Adrian Mobilia is the Owner and President of Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery. Adrian is a fourth-generation grape grower born and raised on his family’s farm in North East Pennsylvania, where he grew up working in the vineyard. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in horticulture, and shortly after getting married, purchased a 26-acre farm in Frankford, Delaware, where he opened Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Adrian Mobilia shares his journey to opening Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery
- How Adrian coaches nearby wineries so he can generate visitors and grow his business
- What are the conditions that affect grape growing in Delaware?
- Adrian’s criteria for crafting his wine
- Tips for a successful winery
- What’s in store for Salted Vines’ expansion?
- How Salted Vines acquires their grapes
- Who is Adrian’s role model in the wine industry?
In this episode with Adrian Mobilia
Starting and maintaining a successful vineyard and winery requires careful consideration. Many vineyard and winery owners craft their products without much regard for the consumer. Learn from one fourth-generation grape grower about how to hone your craft for a gratifying customer experience.
According to Adrian Mobilia, vineyard and winery owners must have a strong understanding of their population. Knowing who your consumers are is a crucial foundation for establishing a unique, local winery. And, with a knowledge of your area’s growing conditions and peak harvesting season, you can broaden your wine selection to appeal to a range of customers.
Join Drew Hendricks and Bianca Harmon on this episode of Legends Behind the Craft with Adrian Mobilia, Owner and President of Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery, as they talk about the internal operations of a successful vineyard and winery. Adrian discusses the conditions affecting grape growing in Delaware, how he crafts his wine for consumers, and tips for maintaining a successful vineyard and winery.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Bianca Harmon on LinkedIn
- Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery
- Salted Vines on Facebook
- Adrian Mobilia on LinkedIn
- Hilary Cocalis on Legends Behind the Craft
- James King on Legends Behind the Craft
- Lawrence Francis on Legends Behind the Craft
- Michelle and Tyler Bredeson on Legends Behind the Craft
- Diego Barison on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at email@example.com to schedule a strategy call.
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.
Drew Hendricks 0:19
Drew Thomas Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Past guests of Legends Behind the Craft include Hilary Cocalis of Simple Wine Co James King of King Family Vineyards, and Lawrence Francis of Interpreting Wine. If you haven’t listened to these yet, be sure to check them out and subscribe. Today’s episode, sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead we work with you implement a one of a kind marketing strategy, one that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Today, I also have Bianca Harmon on the show who’s one of our direct to consumer marketing strategists of Barrels Ahead. How’s it going, Bianca?
Bianca Harmon 1:07
Going good. I’m excited to talk to Adrian today and learn more about Delaware and what all it takes to make wine out there.
Drew Hendricks 1:15
Yes, wine in Delaware. So yeah, excited for today’s guest it’s Adrian Mobilia Adrian’s a fourth generation grape grower. He was born and raised on his family’s farm in Northeast Pennsylvania and grew up working in the vineyard. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in horticulture. Adrian returned to the family farm to help his father establish the winery arrowhead wine cellars about 10 years later, Adrian moved to Delaware and started his own winery, Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery. He now lives on the property of his wife Jessica and their daughter Riley. Welcome to the show. Adrian.
Adrian Mobilia 1:49
Thanks. Appreciate you guys having me here.
Drew Hendricks 1:51
Oh, excited for you to be on. So Adrian, what was it like growing up in Pennsylvania on a farm with orchards and vineyards
Adrian Mobilia 1:58
cold. I grew up to the town northeast. Most people don’t know where it is, but it’s just north east of the city of Erie. But it’s really in the most northwest part of the state of Pennsylvania. So you know that little tip you get in the state or the top corner. So right on the shores of Lake Erie, we have what they call lake effect snow so you can get 345 feet of snow overnight. Not allowed to be late for school or work by like a minute the next day. Very cold and
Drew Hendricks 2:32
here we are one inch in that’s a snow day.
Adrian Mobilia 2:35
Now we’re down here in Delaware. If they forecast snow next week, things start closing this week. So it’s it’s kind of funny living here now after growing up in the area, but yeah, so it’s pretty cold up there. But I like the weather in Delaware much, much better.
Drew Hendricks 2:52
Oh, yes, I can imagine. So there’s a lot of kind of challenging grip growing conditions up there. On the northern end of Pennsylvania. Yeah, there’s challenges
Adrian Mobilia 3:00
both like in Pennsylvania the challenges really can’t grow a lot of the different very few varieties will grow there like Rieslings, one Chardonnays one, a couple others are hit or miss but the ambient temperature of the winter months. So your December, January, February, March just gets so cold that it actually kills the vines and then you oftentimes have frost in the spring that will knit buds that have come out. So in that neck of the woods, you’re really stuck with hybrids and Native Americans. Yeah, I was talking to
Drew Hendricks 3:37
Michelle and Tyler Bredeson from both North Europe in Minnesota and they have the same challenges. Yes. So they were looking at the some of the different kind of native native vines.
Adrian Mobilia 3:51
Yeah, Minnesota is actually responsible for a lot of the cool climate reds that we have as hybrids like the fish in the market things like that.
Drew Hendricks 4:00
Yeah, they were talking about market and then there was a yes keeps my mind right now that there was a white bridle that this they’ve been pretty keen on it’s similar to the Sauvignon Blanc. Yeah. You don’t have those challenges down in Delaware.
