Terrapin Station Winery was Morris' idea, born his deep interest in grapes and wine. Willing to take risks and think differently, he didn't want to build a winery based on old, stuffy ideas of how grapes should be grown and wine should be made. Instead, he likes to try anything new and innovative that makes a better product for the consumer with less impact on the environment. For example, he wants to try grapes that grow well where it's planted, minimizing chemical sprays whenever possible and creating new and different wines from the norm. Another example is our bag-in-box packaging, both unique in Maryland and in a size not commonly found. Has every idea worked? No, but that is all part of the fun, right?
If the Winery was Morris' idea, it was Janet that worked to make it a practical reality. Our 44 acre farm is Janet's family farm where she grew up. Her family wanted to keep it agricultural and in the family, but a small farm like ours is not sustainable using field crops due to lack of size. Janet worked with her family to see how we could keep the farm rural by growing grapes and selling wine. And selling wine she does: Janet is our sales leader, visiting our great retailers and restaurants around the state and conducting tastings away from the winery. Janet also works with our evolving Tasting Room to make sure that we make the experience at the winery the best that it can be.
Our Vineyard Manager and lead Cellar Rat, Rob did not come to the Winery as a wine guy but a beer guy. He continues to homebrew and is making the case for us to add beer to our product line. In the mean time, Rob is the guy who makes sure that our vines are managed properly throughout the growing season to make sure we have the best grapes possible at the harvest. But at harvest he earns the nickname "the Skipper", organizing and managing the crushpad during those incredibly long days of processing grapes and starting the journey of making grapes into wine. Look for Rob at the winery when you want to take a tour.
When we finally got around to opening a tasting room in the summer of 2010, we were anxious. Selling at festivals, stores and restaurants is one thing, but bringing people on site and creating a nice experience for them is a different prospect altogether. Luckily, Robyn came on board. She already knew about the winery since her husband "the Skipper" was already managing the vineyard. But "Mary Ann" also understands how to treat people well and get them excited about what we are doing. She is always looking for ways to make the experience for folks fun and informative, and does all of the little things to keep our tasting room looking like a welcoming place.
Stuart joined Robyn in the tasting room last year to help us launch it successfully. Where "Mary Ann" takes a light touch to working out how our tasting room works, "Thurston Howell" challenges our assumptions and gives us a healthy dose of reality when it's needed. He also is great at working with our visitors to help them find the wines they like, and to have them try something that maybe they wouldn't have considered. Stuart is always thinking about how we present our wines and makes sure that the winemaking guys are doing what is necessary to make the customers happy with the product.
Linda, being Janet's sister, knows all about our farm as well. Linda has done just about everything at the winery in helping get it started: pruning vines, picking grapes, punching down red wine caps, festivals, store tastings and working in the tasting room. She can also tell you about the history of the farm, and even history about Elkton and Cecil County. Think of her as your local tour guide. And like Morris and Janet, she's a fellow Terp.