, and watching the growth –both in her own operation and the local wine industry as a whole – has been fascinating for Corcoran. Her winery has gone from producing 550 cases of wine in its inaugural year to more than 5,000 cases in 2012.
The vibrant Loudoun business environment has played no small role in Lori Corcoran's success. Whether it's with groups like Sterling Women, the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, other winemakers or just entrepreneurial friends, collaboration and networking have been key elements of Corcoran's growth and robust reputation.
“There is a good support group for women in Loudoun,” Corcoran said. “We enjoy each others company, we love to network. You know, we'll share suggestions and help each other whenever we can.”
Corcoran said one of the biggest thrills for her is being able to step outside her home into the gorgeous countryside and immediately be engaged in her work. Perhaps this is why she doesn't always consider work strictly business.
“I love making my own wine and then knowing that people are actually enjoying what I'm making,” she said.
Corcoran and her husband Jim – who oversees Corcoran's brewery operation – have been news makers in the past year. The pair opened Leesburg Brewing Co. pub in downtown Leesburg in the spring with partners Mike and JoAnne Carroll, the owners of Leesburg Vintner. Then in September, the Corcorans announced they're launching a new and upgraded brewery in Purcellville – slated to open its doors this winter.
Corcoran's expansion can be seen as a microcosm of Loudoun in several ways – whether it's the county's population boom, the explosion of homegrown small businesses or just the yearning for something local and authentic.
“I see a lot of homemaker moms are starting to do their own things – whether it's starting a cupcake business or antique store and doing their own things, whatever it is,” Corcoran says. “The community wants local – they want something from here.”