Adrian Mobilia 4:12
No hard challenges in Delaware are the opposite. It’s too hot in Delaware to grow a lot of the whites well we can grow dry reds here really well like mountain backs and their lows cap solves cap frogs are all to go. That stuff grows nice. But you wouldn’t want to try to grow a Riesling here. Oh yeah. It just be too hot. So
Drew Hendricks 4:36
we’ll skip them back a second to their your first venture to winery what I’m what I mean, what excited you about the vineyard. What prompted you grew up on a farm culture school? What drew you to the wine versus the other orchard type crafts?
Adrian Mobilia 4:51
Well, when you’re a kid and your father tells you what you’re going to do that kind of tells you what you’re going to do, right like you don’t have a whole lot of choice. So, you know, growing up on the farm, we had 200 acres of grapes. We grow about 31 varieties of grapes. Oh, and we had 50 acres of fruit trees. We had cherries, peaches, apples. When I went to school, when I went to school at Penn State, at the time, we didn’t have the winery, but we had a wholesale juice business. Oh, back somewhere about 1985. My dad pulled out a Welch’s, when they changed the way they paid the farmers. They went from paying you on this year’s crop to taking seven years to pay you. So they’d say, look, we’ll take 80% of what we’re going to get like, say you’re getting $400 a ton for Concord. They’d say we’ll take 80% of that. And we’ll give you a third of that. 80% this year, a third next year and a third the final year. Balance of the 20%. We’re going to give you a certificate that’ll mature in seven years. What Yeah,
Drew Hendricks 5:56
so sounds like a Popeye cartoon wimpy getting a hamburger on Tuesday.
Adrian Mobilia 6:01
Yeah, that’s all well just pays their growers today. So that’s all well just pays their farmers. Yeah, no, God said, This is crazy. Like, we’re not playing this game, because you can’t go to your fertilizer supplier or your pesticide supplier or your labor. And you can’t say, Hey, I’m gonna give you a third of 80% of what I owe you this year. So he pulled out a Welch’s. And he said, we’re going to learn how to process grapes ourselves, and we’re going to sell juice to wineries and home winemakers. So he started that when I was a young kid, and by the time I got to be in high school in college, that business had really flourished. And he’d done a fabulous job creating this wholesale juice business. He was like the, you know, probably the third or fourth largest supplier of grape juice on the eastern coast. Oh, no, most of its American and hybrid varieties. But still, it was a great business. So it was kind of understood that I was going to work on the farm and help them. So I came up with the idea that there’s really no reason to go to college. So he’s like, Oh, no, you’re going to college?
Drew Hendricks 7:07
That’s a good idea, but not a good one. Yeah. And
Adrian Mobilia 7:09
he’s like, No, you’re going I’m like, But why, like, I can learn what I need to know from you. Because now you’re gonna go to college. He goes, I won’t hire you unless you have a college education. I’m like, you don’t have a college education. But he goes exactly. So So I, you know, the grudgingly went away to school at Penn State because that’s where all his brothers and sisters that did go to school all went to Penn State. So that was another one of those foregone conclusions that you just have to go with. Because that’s the family. So I ended up at Penn State, have a great time. Love it, horticulture. Everything’s good. Come home. And I was home for I think the first two years. And one night, he like walks them head bedroom, and like literally two in the morning turns on the light, we got to talk. And I’m like, I can’t wait till like 6am or something. He’s like, No, he’s like, I’m so excited. I’ve got this idea. I’ve been going through it my head, it’s gonna work. Like, well, what’s the idea? He goes, we’re going to open a winery. And I’m like, we’re going to do what he goes, we’re gonna open a winery. Okay. I said, Great. He goes, think about it. He goes, what better way to give credibility to our juice business that we’re trying to market to wineries than to have a winery? I knew nothing about anything at like age 20. Right. So I’m like, whatever you want to do that. So we contacted a group called score. It’s it’s a national group score stands for service corps of Retired Executives.
Drew Hendricks 8:37
Yes. Oh, yeah. Tell us Yeah. Great. Yeah. So
Adrian Mobilia 8:40
it’s through the Small Business Administration. That’s nationwide. Everyone has their own chapter. We reached out to the chapter. gave them our idea. Of course, they knew nothing about it. But they brought some people out that were bakers, and marketers and stuff like that. So we worked through six months, every Wednesday night, six o’clock, we met this guy, Roy, at my mom and dad’s kitchen table. And of course, all the heavy lifting fell on me because I was the one in school and like, knew everything coming out, right? So they’re like, Okay, you can do this, you can do that. And so about eight months later, we go to the bank with a actual business plan. So my dad walks into this bank, he’s done business with his whole life goes, here’s a business plan to get a loan to do this winery. And they go, what’s this? And he goes, I told you, it’s a business plan. You’ve never given us anything like this before. You’ve just come in and said, I want X amount of money to do this, and we give it to you. And he’s like, Well, I have a business plan. They go should we be concerned? So they give us a loan to start the winery. We built a tasting room onto our juice plant did all that and started arrowhead wine cellars back in 97 or 98 I think. So that was pretty fun getting that up and going. And then it was like 10 years later. I was in a wedding of a friend and I met a Woman at this wedding who was also in the weddings, we had a mutual friend. And we started dating and she was from Ocean City, Maryland. So then that led to a couple years later you get engaged. So that leads to we’re like a month or two before the wedding. And I’m like, Hey, whenever you’re ready to move, let me know. I’ll come down with one of our big delivery trucks and a couple buddies will pack you up and we’ll move you up. Her response was it snows an area I’m not moving there. So I