For Courtyard Winery and the Grahams, it all started with the love of good wine. The enticement of each new discovery leads to a deep interest in the history of wine and the winemaking process. Randy’s grape growing heritage started 3 generations ago when his great grandparents settled in this rich farmland near the south shore of great Lake Erie. Back then most farms included a variety of fruit crops including grapes that were hand picked and packed into baskets and sent 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 back to 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. To help the transition from home winemaking to a commercial winery, Randy enrolled in a winemaking program with the University of California at Davis, certainly considered to be the premier winemaking institution in the US.
After receiving a Limited Winery License in 2009 and receiving their first commercial grape harvest in the fall of 2009 at their farm shop, it was time to find a good location for their new winery business. On July 17th of 2010 Courtyard Winery opened it’s doors at the current location on West Main Road in the historic town of North East.