Winemaking started as a hobby of Mr. Naylor’s in the late 60’s with dandelion wine being the first wine he ever made.
His interest in winemaking progress to the point that he planted a vineyard in his backyard at his home in York. He grew Concord, Niagara and Catawba. In 1972 he entered an amateur wine competition at the York Fair and won best in show three years in a row. It was then that he realized he could turn his passion into a successful business. Richard and his wife Audrey traveled all over the world visiting wineries and talking to the winemakers about their methods, and how to start their own winery in Pennsylvania.
Naylor Wine Cellars was officially founded 35 years ago by Richard and Audrey Naylor in 1978.
In 1977 Mr. Naylor produced the first 1600 gallons of wine in the original winery – a potato cellar underneath the chicken house that still stands on the property today. He would lug all of his grapes down the road to Blevins Fruit Farm and use their apple press to crush his grapes. Some of the first wines produced were York White Rose – a Chablis style dry white wine, First Capital – an Italian style red wine, and Niagara – a sweet and fruity wine that tastes like eating grapes right off the vine. Over 35 years later, those are still three of our most popular wines.
Over his long career in the wine industry, Mr. Naylor has been the Director of Wine America and President of the Pennsylvania Wine Association. For ten years, he taught classes at Penn State on how to grow grapes and make wine. He even designed a special shipping box he trademarked as “the ultimate wine cradle” which keeps bottles safe and secure in the shipping process.
Dick Naylor was also an advocate for the Chambourcin grape being cultivated in the United States which is a major contribution to wine in America. Recently, at the Eastern Wineries Expo 2014, I had a chance to try the Naylor Chambourcin 2013. The wine was beautiful! The wine started off with a big whiff of Bing cherries, complimented by blackberries and red currant and plum. This was a lush wine, with layers of spice, leather, and vanilla. Very well made.. Nice complexity and balance. Well balanced, with good tannins yet very, very drinkable. A wonderful Chambourcin from one of the grape's early proponents!!!