Vineyard Visit

While we were in Chautauqua Lake a few weeks ago, we had a little extra time and decided to do a small vineyard tour. My grandparents were grape farmers and had a vineyard in Westfield, New York many years ago and as a child, I remember seeing it. I hadn’t been there in years and really had no idea what had become of it. I just remembered an old farm house, a creek with the best swimming hole and a gorge full of fossils and grapes, grapes, grapes and more grapes. But…I had no idea where it was, since it had been 20 years from when I had been there.

We stopped at the first winery that we came to. It was called Johnson Estate Winery and was on our way out of town.

We stopped in and tried their wines. It’s a beautiful vineyard on 200-acres…and they have lots of wine.

Award winning actually.

Jason and Nancy were great and we started talking to them. I explained that my grandparents had a vineyard near by and everything I remembered about it. Nancy was a great resource and pulled out the map of the area. Yep, I remembered the road names when I saw them…Hardscrabble Road…that is a hard one to forget! It turned out it was our next turn on the left. Ed was totally humoring my quest and being that he likes wine too was fine with continuing on to another vineyard.

Nancy told us that if anyone knew where it was, it would be Pete, the owner of the vineyard just around the corner. We decided what wines we wanted to take home (their ice wine was delicious…we’ll have to get some next time!) and headed on to see Pete.

As we turned the corner onto Hardscrabble Road and drove up the hill, I did a double take. That had to be the farm house. I just knew it and kept looking back at it. I said to Ed, “It’s either that one or the one up there on the hill. I’m sure of it.”

We walked into Noble Winery and were greeted by Pete Noble himself.

I explained my search and said, “Is this it?”. Pete confirmed that my gut instinct was correct. This WAS it! I fought hard to wipe back tears of joy and didn’t do a very good job. There was such a presence of my grandparents there. This was their everything…they worked the soil for years and planted the grapes, carefully tended them and now they were big and beautiful. Rows and rows and rows of them. It just felt right.

Pete explained that he purchased the farm from my grandparents in 1979, the year I was born. He told the story of how Grandpa went to the Farm Bureau to help Pete get a loan and the man behind the desk said it would be next…after he went through the two foot stack on his desk and the other stack piled on the floor next to his desk which reached the desk height. Grandpa would take none of that and marched with Pete into another office. He apparently came back a little while later, handed the commissioner the loan paper work and asked him to sign it then and there. And that was how Pete bought the farm. I can definitely see my Grandfather doing this. He was a very strong mannered, red head who didn’t tolerate being told he would have to wait, but he also had a great sense of humor.

So since 1979, Pete and his family have lived in the farmhouse, tended the grapes (lots of Concord grapes…Welch’s is located in Westfield and the wine grapes Grandpa imported from France to grow). Five years ago he opened the winery, now called, Noble Winery, to the public and it has been growing ever since. It is beautiful…up on the hill overlooking the vineyards with Lake Erie in the distance.

Our family has always had a German Shepard and lo and behold…the vineyard has one too. I’m sure it’s a farm requirement. Such a pretty doggy!

Anyways, we will definitely be back to visit it again. If you are ever in the area, make sure you stop at Noble Winery, ask for Pete and check it out!


Comments

6 Responses to “Vineyard Visit”
  1. What a beautiful story and photos, Becky! I’m posting a link at http://www.facebook.com/LakeErieWineCountry.

  2. Becky says:

    Thanks Lisa! We’ll be back to visit the area again and see more vineyards!

  3. Jennifer S. Johnson says:

    Becky,
    I’m so happy that you shared this personal story and wonderful pictures with us at Johnson Estate. I’ll make sure that Jason and Nancy hear the good news that your found your grandparents’ home!

    Jennifer Johnson (Mrs. Frederick Johnson)

  4. Becky says:

    Thanks Jennifer! Please do thank Nancy & Jason for me. They were great! We’ll be back to visit again in the future!

  5. Jason says:

    So glad that you were able complete your quest! Stop in again when you’re in the area

  6. Becky says:

    Thanks Jason! We will definitely be back to visit the next time we are in the area!

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