Who says Boston cannot produce great wine? It just takes a bit longer from "vineyard" to the bottle.
The Elyse Winery, located in Napa, California, has celebrated 25 harvests however one could say that the original seeds of the Elyse vineyards were planted in Boston. Elyse Winery is owned by Ray and Nancy Coursen, and they grew up on opposite coasts, Ray on the East Coast in New Jersey and Nancy on the West Coast in the San Francisco Bay area. Despite this great distance, it seemed the gods of the vine saw fit to bring them together.
Ray eventually attended the Stockbridge Agricultural College at the University of Massachusetts, and while attending school also worked at Bauer Wine & Spirits on Newbury Street in Boston. It was at Bauer that Ray became enamored with French wine, and the first seed of Elyse was planted. Nancy acquired a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, and took a job working with special needs children in Boston.
In 1982, Ray worked at the former Callahan's Steakhouse in Newton and that is where he met Nancy, who was a customer. Sparks flew and another seed was planted for Elyse. In fact, in the next year they traveled together to Napa Valley with the goal of starting a winery. A passion for wine brought them together and they spent the next years trying to transform their ideas into a reality.
First, Ray worked for some other wineries, gaining valuable knowledge and experience. Ray and Nancy also became innkeepers for a bed and breakfast. Their daughter, Elyse Sarah, was born in 1986 and the next year saw the birth of their own wine label, named after their daughter, and the production of a few hundred cases of Zinfandel. Their son, Jake, was born in 1990 and they eventually created a label for him as well, Jacob Franklin. Finally, in 1997, they purchased their own winery and vineyard, which you can now visit and taste their wines.
The Elyse Winery produces only about 10,000 cases annually though the wines are available nationally and internationally. They state that their "focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food." They produce around 13 different wines under the Elyse label, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and some using Rhone grapes. I was intrigued by these Rhone style wines and received samples of three of them. And after tasting them, I am pleased that I had the opportunity to taste these gems.
Seek out the wines of Elyse Winery, especially their Rhone-style wines, and see what the "seeds" of Boston have brought forth.