lost the first battle before we were even married, which should have been the red flag. So I moved down to the beach to Ocean City, Maryland, got married, about three years later got divorced. So the red flag was the first battle and you weren’t even married yet? Yeah. But I had a daughter weather’s beautiful. Her name’s Riley. And so while I was down here, so now I’m kinda like stuck here. Right. So, you know, have a newborn. We’re divorce, be co parenting. It’s like, okay, so what do you do? And I was thinking like, wow, there’s a lot of people here at the beach that this is a massive tourist destination. Like, what if I had a winery here? So I call my dad one night to in the morning, wake up. He goes, Why can’t wait till 7am I’m like, well, because remember, when you did this to me while I’m doing a deal now, I said, we should start a winery in Delaware at the beach. He goes, Yeah, it’s a good idea to do some research because you know how to do it. You already did it once figure it out. And I’m like, Okay, fine. So I start driving around looking for stuff. So I find a location in Fenwick Island, Delaware, right on the border, like ocean cities, literally 300 yards to myself, but I’m in Delaware on a main road. So I rent this spot six year lease. Fenwick Wine Cellars opens in like 2009. And this is a absolute disaster like major failure, right? Because we’re in a strip mall. Tasting Room, we have some small tanks in the back and we’re making wine. We got a vineyard across the street that some farmer let me use like a, you know, an acre to put some vines in. So I could get my license. But this is like literally a failure. People are coming in asking me Do you have great goose? Do you have like a winery, your liquor store. So I go back to score. So I researched the score group and southern Delaware, I get in touch with them. So this guy comes in meets with me. So
Bianca Harmon 8:57
quick question that are you paying score? Will you use them? Or do they just come in and help small businesses
Adrian Mobilia 12:38
or is absolutely free, you are not allowed to pay them are not allowed to take anything.
Bianca Harmon 12:44
I just thought others might want to know that don’t know about score. So
Adrian Mobilia 12:47
if you were a small business or thinking about getting in business, you should absolutely reach out to score because it doesn’t cost you a thing and it definitely won’t hurt you. We can only help you. Awesome. Thanks for that. Thanks. Thanks for getting that in there.
Drew Hendricks 13:02
Yeah, so fantastic service. It is.
Adrian Mobilia 13:05
So this guy from score comes out. Does a couple interviews with me kind of looks at some numbers, does it things calls me up says okay, I’ve got everything you need figured out. meet me for lunch tomorrow. Okay, great. So I go to lunch. I’ve got my notebook. I’ve got my pen. He goes, Nope, just get rid of all that. This is real simple. Three things you won’t forget them. Okay, three things. He goes just three. Number one. He goes, change your location. Get out of the strip mall. Get out in the country on a farm make it look like a winery. Okay, I agree. Number to change your name during a Fenwick Wine Cellars. You get something with the words vineyard and winery in the name so people know what you are. Okay, pretty good advice. Number three, this was the good one. Quit your job that’s paying all the bills to fund this idea and be here full time. I’m like, okay, so you want me to go buy land, build a building, which requires income to make the payment. But you want me to quit the job that has the income to do that. So I could be here full time. He goes, Yeah. I’m like, you know, there’s a reason no one pays for the service, right? He goes, No, he goes, this great advice. He goes, you’re gonna have to make a bet on yourself. If you want to bank to bet on you, you got to show that you’re willing to bet on you. I said, Okay, fine. So I call my dad I talked it over, he goes, Well, he goes, it’s probably good advice. So we bought the land, built the building put in vineyards. Then later on. I retired from my job about four or five years later.
Drew Hendricks 14:43
What were you What were you doing at the time?
Adrian Mobilia 14:45
So I was a vice president of a shelving manufacturing company that bordered mom and dad’s Oregon winery. So when I left working for them, it was because they lured me away with more money and more travel all that fun stuff that a family business can afford. said why don’t you head up our shelving division sales for us. So that’s what I did. So, so we eventually know close them with wine cellars and move to Salted Vines what it is today, which I’m sure that’s the part you want to hear is how did we come up with the vines? Right? Yeah. So Bianca, I see you’re married. You have a nice ring on. So you know how a marriage works, right? It’s not a partnership. And it’s not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship. Right? Yeah. Dictator, right.
Bianca Harmon 15:33
Adrian Mobilia 15:34
Okay, so my marriage is the same way. I found that out. So this is the second wife, by the way. This is one. Not before we got
Bianca Harmon 15:46
divorced with my second two, it’s okay. Okay,
Adrian Mobilia 15:49
good. Welcome to the club. So we’re moving the winery. So we start having meetings with all the staff and the staff significant others to kind of get some like a brain trust going and try to get some ideas of, we need a name. So everyone jots down names, we have this big list like 50 names long, we have to start narrowing it down to like, no good five to six, then we start a voting process because it’s a democracy, right. So we get it narrowed down. And we have a graveyard on the farm that we bought, there’s three, three people buried that were from the 1700s that own the land, and it’s still intact. And it’s actually considered an active cemetery by the Delaware Department of Health and all that. So it’s a pretty cool like little feature on the property. And it’s right to the like, stick to the left of the parking lot. So when you pull in, it’s very visible, we’ve landscaped around it and made it very pretty. So people go over and check it out. They always come in and ask about the graveyard like,
Bianca Harmon 16:50
and it was 1700s they were born in the 1700s. Yeah. Wow. That’s pretty crazy.
Drew Hendricks 16:59
Do you know who they are?
