From Hobby to Winery
On our dairy farm in Delaware County, we planted some cherry trees that were a wedding gift. One year the trees produced so many cherries, we could not keep up with them all. That was the year we decided to try to make wine.
We had been visiting wineries and participating in winery events in the Finger Lakes region nearly every summer. Our favorite time to go is in the autumn to watch the harvest. Often, we would seek out the smaller wineries and if no other customers were there, we would strike up the conversation about how they made their wines. For over two decades we have told of how when we retire we want to start a winery and make wine for people, enjoy having them visit and taste our wine, and maybe they would even buy some of our wine!
So the year our cherry trees were abundant was the year we decided to try to make wine - cherry wine. We had a couple of books we had bought at the wineries about making wine and found a recipe for cherry wine. We were quite lucky with that batch, which prompted us to buy some grape plants the next spring.
Over the years, we have shared the wines that turned out good at family gatherings and as gifts for friends. We have also thrown out batches that tasted more like vinegar than wine. Every failed batch has been an opportunity to learn what went wrong and grow our knowledge about wine-making. We love learning new methods and making new flavors and blends. And we continued to talk about our dream of opening a winery in retirement.
Four years ago we found this beautiful property in Middleburgh, New York. We knew this was the perfect place to build our retirement dream. We started planting rows of grapes and put 400 plants in the first two years. The summer of 2016 was the first batch of home made wine from our St. Pepin grapes.
The spring of 2017, with some help from family, we added 800 grape plants. We also began the licensing process and the conversion of the pole barn into a winery. Throughout the work, our loving dogs, Abby and Lucy, have been at our heals and keeping us upbeat and moving forward. We are planning for a spring 2018 opening and look forward to presenting a variety of wines for your tasting pleasure!