MEET our WINEMAKERS
“A winemaker has to have a deep connection to the vineyard, knowing where the fruits are coming from and understanding the elements that affect the fruit. Once the winemaking process starts, it’s the winemaker’s duty to continue with the vineyard expression and thus try not to manipulate or damage it. They are carrying the torch, so to speak, of what started in the vineyard.”
– Ian Modestow, Black Birch Vintner
Our makers, Ian and Michelle, had their first experience in the world of winemaking during their very first winery visit in the Loire Valle in France back in 1990 as a young couple. They spent the week camping at a modest vineyard by the Loire river bank speaking with farmers and winemakers and tasting delicious handcrafted wines. The experience drove an appreciation of grape-growing culture, and it sparked a passion for the art and craft of winemaking.
Since then, wine has become the focal point for most of their travels, allowing them to learn the many winemaking traditions and methods used in vineyards in Burgundy, Champagne, Penedes, Napa, Sonoma, Tuscany, Mosel, Mittelrhien, Ahr, Reingau, and more. Over these years, Ian and Michelle developed a personal philosophy on wine and winemaking methods influenced by vineyards all over the world. Twenty years later, Ian and Michelle have 5 award-winning wines and a 12 acre vineyard in Hatfield, MA.
Using the same high-density planting method they first learned about in their first trip to Loire Valle, our winemakers experiment with the many variety of grapes that thrive in the Northeast like Traminette and Cabernet Franc. Using farming, harvesting, pressing, and aging methods from the Old World and New, they hope to recreate and redefine what wine is in the Connecticut Valley region. Above all, Ian and Michelle believe in an authentic, hands-on approach to crafting exceptional wines. Through hard work and know-how, they are committed to creating refined, small batch wines that inherently elevate the artistry of winemaking.
“Our style is an Old World focus with wines that focus on the varietal rather than the blend. Small batches from difficult vintages or small batches from difficult varietals are hallmark of Old World vineyards. The key is quality wine, not just wine.”
– Michelle Kersbergen, Black Birch Vintner