Thursday, January 03, 2013

Crow Farm & Vineyard (MD)


Roy and Judy Crow, owners of the beautiful 365-acre working farm located in Kennedeyville, MD, have succeeded in implementing sustainable changes to their third generation family farm by adding new opportunities for growth while still preserving its original flavor.

A new business plan allowed for farming operations to be expanded beginning with the renovation of their 1847 family farmhouse into the Crow Farmstay B&B. This change created a communal feel, giving people a firsthand experience of farm operations, such as corn production, angus beef, small flock of chickens, hay, etc.

A movement in Kent County promoting grape growing to farmers in the area prompted the Crows to begin their next development.

“We knew that growing grapes was something that would fit well with our overall business plan,” said Roy Crow, which then expanded the business to include vineyard manager son Brandon Hoy, Schmidt Vineyard Management Company to help guide operations, ShoreVines as a valuable promotion partner, as well as becoming members of the Maryland Grape Growers Association. All of these additions led to the planting of 3 ½ acres in 2010 contributing towards the production of wine.

John Levenberg began a five year commitment with the Crows as a wine maker and business consultant, along with training the family in viniculture preparing them for the business once the commitment expires. At this point, the Crow’s daughter-in-law, Brook Shuman, now the winery manager, will become the Crow Farm Wine Maker. The following year, 2011, led them to produce their first wine, a Vidal Blanc, which won a bronze medal in the Maryland Governors Cup along with gaining mentions in many travel publication magazines.

“We take pride in our family operation and have found that growing grapes is another value added product for our farm. We enjoy sharing our success and challenges stories with our farmstay guest as well as the folks just stopping by for the day to sample our wine,” said Crow.

The Crows have worked hard to expand and diversifying their farm. As a family business, Roy handles all business finance operations and his wife, Judy, is marketing and tasting room manager. Their renovated milk house acts as the new tasting room and the winery is what used to be a farm equipment shed. Inviting to all guests, the Crows are prideful of their farm both through its originality and historic aspect as well as its modern flexibility as it makes changes to accommodate new products and ideas.

Roy gives us a final expression on how the wine business will fit in with his family: “Long days of hard work to create high quality product is what we are used to doing. Growing grapes and making wine suits our family very well.”
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