Adrian Mobilia 17:01
I do. Yeah, we did. We did the research on him. We went back to all the department, the US Department of Labor, they’re censuses and we’ll try to all the way up and track their kids and their grandkids up to like 1890 or something
Bianca Harmon 17:19
that’s like a history lesson to when you can get
Adrian Mobilia 17:21
really was it was a pretty cool exercise. Yeah. So so we get these names down. So the one that I came up with that I thought was good was using the cemetery and the fact that we’re so close to the ocean so we’re four miles off the ocean. Oh, well, we’re going to use Rip Tide vineyard winery so rip the RIP rested that rip tide does we have a rip tide current right. So it was like a big play on words. So that one one the vote the final vote. So my wife comes home from work this day and she’s like, You guys had the meeting and had the vote right like yeah, what name one I go. Riptide vineyard winery she looks at me and she goes yeah, we’re not doing that. And I go well, what are we going to do then? She goes you’re gonna name it Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery. And I’m like but that one didn’t when she goes I don’t care so that’s what we’re doing. So the Salted Vines was a concept of like the salt air coming off when the wind blows offshore and comes this way you literally get salt like on your vehicle like you can see it on the windshield and star so
Drew Hendricks 18:32
I get it yeah.
Bianca Harmon 18:34
Actually, I think you’ll get a good idea
Adrian Mobilia 18:37
Yeah, that’s you girls sticking together so after I you know walked away with my you know, tail between my legs, went back to the staff and said well you know, all the voting we did like it doesn’t matter my wife kind of pulled rank and said we’re not going to do that. It became Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery, so we reopened a year later at this location as Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery that was actually like looking back on the advice score gave me best advice I was ever given like the business quadrupled the first year all because it looked and felt like a winery and
Drew Hendricks 19:19
one Yeah, I think I think winery is a work like in a in an area where there’s a what a dense winery population like these kind of wine ghettos and Lompoc or whatever they they do well there but if it’s a to create a destination where you are I can see why it wouldn’t fit. Had
Adrian Mobilia 19:35
right and you know, and Delaware is not known for wine like I was third winery. Oh, I opened Fenwick Wine Cellar. So now there’s only four there’s a fifth one opening even trying to open since 2012. So hopefully they can open this year. What do you think?
Bianca Harmon 19:50
Adrian Mobilia 19:54
I’ll do his question. First. Is that in here all yours. Why I think there’s so few. I think there’s so few for a couple reasons. 110 years ago or 12 years ago, when I started, the regulations really like they don’t really know what a winery is in Delaware, like the regulations don’t truly understand it. So it’s very convoluted the process you have to go through to open a winery. Now it’s gotten better, we’ve done things to make it better. Second reason is, farmland here is very expensive because of the house. So because like during COVID, and even before COVID, like you’re at the beach, people are building million dollar condos on you know, a quarter acre lot, the lots worth a million dollars, right? Because you’re three miles from the ocean. And they’re not making any more land. So we’re losing farmland left and right. So the barrier to entry is really the cost trying to find land somewhere, you could do it. And then of course, the building and growing grapes isn’t something it’s very well known down here. It’s all row crops. It’s all corn, soybeans, we got a lot of chicken houses. What was your question? Bianca?
Bianca Harmon 21:07
Oh, just what year? Did you officially open Salted Vines?
Adrian Mobilia 21:10
So that would have been November of 16?
Bianca Harmon 21:14
Okay. Okay. So, eight years ago, Okay, nice.
Drew Hendricks 21:20
How did you go about bringing the visitor visitors in there when he first opened your doors?
Adrian Mobilia 21:26
Given that we are a transient population, beach resort destination, I didn’t really have to do anything. Okay, just showed up. I mean, really, it was that simple. Like, I’m not being smart or funny about it. It’s just our growth is all because the area is growing leaps and bounds every year. So it’s kind of like be at the right place at the right time. Like word of mouth, at least we spent $0 on advertising. That’s amazing. So you fell out of every mine we make every year that we’re doing an expansion right now we’re getting ready to start a construction, another 10,000 square foot production space, start in about three weeks. Because our bottleneck is our physically our production room. We don’t have enough space to put tanks and barrels to make more wine. And so we spend zero money because right now, why pay to bring people in if we don’t have any products to sell them? Sure.
Bianca Harmon 22:21
So what if there were Do you think if more wineries started popping up, it would affect you and your business?
Adrian Mobilia 22:28
I do think it would I think it would be good if they weren’t good. So I helped the last one to open Harvest Ridge, I helped them get open and show them a lot of things. Because my thought was, yeah, they’re an hour and a half away from me. But like, they’re going to be the fourth winery. So they’re 25% of the wine in Delaware. And my thought was, if they’re good, and someone goes to them first, they’re going to come to me if they’re bad, and someone close to them first. They’re not coming to me. Ha,
Bianca Harmon 23:05
it’s like a catch 2250 50 could go either way. Well, it
Adrian Mobilia 23:08
is so they can do things as good as possible. And I do things as good as possible. Then when someone comes to the area and is surprised to find wineries in Delaware, which they’re always surprised. They’re like pleasantly surprised. Oh, wow, we didn’t know that. You could make wine here. This is great. Is there another winery we can go to? If they come in? It sucks. They’re not asking where else to go? They’re like, Yeah, we did a winery in Delaware. We’re not doing that ever again. Right. So we have some of those. And you know, we tried to get them to the other side. But But yeah, I mean, I have one that’s opening 40 minutes for me is the one that they’ve been trying to open since 2012. So I’ve helped them every step of the way to say like, do things this way. And then that way, I’m not afraid to, like send people to you. Because I know they’re gonna have a good experience.
