It’s hard to know where to begin our story. Most people impulse buy things like jewelry, clothing or puppies. Not us! In May of 2011 we impulse bought a vineyard. We had been looking for a piece of land or farmette with a second building right for our daughter Rachel, her husband John and their girls.
Our goal was to have our family all together on one piece of land. At the time we were still living in our house in Fawn Grove which took a very long time to sell. We knew absolutely nothing about farming or growing wine grapes. How hard could it be? We loved to garden. We were in love with our new farm!
That summer, we spent our weekends painting, cleaning and patching up the inside of the farm house, while the folks from Naylor Winery kept the vineyards in check. In the winter Dan Potter, Mr. Naylor’s grandson, taught us how to prune. Thanks to him, in the spring of 2012 we were invited to grow for Lele and Brad Galer at Galer Estates Winery in Brandywine valley. They were kind enough to provide support from John Levinberg, their consultant. John visited throughout the growing season walking the vineyards with us and teaching us the basics of viticulture 101, on a need to know basis. We worked for hours in the field practicing our new skills and along the way, fell in love with the vineyard itself. That same summer we met Catrina North, a very talented young lady who was their winemaker at the time. The following spring, we tasted the first fruits of our labor. That’s when we fell in love with our wine. Ours, that is, in the sense that we had grown it. We were hooked. Two years later, we closed on the sale of our house, moved to the vineyard and began a new venture with Crow Vineyards in Kennedyville, MD. We were going to grow fruit for them while we worked on becoming licensed and would soon grow and produce our own wine!
Meanwhile back at the vineyard, we worked in what felt like and endless holding pattern; licensing, lawyers and permits, renovating the tasting room, building stone walls and patios, fretting about the weather, reading and going to seminars, and taking care of our beautiful but unruly vines. Or, as Dave is fond of calling it, “Groundhog Day”. We all worked our “real jobs” at the same time. Growing wine grapes is not for the faint of heart – complete and utter panic was often overcome by sheer will and determination.
This process, too, took a very long time. Our friends and family picked us up and dusted us off when necessary and worked beside us through every season. We are truly blessed and eternally grateful to all of them. Along the way we met some really nice people who have helped us begin to find our way in the world of winemaking. Friendliness and the willingness to educate and help others are pervasive in the Eastern Wine industry. This was both an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We are still at Crow Winery, and officially began production of our own wines with our 2017 harvest. Thanks to Roy and Judy Crow and the help of Brandon Hoy and our new winemaker Michael Zollo, our wines are in barrel and full of promise.
So, here we are… ready to share our wine with actual customers. We look forward to meeting our new “friends of the vineyard”!