By Paul Vigna
In an trade the place a majority of the companies nationally are owned and operated by households, meet three subsequent gen house owners who all inform an identical story of eager to make their very own mark whereas respecting the previous. Extra importantly, they supply every vineyard’s bridge to the longer term.
New merchandise, extra music
Nissley Vineyards in Bainbridge, Pa., opened in 1978 and has steadily grown its following, partially via a sequence of extremely profitable out of doors summer season concert events. John Nissley and his sisters ran the place for years. Now it’s Jonas Nissley’s flip.
“Rising up right here, I undoubtedly was energetic — though, while you’re a child, you’re not at all times happy about being put to work,” he says.
In 2015, the household began speaking about retirement. Jonas says that’s when it hit him. “I’m the one baby on this aspect of the household. There are not any Nissley cousins. If I don’t do that [take over the winery], I can think about 10, 15 years down the street and see lots of remorse in my future. I’ve to at the very least do this,” he says.
Since then, he has planted extra vinifera vines, launched canned wines, tweaked the weekend leisure and is within the means of including a second label of premium wines to his household’s Lancaster County vineyard.
He’s additionally employed winemaking advisor Genevieve Rodgers from California to help with this vital addition to the vineyard’s portfolio.
Says Nissley: “These wines are actually going to lift the bar [here]. It matches with our historical past of what we’ve at all times tried to do, which is produce the absolute best wines we will, with out compromise.”
Honoring historical past and entering into the longer term
Historical past is the very first thing you see on the Loew Vineyards web site, which has been upgraded a number of occasions over the previous few years. That’s as a result of there’s loads of it, courting again to the mid-1800s, in Bursztyn, Poland, when Meilech Loew started making mead and his sons turned concerned in wine distribution and advertising and marketing.
Through the late Thirties and Nineteen Forties, the household and its winemaking companies had been victims of the Holocaust. One focus camp survivor was Wolfgang — imprisoned within the Budapest political jail at 18 as a result of he was assumed to be a Polish spy after which despatched to Auschwitz on his nineteenth birthday. In 1954, he immigrated to America and altered his title to William. Virtually 30 years later, he and his spouse, Lois, purchased a 37-acre parcel in Mt. Ethereal, Md. They opened the vineyard a number of years later.
Rachel Lipman, their eldest granddaughter, was uncovered to the winery and vineyard at an early age. Ultimately, she would earn an enology certificates and work in a wide range of trade jobs. In November 2018, she returned to help full time with the vineyard, which has benefitted from her vitality and concepts, starting together with her devotion to telling the household’s story.
“The rationale we exist is due to our historical past,” she says. “And, because the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, that’s my duty to share it.”
As for operational modifications, the enterprise mannequin they’d previous to the pandemic was “old skool,” she says. “Folks would come by, attempt the wine, purchase the wine after which depart,” says Lipman, whose grandfather died in April 2022 (Lois continues to be concerned). “I began seeing different wineries providing sure issues throughout the pandemic that we weren’t. We needed to begin pivoting, determining: ‘How will we do this?’”
Lipman has overseen a transform of the manufacturing space, labored at rising the wine membership and checked out methods to make use of social media to attract new prospects to this small family-owned vineyard.
“We begin harvest on Tuesday,” she says. “It’s going to be actually laborious to not have my grandfather there. However the wines from this harvest, like each sooner or later, will honor him and make him proud.”
A brand new id and new concepts
Invoice and Penni Heritage nonetheless run their vineyard, which welcomed son Richard as director of selling and gross sales in 2009. Among the many lengthy record of modifications he has instituted, two stand out.
First, a rebranding, which was undertaken by necessity after the household realized of a West Coast producer that had the rights to their authentic vineyard title. Not lengthy after, William Heritage Vineyard turned the primary in New Jersey to earn 90 factors (for its classic brut) from Wine Advocate.
A call so as to add candy wine manufacturing drew “pushback” from Richard’s father over concern it might decrease the “notion of high quality of our drier wines.” They settled the disagreement by making a second model, referred to as Jersey, dedicated to candy wines.
Wealthy additionally began his household vineyard’s first wine membership (it now tops 2,000 members), and says the concept of nurturing the enterprise is what retains him centered. “I completely love our household farm. We’ve farmed the identical piece of land since 1853.
“Past love for the land, there’s a powerful household legacy hooked up to what we do,” he says. Over time, his brothers have joined him: Erik within the winery and Bryan in manufacturing. “I’ve an extremely robust urge to develop the enterprise in order that our household vineyard and our agricultural legacy can proceed on,” says Wealthy.
Get pleasure from what’s subsequent
All three people profiled right here share an identical attraction to the enterprise, an opportunity to convey their classroom and onsite schooling and improve what has already been established. It additionally means they’re enjoying a serious half in including one other technology to their household enterprise in an trade that Nissley calls “enjoyable to be in. Wine is supposed to boost no matter you’re doing with it, whether or not you’re with associates, household or having dinner,” he says. “To be in an trade the place enjoyable and pleasure is on the heart of it, that’s an ideal enterprise to be in.”
Paul Vigna is a author and editor in Harrisburg, Pa., who has been masking East Coast wines for 10 years. He was the primary winner of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Affiliation’s Birchenall Award in February 2018. You’ll find him on the Wine Classroom at www.pennlive.com and observe him on Twitter @pierrecarafe