For Courtyard, it all started with the love of good wine. And now, the enticement of each new discovery leads to a deep interest in the history of wine, the winemaking process and the never ending pursuit of the perfect pairing between a special culinary delight and a finely crafted wine.
Our founders are Randy and Laura Graham. Randy’s Lake Erie agricultural heritage started 3 generations ago as the “Lake Effect” was discovered – the weather pattern that provides an ideal climate needed to grow a variety of fruit crops along the south shore of Lake Erie. Randy was first exposed to grape growing through his great grandparents who packed baskets of fresh-picked grapes and sent them to New York City by railcar from North East. Laura’s grandparents were also fruit farmers who settled in the Bay Area of California.
It was in California that Randy and Laura met, and together their pursuit of the next great wine led them to many new experiences throughout California and finally to the decision to start growing grapes themselves. They decided to start this adventure not in California, but in the town of North East, Pennsylvania where the environment was also more to their liking for starting a family.
In 2007 after years of growing and selling grapes and making wine at home, they decided to add a winery to their 125 acre vineyard farming operation. Winemaking is a long process, as great wines truly start with attention to every detail in the vineyard. Courtyard Winery’s first wines were released in July of 2010. The winery was built with an intense focus on quality winemaking from the incoming fruit sorting table to high tech lab procedures used to evaluate each wine.
Today, there are over 30 varieties of grapes grown on 10,000 acres of vineyards in North East, Pennsylvania. We receive 14 different varieties of fresh picked grapes, some used for dry varietal wines and some for blended sweet wines. We have been awarded numerous medals throughout Pennsylvania and New York wine competitions for our winemaking efforts. Our winery also provides a wonderful atmosphere for a relaxing visit, and we welcome you to enjoy a glass of wine inside or outside on the Vineyard Veranda.
Randy & Laura Graham