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   The sprawling farmland of western Kent County is about as far from Bordeaux, France, as a wine connoisseur can get, but Delaware’s newest vineyard and the famous wine-making region of France actually have a lot in common; they both harbor an environment conducive to producing exceptional wines. Chuck Nunan knew this when he opened Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel last year. "A study was done in 1992 on the Bordeaux region in France to find regions that might have similar conditions for growing grapes. Low and behold, it turned out to be Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and southern New Jersey. There’s a new wine region called the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region. There are over 55 wineries in the region and we’ll rival Sonoma. Our malbecs and our merlots are absolutely phenomenal," said Nunan.

   Nunan has been making wine since 1995, turning what started as a basement hobby into a family operation. He planted the first grapes on his Kent County farm in 2011. Visitors to the winery can sample the vineyard’s many fine wines for just $5—and they get to keep the glass. There are a variety of choices for customers to choose from to satisfy their palates, everything from sweet white wines to dry reds; the malbec is one of Nunan’s favorites. The tasting room resembles an old general store and a larger room is used to house the vineyard’s many events. Harvest Ridge employs five full-time employees and several part-time employees.

   Nunan has big plans to grow his new brand. According to Nunan, "I want to build a brand for Delaware. I want people to understand that Delaware can produce great wines." Nunan and his family take great pride in what they produce and he said one of the reasons he opened the winery was to teach his grandchildren about the value of hard work and sacrifice. "The purpose of this whole venture is so my grandchildren will know what it’s like to work. My granddaughter is 17; last year she worked in the vineyard. All she did last year was pull leaves and tuck vines. All my grandchildren will know what it’s like to work, to sweat and to earn $10 an hour."

   Despite the hectic schedule of running a busy vineyard, Nunan has found ways to give back to his community—hosting a fundraiser on the Marydel property for veterans as well as planning a fall event to raise money for the A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital. This summer, visitors can enjoy Blue Hen Blue, a new semi-sweet red wine. In the fall, Harvest Ridge will debut two types of hard cider, the only hard cider to be produced in the First State. Music lovers can also enjoy food, drink and live entertainment every Friday and Saturday at the vineyard this summer. Nunan said there’s always something happening at Harvest Ridge, the start of a great adventure for him, his family and the community. "Have you seen Kevin Costner’s field of dreams? This is mine," he said.


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