A warm day, an over-sized Adirondack chair, and the clinking of glasses with a friend or loved one. How does that sound for a Saturday afternoon getaway? At Joseph Preli Farm and Vineyard you can enjoy all of this, along with a beautiful view of the vineyard.
John Yushkevich’s grandparents immigrated to America in 1912, living with relatives for eight years. In 1920 they purchased the farm, now known as the Joseph Preli Farm and Vineyard. Growing up, John learned how to use a tractor and tend to fruits and vegetables. Gaining experience and interest, he purchased the farm from his family 20 years ago. With support from his partner, Jeanne Ellice, John became successful in maintaining and growing the farm, leading him to expand it.
John and Jeanne joke that they were “peer pressured” into the expansion. Friends voiced their interest in purchasing the wine, however for years it had only been made for John's family's consumption. A little over a year ago, after enough pressure, they applied for their liquor license and started producing wine.
Joseph Preli Farm and Vineyard currently carries six to eight varieties of wine. Some of them are still waiting for approval. The fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, such as grapes, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and many others go into making each wine. Raspberry and strawberry are new this spring. John and Jeanne also make sure each wine is free of chemicals and sulfites. “We keep the wine as natural as we can,” Jeanne says.
Last year, their first year selling wine, was a success. It was such a success, despite the fact that they decided not to publicly advertise. People heard about it through word of mouth or by individuals passing by the farm. Their wines can be found at their farm, South Side Wine and Spirit Shoppe, and at Ricco’s restaurant in Glastonbury. John and Jeanne want to keep the wine as local as possible.
Each vintage carries a unique label that John designed himself. He names the different wines after people that had a positive influence on him. Labels carry the name of his grandfather, his mother, his mentor and others. The Giuseppe wine, named after his grandfather, is bottled with Concord grapes picked from the same vines that were on the farm in 1920.
In addition to their wines, they also produce two hard ciders, made with fresh apples. One of the hard ciders they offer is called “Snaggle Tooth,” a mixture of apples, oranges, and pineapples, giving it a fruity citrus blend.
John and Jeanne enjoy the work they do and educate each person that walks onto their farm. “People come to our fruit and vegetable stand and they’ll ask 10 different questions about how it’s grown,” Jeanne said. Customers and visitors will come to help pick fruits and vegetables and help bottle wine.
“We actually have a lot of young people who come who are in their twenties, they work in an office and they just want to get out and do something, so they’ll come and help us pick vegetables for a few hours.” Their customers always lend a helping hand.
The vineyard also offers a patio area for visitors and customers. That's where you'll find me this summer – relaxing and enjoying a packed lunch while sipping on a glass of Dario Blue, made with fresh blueberries.