Bubbling Forth: Why Chester County's J. Maki Winery and Its Champagne Caused an International Stir

Ten years ago, the prestigious European wine competition, the Vinalies Internationales, put a tiny local vineyard—then known as French Creek Ridge Winery—on the map. And, there, it has stayed.

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“This is a whole different level of farming, and most people don’t understand about the glamour thing, which probably has a lot to do with the European tradition, and everyone going to France and Italy to check things out,” Haldy says. “There, it’s a different way of life. But then you get down to the nitty-gritty of champagne, and you get down into the caves over there in France, and you see how dark and dingy and unbelievably difficult it is. When you get into the real workload, any glamour associated with it is just gone.”

For Maki and Haldy, their passion comes from the wines they produce, the personal romance they share, and their combined delight in sharing the fruits of their work with others. It’s what led Maki to continue her work after the death of her late husband, Frank, in 2004 from esophageal cancer. It’s also what drew her and Haldy—himself a survivor of rectal cancer—together.

“That’s the thing about this—you have to be passionate about it,” says Haldy.

To learn more, visit jmakiwinery.com.

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