Drew Hendricks 23:56
Sure, like the rising tide raises all boats. Exactly. Yeah, we’re seeing that here in San Diego, it was kind of similar to Delaware where they just there was not a whole lot of wineries in the actual San Diego County because that they set up where you needed $250,000 to for the licensing and you couldn’t do tastings because it was alcohol. Even though you could have like a strawberry tasting thing right next to it. But over the course of the last over the course the last 15 years now there’s I think 45 wineries in the county here. They’ve kind of opened it up and it’s really started booming here. Cool. Butte with Temecula Yeah. Is your so did tell talk to me about Delaware in the growth so the growing conditions are warm. What is how would you describe like the wine style and grapes like the expression of the varietals there.
Adrian Mobilia 24:47
So let’s start off with a little bit about the weather. So we have this thing called rain. I know you guys don’t know what that is. But it’s when this water just falls magically from the sky. We get that freak Wouldn’t we? I think we had rain three days in a row two days ago. And we’ll get rain again next Tuesday. I’m sure of it, you know. So we have a lot of precipitation. We also have this other thing you don’t know what it is. It’s called humidity. So you walk outside and your shirt just sticks to you and you can’t breathe. We have that for June, July, August, Summer, September, pretty bad, like, above 90% Humidity every day all day. Like if you don’t have an air conditioner, you don’t sleep at night, you don’t go outside. You start your car while you’re inside with remote, you wait 10 minutes, then you run to the car and get right in it like that. And it’s kind of funny, because when people from California come out here, they’re like, wow, like we’ve heard about this thing called humidity, but we never experienced it. And it is pretty funny because for my job I spent a lot of time in San Diego and Santa Ana and you know, Orange County, and like the weather’s gorgeous, like the joke was always when I got picked up the airport, I’d always tell the guy get another beautiful day in Orange County like so are one of the other things we get like you guys get cool at night when the sun goes down. So we don’t have that disparity in temperature from day to night. So when we’re in summer, it gets like 9596 During the day, but evening is still going to be at 384 all night long.
Drew Hendricks 26:34
Not the same cool ocean breezes that we have on the Pacific.
Adrian Mobilia 26:37
No. The other part that affects growing grapes, probably the biggest thing is our winter temperature. So February March in the sun, it could be 45 in the middle of February in the day. But then at night, when the sun goes down, it could be 3032 28, something like that. So we do get that disparity in Night and Day temperatures do you guys get? We only get it in the wintertime? We don’t get it in the summertime.
Bianca Harmon 27:12
So so how does that affect your growing? So what is your what is the growing season like in Delaware versus say, you know, California, okay, so
Adrian Mobilia 27:21
a good example would be Saturday, we have budbreak in the Vermentino, the mirlo. The malpeque broke, but on Sunday, and the cab sobbed broke. But today I just drove around. So you guys are April 20. Say that again?
Drew Hendricks 27:37
So we’re recording this on April 21. So people can get the reference point.
Adrian Mobilia 27:42
Yeah, so about four days ago, we have budbreak. Here in Delaware. You guys are probably what 12 inches that
Bianca Harmon 27:49
we’ve actually got a ton of rain this I live in St. Alena, California. So I’m in St. Alena, we’ve actually gotten a ton of rain, the past, we were hitting 90 degree temperatures two weeks ago, and now we are back down to the seven days and raining. Okay, so we’ve had the I mean, every night I’m hearing the fans kick on and you know, so we probably had some bad breakage during those 90 degree temperatures. It gets bad when we do get rain like this.
Adrian Mobilia 28:27
So we normally will have bloom right around June 4. Oh, wow.
Bianca Harmon 28:32
Okay. And then are you harvesting in October, September like we are
Adrian Mobilia 28:39
October? Yep. So right around the first week of October, most of the varieties will start to be ready. On a good year, you could have that melt back ready or leaving the will the Vermentino will go first. That could be ready. third week of September if ideal conditions happen. But you’ll quickly we’re picking most of the grapes. Last week, September 1 week of October.
Bianca Harmon 29:02
Okay. Yeah, see, and we’ll have a lot of our whites done in August even. Yeah, okay. Interesting.
Adrian Mobilia 29:08
Yeah, um, the other challenge that you know, the weather here presents is just the humidity so the powdery and downy mildew. Yeah. So we spray you know, every seven to 10 days from like right now through harvest. So make sure you just have a really nice cab tractor. You’re like, because you’re gonna spend a lot of time and
Bianca Harmon 29:30
I’m sure you can make some beautiful late harvest wines, then.
Adrian Mobilia 29:34
You can Yeah, we can get sorry, I didn’t hear you.
Bianca Harmon 29:38
Oh, no, I was just gonna say is I mean, yeah, I’m sure you can make some beautiful late harvest wines. Are you guys doing that or so
Adrian Mobilia 29:45
we do but not like the ice wine style. We’ve looked like this is an experiment we wanted to see like how high of bricks we could get one year from that. That was really a bad idea. But we did it anyways just for fun. So I had cab saw up on the East Coast that hit 28 bricks, and like the alcohol was just through the roof, so it was really hot. So we had to blend that away with something else to tame it down a little bit. So we blended it with the mirlo. But yeah, I mean, so it’s, you know, a lot of the same problems just for little different nuances attached to them.
Drew Hendricks 30:22
Now you do a variety of from dry wines to some with a little bit of residual sugar on it.
Adrian Mobilia 30:27
We do we do. So you know, our population because it is very transient as each destination. So our population comes to us, we have our locals, they like sweet wine, okay. We get the Northern Virginia, Virginia people, they like their dry reds, their dry whites, their VAs their cab, frunk, stuff like that. Nice higher end wine, Baltimore, Philly, all of Jersey, all of New York City than take Pennsylvania, like half the state over to like Harrisburg or even State College. So it’s a pretty big geographic area. So you’re getting people from all walks of life, all pallet levels, all sophistication levels. So I have like a three by three matrix I draw. And I explained this to all the employees that we hire, and when I say across the top, put, you know, red, white, and then your your blush Rosae. The side, put, you know, dry, semi and sweet. And you need to have a wine every one of those nine boxes. So that when a person comes in, we don’t know what they’re going to be like, when you when you’re in California, you got a pretty good idea when someone’s coming to a winery, they’re going to be cool with a dry wine, right, because there’s not a lot of sweet wines available in California. When you go to the Finger Lakes, you know, you’re going to be cool with some sweet wines, because that’s predominantly what they are, right? So I gotta have some everything’s, I’m getting people from everywhere. So we’ll have, you know, a nice Malbec or Terol to go or cab sav or Surat and then also have a Concord, which is like adult grape juice.
Drew Hendricks 32:09
You know, like the you have to understand that you have a very good idea of who your audience is, and that you’re able to craft your product to the audience. Too often, you see the winery that just creates a product in hopes the audience will find it.
Adrian Mobilia 32:23
Well, right. You know, that’s one of the challenges of being the owner because everybody asked me like, Well, what do you think doesn’t matter what I think the matters what you’re going to pay for when you come in the door. So we have to have that, that three by three matrix, which drives a lot of winemakers nuts, because they don’t think sweet wine is real wine or you know, whatever the case may be right. But it’s like, yeah, but I can show you the numbers that those things, pay the bills, and you have to have that.
Drew Hendricks 32:52
And that’s the biggest revelation of the wine industry needs is that you’ve got to cater to the consumer. And you’re looking at your experience and kind of your what’s called a menu, but you’ve got a pretty, pretty diverse menu of what you can order there and kind of experience all the way from dry wines up to the slushies, which would probably be fantastic at 96 degrees out.
Adrian Mobilia 33:13
They are phenomenal at 96 degrees. And the money you make on slushies is is phenomenal as well,
Drew Hendricks 33:19
that’s been a big trend up here in Temecula. Really.
Bianca Harmon 33:22
It’s a trend everywhere right now. And
Drew Hendricks 33:25
I believe you’re right, Bianca. Yeah, I
Bianca Harmon 33:28
mean, even here in St. Alena, you know, wine mecca of the world or world, the United States, you know, it’s, you go into the bars, and they’ve got Rosae slushies and but those are the people, if you want to talk from a marketing standpoint, that they will continue to bring in customers, because they’re willing to not just serve that dry red wine, they’re willing to cater to their audience.
Adrian Mobilia 33:57
So that’s very true. So you know, my belief has always been as a winery, it’s our job to educate the public. So if we’re not the best winery in the world, I’m never going to tell you, we were there’ll be our there’s always room for improvement. And I’m good with that. But what I can tell you is, when you come in, there’s a probability. And I don’t know what that number is, it’s going to depend on who you are, but there’s a probability that’s there for sure. That says, if you’re not a winery, and this is your first time going to a winery, you’re not a wine person. You probably don’t have a clue what you’re gonna like, right? But like you were, I could probably help you figure it out before that person could get started with something sweet, right? And they’re gonna like it way before they’re gonna like an old Chardonnay or a cab front that’s been an oak barrel. So it’s our job to educate you. And the way we can do that in a controlled atmosphere is through our tasting. So when you do with pasting, we let you do all of them. We do it at controlled environment where you go from white to red dry to sweet, because oftentimes what happened in the beginning people would come in. Or if you go somewhere with friends and you get the Hey, pick for six wines for your 10 bucks or whatever, and there’s 20 wines to choose from. They ended up looking at the menu, and they’re like, Well, I’ve heard a Chardonnay or my friend told me that all like Cabernet, or I saw a movie about Pinot Noir. So I want us to get that. So they pick these buds with these buzzwords, and they try it and they absolutely hate. You can just tell instantly from the look on their face. And you go okay, like, we’ll try this and you give them a Niagra which is like a white, sweet grape juice, right? Like, oh my God, that’s the best one I’ve ever had in my life. I’m like, that’s a sweet white. Why don’t like sweet my friend said I like dry like, Don’t your friend likes dry? You like sweet? Yeah. And they just don’t get it. You know, and it’s sort of all responsibility to educate the consumer.
Bianca Harmon 36:02
No, I worked at a winery here that sir, that was, you know, very high end reds. And, and we’re talking these people were paying $75 tasting, right? And I’d have people come in, you know, and you knew they just didn’t like it. And I also worked at another winery where they served a huge array. And I told these people like, I know, you don’t like this, like, go to this winery. It’s okay, you don’t have to come to Napa. And go pay for the expensive $75 tasting. Well, you’re not going to enjoy the wines. Go to be Satoshi. They have 60 different wines from reds and whites and sweets, and spend less and enjoy what you’re drinking. Yeah.
Adrian Mobilia 36:43
So I agree. That’s how we keep people in the industry, not turn them off. I agree.
Bianca Harmon 36:48
Yeah. Something for everybody in the wine world. Usually you just got it. Yeah, figure it out. Which one? Which way they want to go with it? Right.
