Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Winecellars is a family operated vineyard and winery nestled on 230 acres of picturesque rolling countryside, 4.5 miles northeast of historic New Market, Maryland.
Established by Jack and Lucille Aellen in 1971, our first 6 acres of vineyards were planted in 1972 and the winery opened in 1976 in the lower half of a 19th century post and beam barn which previously housed the farm's dairy operation. Using Lucille's father's hand winemaking equipment, we processed 6 tons of grapes our first year. In 1977, we held Maryland's first wine festival as a way to introduce our first vintage to the public. In 1978, to meet consumer demand, we introduced the state's first semi sweet grape wines, an off shoot of our German-Swiss winemaking heritage. With the knowledge and experience in the production of these lighter style wines came the introduction that same year of our honey and pure fruit wines.
By the early '80s, the winemaking responsibilities were taken over by Jack and Lucille's son Anthony. Also in the early '80s, new experimental grape varieties from the grape breeding program at Cornell University were planted in test plots in our vineyards. The success of many of these new hybrids has been shown in expanded acreage and dedication to winery production.
As the winery grew, so did our commitment to our customers. In 1982, we redesigned our tasting and sales facility to make it larger and more accessible to the public. That same year saw the expansion of both the festival grounds and the picnic areas. Since then our schedule has expanded to include 5 major festivals and more than 20 smaller indoor events throughout the year.
In 1983, recognizing the growing interest in regionally produced wines, Jack Aellen worked to establish the first federally designated grape growing area in Maryland, the Linganore Viticultural Area, which encompasses 90 square miles of land around the winery in the heart of Maryland.
In 1989, we introduced our custom label program for special occasions, private and corporate functions, and weddings.
In 1990, Anthony introduced dry fruit wines to our customers as an alternative to dry grape wines.
Also in mid 1990, Jack and Lucille's youngest son, Eric, took on the management of the vineyards.
By 1997, expansion was in the works again with the addition of a new 5,000 sq. ft. warehouse and bottling facility which moved this part of the production out of the original dairy barn where the winery operation remained. This move saw the upgrade of bottling equipment from an all manual system which could handle 12 bottles per minute to a semi automatic line at 22 bottles per minute.
In 1999, expansion was in the works again with the addition of a 6,000 sq. ft. state of the art tank room and processing facility. This addition increased our capacity to over 100,000 gallons with enough expansion room to take us to close to 200,000 as we grow. We installed a German membrane press and numerous refrigerated tanks in the press room and banks of refrigerated fermentation tanks in the tank room which increased juice quality and in turn increased the quality of the finished wine.