Generation Next: The Acadian Wine Company arrives in West Grove02/22/2022 03:24PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw Pennsylvania winemaker Kyle Jones recently purchased the nearly eight-acre Kreutz Creek Vineyards in West Grove, where he will own and operate The Acadian Wine Company.
By Richard L. Gaw
When winemaker Kyle Jones first arrived at Kreutz Creek Vineyards in West Grove last November, he was there to purchase equipment from Jim and Carole Kirkpatrick, who were retiring after owning and operating the vineyard for the past 25 years.
There, high on the hill, Jones saw the enveloping sweep of the vineyards’ nearly eight acres, tumbling gently eastward.
Everything that Jones had ever wanted and needed as a winemaker was already there, firmly entrenched and permanent. Vines as thick and sturdy as heavy rope were meticulously lined up in neat rows. A small but efficient production facility stood in the center of the vineyard. The spacious and airy home the Kirkpatricks lived in offered beautiful views of the vineyard below, and could be easily converted into a wine tasting area for guests.
It was all there in front of Jones like a dream fulfilled, and last December, he became the new owner of the vineyard and proceeded to give it a new name: The Acadian Wine Company.
“I have been making wine for several years, and while I don’t come from a family that has land, we have owned businesses, so the potential of owning a winery as a business was always there for me,” said Jones, who had been the head winemaker at Nissley Vineyards & Winery in Lancaster County until 2021. “Winemaking is a creative outlet for me, but starting from scratch in the wine industry seems like a daunting undertaking, but the potential of our growing regions and taking over a turn-key operation has made this more achievable.”
In his welcome letter to
patrons of Kreutz Creek Vineyards, Jones detailed what he was inheriting – four acres of 20-year
growth of Vitis vinifera (common grape vine) and three acres of complex Vitis
vinifera hybrid grape
vines, among them
some complex Bordeaux varieties. The coincidence was uncanny, he wrote, given his family’s origins in Europe.
“The Winemaker in this instance (Jones) is a descendent of the Acadians who brought some of these same types of grapevines with them across the Atlantic to North America in the early 1600s from the territory of France,” Jones wrote. “Learning to adapt and partner with the land and its inhabitants is the primary tradition of the Acadian people.
“Likewise, the grapevines contained in these vineyards have flourished from twenty-five years of growth and adaptation in this site.”
Accompanied by his dog Lilly and friends and family, Jones – who recently took over wine-making responsibilities at Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg -- is currently preparing his vineyards for the growing of Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Vidal, as well as converting several rooms in the middle level and exterior deck of the former Kirkpatrick home to what will become a tasting area.
“I want this to be a space where people can partake in a celebration of wine,” he said. “We want our guests to be welcomed here to our ‘home,’ where they can enjoy the fruits of our labor on this magnificent piece of property.
Jones enters another growing season knowing all too well that the life of a winemaker is both a labor of love and an investment in both science and creativity – and all of it dependent upon the intangibles of the climate the grapes grow in. As a Pennsylvania winemaker, Jones is at a double advantage; the commonwealth ranks as the nation’s fourth-largest producer of wine, accounting for 1.5 percent of the total volume, behind California, Washington and New York. In addition, the rocky soil and micro-climate in the county makes the area particularly well suited to growing many varieties of grapes.
Consequently, Chester County has continued to emerge as a major player on the regional wine scene, highlighted by over one dozen wineries and tasting rooms that are drawing visitors from the entire Mid-Atlantic and beyond.
‘Capable of standing on the world stage’
“The winemaking region in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania is capable of standing on the world stage,” Jones said. “There is no excuse to produce bad wine. If I believe that wine is a communal experience and not just separate pillars on their own hills -- there has to be a cohesiveness of winemakers. We’re not competitors, but collaborators.”
While there is no reference book that demonstrates how a winemaker can blend together the business, creative and entertainment aspects of owning a winery, Jones said that it often comes down to the small details
“I have painted the bar top white because when I walk into a wine tasting room and pick up a glass of wine on a wooden bar, I can’t see the wine,” he said. “That level of attention – and intention – is what is underpinning everything.”
When The Acadian Wine Company kicks off its first year this April, its first harvest will still be several months away, so Jones is developing a menu of wines from other regions to serve guests during 2022 – including wines he himself has made in Pennsylvania.
“I will be welcoming guests into my ‘home’ and offering them wines that I have made and stand behind, without question,” he said. “I will be able to put my wine on the table beside varietals from California, Italy and France and unabashedly say, ‘this is Pennsylvania wine, and it belongs here.’
“I may be the next generation of winemakers in this region, but I stand on the shoulders of giants. All of the work that they have done makes what I do possible. While I have experience as a winemaker in Pennsylvania, I hope to be ingratiated within this community. The rising tide helps to elevate us all, as long as we all pull our anchors up.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected].