Ken Albert has been growing grapes for more than 35 years. Starting in his back yard while working as an engineer with IBM, he was inspired by the thriving wine industry he saw during frequent business trips to Quebec.
After 33 years with IBM, Ken retired in 1998. Believing that viticulture and wine making could be a serious venture in Vermont, he leased 3 acres of land from Shelburne Farms and began his first commercial vineyard, sited just behind the majestic Breeding Barn.
Ken continued his studies in viticulture and oenology through seminars at Cornell University, conferences, professional journals and books. In 1999, he planted an additional 3 acres of grapes on land leased at Meach Cove near the beach in Shelburne.
In 2000, Scott Prom, an engineer at General Dynamics and a Shelburne resident heard about Ken’s early work and proposed a partnership. Scott’s experience making wine in Washington State for over 15 years had won him numerous medals in amateur competitions. Ken and Scott began making wine together and in 2000, Shelburne Vineyard produced its first vintage. It was released in 2001.
In 2006, our operations expanded to a 14 acre plot on route 7, the home of our state of the art winery and tasting room which opened for business in February 2008. Our winery and tasting room were built to LEED Green Building Standards and the grapes planted on this new site are all Northern Varietals – grapes developed in Minnesota and bred for superior cold hardiness.
In our newest 2010 venture, we have joined forces with Sam Coppola, a Montreal attorney and vineyard owner. This June, we planted over 3,500 Minnesota hybrid grapevines on his vineyard site in Charlotte. We will plant, manage and harvest all the grapes on the site for our use here at the winery. Eventually, we will expand our planting there to a full 10 acres of Northern Varietals.
Shelburne Vineyard has consistently received recognition and awards for our wines and in 2009 was named Sustainable Farm of the Year by the University of VT sustainable Agriculture Program.