From the moment we saw the old barn in 1866, Brenda and I knew about the gift from the Brookmere Winery in Belleville. Owners Cheryl and Ed Glick were happy to share the winery's history and other interesting facts with us. Previous owners Susan and Donald Chapman planted the first three acres of vineyards in 1988. The winery opened for the first time in 1984 and since then it has 655 routes.
In 1995 Cheryl Glick Chapmans went to work at the winery. In 1999, he met with staff at Ed's Winery and began the process of making wine. When the Chapmans decided to sell the winery, they bought the Glick's there and followed the fine tradition of Brookmere. Today, Glicks grows 10 hectares of grapes, including French hybrid varieties such as Chellois, Vidal, Seyval and Chambourcin. These account for between 35% and 40% of the 13,000 gallons of wine that Brookmer produces annually. The remaining vines come from other Pennsylvania growers. Most of Brookmere's wine is fermented in steel containers, although some are grown in oak barrels. The bottling line can handle between 150 and 200 bottles per hour and the entire bottling process takes about three months a year.
Glick has the potential and desire to expand the vineyard and winery to 20,000 gallons a year. When I asked them about the impact the current economic crisis may have on sales, they answered that there was no impact. People think wine is a relatively inexpensive luxury and they will not give up. It makes a great gift that doesn’t break the budget. In fact, Glicks told me that holiday sales in 2008 were higher than in 2007. There are things Cheryl and Ed would like to see change in the Pennsylvania laws governing wine sales. Under current law, Brookmere can only sell wine within a small radius of the winery. They would like to expand that number and radius. They also want to be able to ship wine to more states. They would have no problem, if the arrangements were reciprocal and they could send wineries from other states to Pennsylvania. In Ed's words, "we are not hurting or hurting ourselves."