History of the Name
The name of the winery is taken from the area’s history. The Mahantongo Creek flows by the vineyard on the south side of the vineyard. This trout stream was once named Benigna’s Creek. In the middle 1700’s, a man by the name of Nicolas von Zinzendorf came to the colony of Pennsylvania from Bavaria. He brought his 16 year old daughter, Benigna, with him to Pennsylvania.
They traveled to Bethlehem, PA. From Bethlehem, Zinzendorf traveled the Tulpehocken Trail north through Indian country to the Indian settlement of Shamokin (present day Sunbury). He planned to bring the Gospel to the Indians. It appears he did not have much success evangelizing the Indians, in fact, narrowly escaped with his life on several occasions.
On his trip north, he passed by what would one day be our vineyard. When he saw the beautiful stream that flows here, he named it Benigna’s Creek. We actually have a copy of an old map that is displayed at the winery along with photos of Benigna and her family.
Zinzendorf eventually left PA and went home to Bavaria. Benigna settled in the Bethlehem area. She would start the first all girls’ school in America. George Washington actually sent a letter to Benigna asking if his grand-nieces could attend her school.
In the grape industry, a site where the grapes can see water is considered good because there is often good air drainage down to the water. Our vineyard overlooks Benigna’s Creek. So for us, the name Benigna’s Creek was a natural choice for a unique name for the vineyard and winery and a chance to preserve some local history.