Laurent, raises his foot up to a waist-high fallen tree. He is our tank/winery operations design guy from the South African company, Vinquip (

He sets his left hand on a little paw-paw tree for extra balance.

He lunges forward over the branch, and drops to the other side.

I follow in Laurents’ footsteps.

Tom, Polly, and Jon Levenberg (our winemaking consultant) are ahead, dodging pricker bushes and swimming through Paw-paw leaves.

We are just leaving the future winery site, where we were talking about dimensions and orientation, but conversation has not halted.

“That was where an old tenant house stood,” Polly points just behind her. Old bricks lie broken and scattered across the ground.

Jon is perplexed. “How did you find this spot?” he asks as he slides around a pricker bush. He points around to indicate that brush and broken tree limbs make such a place nearly inaccessible.

Tom stops and twists his body around to answer the question. Putting on a serious face, he states, “Well, when your family has lived here for 7 generations…”

he pauses, smacking his lips to hold back a smile. His eyes glow, “…you kind of know something about the land,” and a huge open-mouthed smile is revealed for a moment before he turns back into the brush.

Polly chimes in, “if you look at a Topo map, you can see it’s the highest place. There is an amazing view. From here you’ll be able to look out and see vineyards all around.”

Laurent shakes his head emphatically in agreement with Polly, and in an excited French/South African accent, he confirms along with her, “Yes, the highest.” “Yes, vineyards all around.”

I am enamored by the idea that in less than a years’ time (if the process goes smoothly), the winery will stand erect and ready for next years harvest.

Now that Laurent has seen the site, we can work out the kinks in the winery design.

We were planning on using gravity-flow, and Laurent has confirmed that the slope of the hill will cater to our operational needs. Excellent!

Onward we go!


About ANewVine

Developing the art of making fine Maryland wine. View all posts by ANewVine

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