Although running a family business can be challenging, the crew at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard wouldn’t want it any other way. Sharon Rubin Levine says, “It’s second nature to us.” The vineyard is a family-owned business that offers—in addition to wine—live music, local beer and a venue for weddings, a place, says Rubin Levine, with casual elegance.
“We try to keep that feel; that was important to our father,” Rubin Levine says. “He wanted everything as natural as possible.” To honor the patriarch, who was dedicated to organic farming, Baiting Hollow has released a new line, Sam’s Legacy, a wine produced from grapes sources from the first half-acre Rubin planted when he was 70.
Their father bought the land in 1988, but waited until 2007 to open the tasting room. Dedicated to organic farming, their patriarch was committed to growing naturally; the vineyard uses no chemical herbicides and hand-weeds the rows.
Soon the tasting room drew more than wine lovers when Rubin Levine received an e-mail about horses destined for the slaughter house. She decided they had room for at least one horse. “There is nothing like baptism by fire,” she says.
Now the vineyard houses 26 horses, who are free to roam on three acres. The sanctuary, Baiting Hollow Farm Horse Rescue, prioritizes young and untrained horses when adopting. It complements their vineyard business in some ways, but Rubin Levine admits that many think that the family can fully fund the operation with proceeds from the vineyard. However, taking care of 26 horses with different appetites and needs is costly. They hope to open a pony camp this summer to help assuage costs. As Rubin Levine says, “They eat like horses.”