Adrian Mobilia 36:59
Yep, I agree. So
Drew Hendricks 37:05
going forward into going forward into this this summer in your expansions where Salted Vines headed?
Adrian Mobilia 37:12
Well, we’re going to try to get the addition done before the end of August. So we can get all the CrashPad equipment brought from the barn down, get it in place, get new barrels and new tanks into the facility. So we have some more to put this year’s crop because now that we’re a couple years into a three year program. We’re just running out of space. Yeah, that’s my perspective by
Drew Hendricks 37:39
the supply shortage. Like are you able to get the equipment you need to actually expand?
Adrian Mobilia 37:45
I am it’s been in the works now for like another past year. So things have been ordered and paid for for a while. I’ve got a lot of the stuff in the barn already just waiting for the building. Getting the builder was the hardest part, believe it or not, this area is so overrun with construction due to COVID. All these people are moving out of New York, Philly, New Jersey, are coming to Delaware because we have no sales tax. We have the lowest income tax in the 50 states. But our property taxes like you might as well not even have it it’s so low.
Bianca Harmon 38:17
Like Delaware, you these people are coming out
Adrian Mobilia 38:20
of New Jersey where they have a $500,000 house and they’re paying $35,000 a year in taxes. They’re moving here, getting a house twice as big twice as nice for half the price. They’re paying like $800 a year in taxes. Wow.
Bianca Harmon 38:37
So your case production gonna go to once this new facility opens,
Adrian Mobilia 38:41
this should be able to take us to right around 10,000. Okay, I don’t necessarily want to be that big. I like the boutique style, intimate. I think like seven is a good number. So we’re this year, we’ll probably be right around 36 3700. If we doubled once I’d be thrilled. We got much bigger than that. I don’t know what that would look like. I guess it would the how it works would be more important than could it work to me
Drew Hendricks 39:12
and getting the juice is it all from your state or do you purchase it from
Adrian Mobilia 39:17
No, it’s a combination of things. So right now we have in production, the bourbon, Chino, the malbec and we’re low on the caps off. We have another I think it’s like 18 acres we can still plant on this property that we’ll be planning over the years. Then I do buy juice and grapes from my family’s farm so all of our sweet stuff comes from their loved one or duplicate those resources. So we get the Concord the Niagara the stew, bam, the Catawba the Delaware the doll, the shame or send all that stuff from from dad. And then there’s a couple other places like in Loudoun County, Virginia and stuff we get the NEA Chardonnay And then actually I have a friend out, you know, by you. Diego Barisan who owns hair grapevines. So he has his mother block. And he sells the grapes off the mother block to his to his nursery customers. There’s a bunch of wineries out here in Maryland and Virginia and myself to buy our vines from him. So we get first shot at the grapes. It’s like all by what I can’t grow here or if I need more of something. I buy it from him and
Bianca Harmon 40:33
he is a little bit farther up isn’t he?
Adrian Mobilia 40:36
Yeah, so they were based out of Sacramento. But now they moved up the Red Bluff so they’re isolated. Yeah, completely isolated now. So there’s no Pastor disease pressure on the on the mother block because that would be detrimental.
Drew Hendricks 40:50
What’s the logistics of transporting the juice from California?
Adrian Mobilia 40:56
He handles that. So I don’t really know if he
Drew Hendricks 40:58
shows up. Does this show up as juicer Grapes.
Adrian Mobilia 41:02
Grapes, wow. So he picks it it goes right into it. He has an onsite cold storage. He’s got a really nice facility. If you haven’t seen it, gotta go up and check it out. It’s phenomenal. He’s got a nice cold facility. So he picks it during the night. I was there the first year I went out and spent like a week with them out there was awesome. They pick it. They put it right in the cold storage get it chilled down to like 40 degrees 35 They get a dedicated truck to person driver, reefer 32 degrees, put it in and leave like it’ll leave there on a Friday. You me here Sunday nights. Okay. Oh, there’s they usually he’ll coordinate with another winery near me that says, hey, like, Adrian is getting half a truck. You need this. Let’s put this on and get it out. We’ll get these two or three varieties to you guys. We’ll send the second truck later if you don’t need me or whatever. So he handles it. I mean, is it perfect? No. But does it work? Yes. Because I can’t find those grapes anywhere else locally right now.
Drew Hendricks 42:06
Sure. It’s actually logistically it wasn’t didn’t sound. It’s not as complex as I thought in my mind when you’re about moving.
Adrian Mobilia 42:16
Again, a winemaker that’s like a, you know, a biodynamic winemaker probably would like cringe of the idea. But you know, what is what it is like, right now, there’s such a demand for good Bennifer on the East Coast that if you have it, you’re going to use it yourself. And trying to go out and buy it on the open markets tough, you’re usually going to end up with if it’s available to be something that has no color, no flavor, no structure. I mean, so it’s, it’s kind of like the better of all the evils right.
Drew Hendricks 42:51
Now make makes complete sense. I was talking to a wine maker. They were like three or four brands. I forget the name at the moment, but they’re they’re building a central production facility in Reno, to to do the wines throughout the California wineries. Because the landscaper, the production is just it’s just easier for them to create the facility they need even. Yeah. Even though it’s not like a, you know, winery specific area.
Adrian Mobilia 43:18
Right, right. Yeah.
Drew Hendricks 43:22
Kinda as we’re kind of wrapping down here. I always like to ask, Who do you respect most right now in the wine industry?
