Guests on the November 16, 2015 “The Chris Wolf Show” were Elmer and Holly Savage of the Savage Oaks Vineyard in Union, Maine.
The show was about the vineyard and how they got there. But it also was about how a family in Maine can take a farming business and morph it from a less viable form into one that has a great future in a much for sustainable form. The show should be of interest not only to local wine aficionados, but also those interested in making small family farms and small businesses work in Maine.
The show was broadcast on WRFR Community Radio, Channel 7 Maine Coast TV, and streamed live on www.mainecoast.tv/streaming.
Elmer and Holly Savage, along with their two sons, operate Barrett Hill Farm in Union, Maine. Elmer began farming here in 1985 when the farm was purchased by his parents. Since then, the farm has been home to a flock of sheep as well as Belted Galloway cattle. Today the sheep are gone, but the cattle remain.
In 2000, they purchased the 95 acre farm from Elmer’s parents and began planning for its future. The desire to preserve the farming tradition here needed to coexist with the financial realities of agriculture. The farm’s blueberry fields offered great potential, but the lack of profitability for blueberry growers gave them incentive to look for possible value added products for their crop.
They began to explore some of the great blueberry wines being produced. This soon led to the possibility of growing grapes as well. They were impressed by the opportunity to expand into this niche market. They explored vineyards and wineries near and far, and found people willing to help around every corner.
In 2002, they planted the first two acres of their vineyard. Since that time, they have expanded to nearly four acres with ten varieties of grapes. They have spent the past thirteen years growing our vineyard from the ground up and advancing our wine making from hobby level to small scale commercial production. 2015 marks their tenth vintage.