Stetson winery becomes a family affair
Four generations are now part of Dragonfly Farm & Winery
STETSON, Maine (WABI) - More than 15 years after its founding, a popular winery in Stetson is under new ownership. TV5′s Brittany McHatten paid a visit to the family now at the helm of Dragonfly Farm.
It all started with a text message from Becky Crane to the family group chat.
“I was on Facebook and I saw the listing [for Dragonfly Farm & Winery],” Becky explained. “At 5:30 in the morning, I sent it out to all the kids. It wasn’t 6:00 or 6:30, they all said, yes, they wanted to be wine makers.”
Steve Crane needed a little more convincing than his kids, but it wasn’t long before he was on board, too. In August 2020, the Cranes officially took over.
“I saw the enthusiasm in my children and how excited they were to work together,” Steve said. “Being from the farming background, I could see how things were gonna go. I knew it was going to be hard work, but so far, we’ve been really happy with the way things have gone.”
Steve is co-owner of Crane Brothers Potato Farm in Exeter, but wine making was a completely new concept for his family .
“It was a learning process just learning to make wine... None of us had made wine prior to this,” said Megan Wei, one of the Cranes’ daughters.
“I honestly was more of a beer drinker prior to my experience here,” Megan’s husband Ben Wei admitted. “But, I’ve definitely learned to love wine and appreciate it. We have the best wine!”
The family worked closely with the farm’s founders and previous owners, Todd and Treena Nadeau, during the transition.
While they say it’s important to keep many of the existing traditions in place, they’re putting their own spin on operations.
“We are making all the same wines, but we’ve added a few to the selection,” Megan said. “Our most recent is Blu-Razz, which is a blueberry/raspberry wine. Our fans who like the blueberry wine, which is very sweet, and the raspberry riot, which is more of a dry wine, it kind of blends the two and makes a nice combination.”
One of the most noticeable changes is a brand-new deck. The family added it as a result of the coronavirus pandemic forcing them to take their tastings outdoors.
“We used to have tastings in here, obviously in our tasting room,” said Douglass Pitts, fiancé of the Cranes’ other daughter Chelsea. “Because of COVID, we weren’t able to have the proper amount of capacity in here that we would need to have a tasting, so we brought it outside! So far, it’s the best place to be. There’s no better seat in the house than on the deck drinking a glass of Candle Waster.”
The Cranes have another son and his fianceé, along with the help of their parents. With Ben and Megan’s son Evan, it’s four generations involved with Dragonfly.
Navigating a new venture -- alongside family, during a pandemic -- had its challenges, but with most COVID restrictions lifted in Maine, the Cranes are hoping to see their business bloom.
“With everything [that’s happened with COVID] and all the changes that we’ve had, it’s great to be going back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Chelsea Crane.
She said she’s looking forward to “seeing everyone, seeing their faces and interacting with customers.”
“The customers come here and tell you how much they like it,” Becky said. “That is thanks to the Nadeaus, because they were such great people to work with. Everybody talks about them, so hopefully in the future we’ll have people talk about our family, and the kids that do the winemaking, like they do the Nadeaus.”
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