Adrian Mobilia 43:32
You know, you’ve asked that in the beginning, you told me you’re gonna ask that. And it’s really a tough question because like, I’m not a wine snob. Like I don’t I’m not into that. Right. I’m just an average, everyday Joe, who just likes growing grapes and just likes challenges. So I don’t really know. I mean, I guess,
Drew Hendricks 43:52
but I think he’s talking about the guy in California said his name and I forgot it Diego Barison?
Adrian Mobilia 43:56
Yeah, I mean, I definitely doing well. I look up to him for a couple of reasons. A, you know, he’s similar in age, similar background. He’s from Italy. He grew up in a nursery and a winery over in Italy, moved to the States wants to work for Nova vine, you know, got some experience and then, you know, bought into Herrick from Bob Herrick, and took it over and then he took some big risks and moved it. You know, like Bianca said, he moved it up north, went to Red Bluff, bought a bunch of property, bought a ranch, put it up, like a five acre greenhouse for his cuttings and stuff. And I’ve been to the facility been to the grafting facility. I see what he does. I like it, you know, so yeah, I mean, he’s certainly a good good resource and colleague and friend.
Drew Hendricks 44:40
And when you’re not drinking Salted Vines, what are you drinking?
Adrian Mobilia 44:45
Oh, I I’ve been drinking a lot of different stuff lately. I’ve just been trying to get trying to get more of the local like this the other day. I took the whole staff up the Blue Ridge winery up in the Poconos and Pennsylvania was somewhere I visited when I was installing a vineyard. I get I get asked to install vineyards by a lot of people. Oh, that, you know, a lot of doctors lawyers, they want to put a vineyard in or they want to think they own a winery. So they’ll they’ll call and say, Hey, like, you know, we heard you can install vineyards and like, yeah, I can do it. So we put the vineyard the trellis and forum. So we were doing this one for some some friends that they’ve now become friends, but two lawyers up in the Poconos that we put, you know, five acres in for and they took us to this winery that’s local to them. It was pretty fun. So I’m like, Hey, I took the whole staff there Tuesday. Like we need to go look at this place that gets modified a lot of good ideas. You guys should go check it out. You know, it’s a four hour drive. So we just scheduled it for the day. Thank everybody and go. But I’ve been trying to drink a lot of like Virginia stuff like Pearman cellars and drafting him and there’s a paradise. What else we Blue Ridge and Pennsylvania.
Bianca Harmon 45:58
Need to try a King Family Estates. We had them on our podcast. Sorry. Yeah. So we have one of the owners of that. Where are they out of? There in Virginia? I Yeah. You remember when
Drew Hendricks 46:14
they’re increasing? Okay.
Bianca Harmon 46:16
That’s forgotten. Charlottesville, right? No, okay.
Drew Hendricks 46:20
There’s just outside of Raleigh, I think, okay. Jose, Cruz. They also have a polo field. Okay.
Bianca Harmon 46:28
So you can go Sunday and watch polo for free and drink wine?
Adrian Mobilia 46:32
That’d be pretty cool. Yeah. I’m gonna make that
Drew Hendricks 46:37
we’re excited about that blue, the where you took the stuff like what drew their
Adrian Mobilia 46:42
creativity. Um, they’ve got so I think it was like you think was like 60 wines on the menu at one time. They had phenomenal amount of creativity using essence and flavors. So it’s not all traditional wine the way that like you and I would think of it again, like, you know, a true winemaker would probably cringe at the idea. But I can tell you that they’re laughing the whole way to the bank in their armored car on Monday morning. So it doesn’t matter, right. Like the amount of people they handle is just incredible. Like, I’d been there when there’s easily been five 600 people simultaneously on the property all day. They’ve put in their own coffee shop to have coffee. Oh, they have woodfired pizza oven. They have their own taco truck. They dig a cave underground and made it room to do dinners and like all sorts of just creative stuff.
Drew Hendricks 47:47
Yeah. So great that you take the staffing that’s so good to get inspiration from what other people’s success or finding success and
Adrian Mobilia 47:55
yeah, I mean, it’s it’s cool to go see what other people now like. Part of my reason is all these wineries in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, those are the people that live there that are coming to me when they’re on vacation. I kind of need to know what they consider normal, or home wineries. Like what are they paying? What are they getting for tasting? What are they being served? How is it being presented? Because that plays a part in what we do because when they’re here for a week, you know, you don’t want to be way out left field, right? You want to be somewhat to like what they’re accustomed to.
Drew Hendricks 48:32
That’s, that’s fantastic. So Adrian, when people are planning their trip, where can people find out more about Salted Vines,
Adrian Mobilia 48:40
in saltedvines.com or on Facebook, you can find us at Salted Vines, however, that Facebook world and Instagram are old work. I don’t really know. But I’m sure you can type it in and it comes up because I’ve done that before. But you know, we’re in we’re just outside of Bethany Beach, Delaware. So it’s the mailing address is actually Frankford. We’re about four miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
Drew Hendricks 49:05
Sounds like a perfect, perfect day, if you’re on vacation in Delaware.
Adrian Mobilia 49:10
If you guys ever come to the East Coast, flying to Philly or Baltimore and we can arrange for you to end up here.
Drew Hendricks 49:17
I’d like to I’d like the opportunity. Just don’t
Adrian Mobilia 49:19
come in August. You’re not going to like the humidity. Yeah.
Drew Hendricks 49:24
Well, Adrian, thank you so much for joining us today.
Adrian Mobilia 49:26
Well, thank you guys. I appreciate it. Have a great day. Thanks, was fun.
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