Garage doors

Grapes aren’t the only sun worshipers to find a home in this Delaware winery

There is perhaps no more aptly named vineyard on the East Coast than Vineyard and cellar of salted vines in Frankford, in the southeast corner of Delaware.

Known for some time as Fenwick Wine Cellars, owners Adrian and Jessica Mobilia in 2015 made two big decisions: They got married in the middle of summer and within months bought a 26 acre farm in Frankford. , near.

At the end of 2015, they closed the doors to the Fenwick wine cellars and began the process of building a larger facility on this new property they had purchased. Over time, they planted the first 1,600 vines of the cellar, composed of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the idea of ​​adding to the vineyard each spring, until the end. Grapes were something that at least Adrian was used to, having grown up in the Northeast, Pennsylvania, in the middle of Lake Erie wine country. His family founded and still operate Arrowhead Wine Cellars the.

Salted Vines opened in November 2016 with a building that included a rustic tasting room, large covered patio, patio production room and service bar as well as plenty of outdoor space. It is located 11 miles west of Bethany Beach.

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Its wine contains the expected mix of dry and sweet, along with beers and slushies, complemented by cheese and chocolate available for purchase. There are the grape varieties you’d expect to see, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a few grape varieties such as Teroldego and Viognier that aren’t as plentiful on mid-farmer’s menus. Atlantic. One of the most interesting blends of Bohemian Red, a blend of Syrah, Malbec and Frontenac.

Located at 32512 Blackwater Road, the winery is open noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Below is the latest round of ‘6 questions’ interviews with East Coast winemakers and vineyard owners, who look at what has been a turbulent year and, hopefully, look ahead. . Thanks to Adrian Mobilia for accepting this.

1, For my readers who are new to your winery, and it’s probably a lot of them, what can they expect in terms of ambiance and amenities (food, events)?

Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery is a 26-acre winery located in southern Delaware, in the resort town of Bethany Beach. The atmosphere inside our large tasting room is rustic industrial with a large wall of wooden pallets, stained concrete floors, concrete counters, and shelves for gas pipes on the walls. We have a beautiful patio with glass garage doors that can be closed or opened to suit the season. The winery is surrounded by vines and a large side yard for entertainment and relaxation. We usually have a food truck on the weekends as well as live music. We also offer a full series of concerts each year. Salted Vines has been voted Sussex County’s Best Vineyard for the past 3 consecutive years, and also won the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce ‘Best in Business’ award in 2018.

The Founder Salted Vines blend is a dry wine made from 62% Merlot with almost 20% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

2, how many acres and everything you do is grown on the estate? You started with Merlot and Cab Sauv, but I see adding Malbec and Vermentino: how do they grow and what else do you plan to plant?

The property is 26 acres in total. We currently have 4 acres planted and we usually plant a new acre every year or two. So far the varieties we have are doing very well. This will be the first harvest of the Vermentino, but they are growing well. We plan to plant other varieties such as Teroldego, Syrah, Cab Franc, Tannat, Viogner, Chardonnay, etc.

3, How hard is it to get the word out about a Delaware vineyard, and I’m not asking a critical question? What obstacles did you have to overcome and how did you go about getting the word out?

Not really! We are in a seaside resort, so we regularly receive tens of thousands of visitors to the region. They do a wonderful job spreading the word to their family and friends.

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When I started the winery in 2010 under the name Fenwick Wine Cellars, it was a big mistake. We had to get over the fact that the name didn’t spell out exactly what we were, so people stopped all the time thinking we were a liquor store. The other problem was that we were in a place with our little vineyard across the street. It neither looked nor looked like a cellar. So in 2015 we bought the farm we are currently on and moved the business here. We opened as Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery in November 2016 and haven’t looked back!

4, fascinated by your northeastern roots and the transition to Delaware. When did you both develop your interest in wine?

I am a fourth generation winemaker from Northeastern Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie. I grew up with grapes, cherries (sweet and sour), peaches and apples. While studying horticulture at PSU, my father decided that we should open a winery. So, after a year of planning and developing a business plan, we renovated our agricultural market and opened Arrowhead Wine Cellars in July 1998.

My mom and dad still own and operate this business. After working on the farm and in the winery for a few years, I left the family business and took a job with the world’s largest juice maker, Cliffstar Corporation. I was in charge of their relations with the producers and was responsible for purchasing grapes, cranberries and other fruits as needed to meet bottling needs. I then moved to the beach in 2008 and decided it would be fun to start my own winery. In January 2010, I therefore launched Fenwick Wine Cellars.

Vineyard and cellar of salted vines

A glimpse of the tasting room at Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery. The tasting room is open every day. It is located in Frankford, Delaware.

My interest is more focused on growing grapes, winemaking is a means to an end, but I have some great people who take care of this for me.

5. How was the last year and is there anything you started during the pandemic that you plan to continue?

2020 was interesting because it started well, then March 15th hit and we were closed until June 1st. Summer and fall were extremely busy here. We were busier than ever, as we provided an outdoor place where people felt safe. We had to pivot quickly and adapt to government regulations, as well as give customers what they thought they wanted. We weren’t allowed to do tastings, so we started offering flights for them. It made sense and we will continue the flights, and we will change the way we organize the tastings to make it a more upscale, intimate experience.

6, what do you know now that you didn’t when you started? And have you noticed in 5 years that the overall tastes of your customers are changing?

I am the fourth generation and I am always learning something new every day! We generally see the young start off sweet and progress to a more sophisticated palate as they mature.

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