Our Family History
Did your mother ever rub concord wine on your gums as a child, to sooth a tooth breaking through? Did your grandmother ever give you a little blackberry wine to settle an upset stomach? Ours did, and here’s our story…….Our family, the Masser’s, (spelled with two 's' today) originated from the southwest part of Germany. There is history of growing grapes and making wine in our family dating back to the 1500s. North of Venice, Italy, at the base of the Alps, there is The Maser Villa, a beautiful Venetian villa built in the 1500s, and surrounded by vineyards. The whole area is known as the Maser grape growing area. In southern Germany there is a vineyard and winery with our name. It was, for us, surprising to find out that we have a connection with growing grapes and making wine so far back in history.Our family immigrated to the colonies in 1752; near the time the creek near the vineyard received its name Benigna. We settled in the Mahantongo Valley in the late 1700s. Our family has worked the land in this valley ever since. We however are the first to have a vineyard and winery. At first we thought that we were pioneers in our family, breaking away from row crops, fruit trees, livestock and vegetables, to grow grapes and have a winery. Only to find out that we really only came full circle to what our family has been doing for centuries. Life is full of ironies.In the late 1950s our father started an apple orchard, livestock and row crop farm. In the 1970s the orchard was pulled and the livestock and row crops prevailed. The farm grew until we had about 1,000 acres under cultivation and were selling 10,000 hogs a year. However, the switch to corporate farming in the 1990s signaled our leaving a life that we had known for so long. As we searched for a balance between supporting our family and our passion for working the land, an idea started to materialize. As you can imagine, farming is a family business – we spend lots of quality time together. Doing anything beyond having our own business was not an option. Today the equipment is gone and the animals are all sold. Yet the vineyard still has us rooted in the soil of the Mahantongo. The vineyard and winery have been a natural fit for us. It is something that is difficult to put into words. We seem to be able to grow grapes and make wine as if we always have been doing just that.In 1999 the first plants entered the ground. Two and a half acres were planted. In 2000 another eight acres were planted. Ground was broke for the winery in 2000 and we opened in 2001. The vineyard and winery stands in an area that was once fields of grain. Our immediate family built the vineyard and winery. The people in our family photo all had a hand in making the vineyard and winery. Husbands and wives, sons and daughters, young and old all helped. The family’s dedication and hard work made the vineyard and winery what it is today.As Christians, we see God’s hand in all that we do. It seems like a miracle when we sit back and look at all the family went through. It has not been easy, yet this is where God wants us to be. We are sure of that. We look with expectation to all the great vintages ahead. Turning the fruit of the vine into something special for all to enjoy, great wine!! GOD BLESS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!