Joe and Vickie Greff
Owners, Winemaker (Joe)
In my early 40s (Joe), we sold off a successful multiple-office insurance business in PA. Yet, I couldn't sit still and, for instance, just sip a glass of wine. Instead, I used the money from the sale of my business to pave the way into the grape industry.
I combined my business experience and my background as a microbiologist to become a grape farmer. That decision has paid off. Along with my wife Vickie, we have amassed 50 acres of vines that's known as Blue Mountain Vineyards and Leaser Lake Vineyards. I admitted that having a winery of this size is a bit more involved. You have to have capital. You don't just plant the vines and it's off to the races. You've got to know what to plant, too, so it's not easy. Not everyone realizes it's a 24-7 job, especially when you're growing and making the wine.
I still look for reasons to explain my interest in farming, but it boils down to two experiences. In my time with the Boy Scouts of America, I achieved Eagle Scout status. Also, I spent a lot of time on my grandfather's dairy farm in Albany. That was enough to know that I liked farming, but I didn't want to be a dairy farmer!
Our grape experience began in California where Vickie and I met. We both liked wine, and I was drawn to the science. It took a few years to find the right buyer for the insurance business, as well as Vickie's assurance to leap into this. I couldn't have done this without her support, but she had her doubts. She had security, income, and this was a new venture. I let her ruminate over it for more than a year before doing it. We had (and still have) the passion, but this also had to make sense. Vickie is the one who found the first tract of land, the 38 acres of rolling hills in New Tripoli. It had been farmed, but traditionally with corn, soybean or alfalfa. One year later, we purchased it. The rest, they say, is history.
At this stage, it is more than a business. it's about family and pride and the drive now that we've risen and put so much into it. We could never jeopardize what we've created. Any successful business ought to be that way. it's not just wine. It's not just Blue Mountain Vineyards.
Assistant Winemaker, Vineyard/Production Manager
I was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley. I love working on a farm and getting dirty, which is what drew me to BMV. Also, the days are never the same. I'm always doing something different from the vineyard to the cellar, and producing the best wine in Pennsylvania.
When asked the question "What do I think about when I'm alone in the car," my answer is "what deer will I hit next, and I hope I don't get pulled over for speeding again." I'm often out and about in the vineyard or in the cellar, so if you see me, say hi!
Tasting Room/Office Manager, Social Media Guru, WSET II Graduate
Some would say I'm a late bloomer in the wine world. I didn't really get serious about wine until roughly 2008. Back then, I was studying to be an Art Therapist. I have a B.A. in Fine Arts/Psychology, and several graduate level classes related to Clinical Counseling and Art Therapy. During that time, I discovered that there is a reason Jesus turned water into wine...it's delicious! Okay, maybe it had more to do with the miracle thing, but still.
For several years, I also studied cheese with the intent of opening my own cheese shop. While that plan fell through, I found myself in a job at a winery. Guess what? Cheese knowledge translates into wine knowledge! The premises are similar...taste, scent, terroir, aging, and so on. I've developed a passion for East Coast wine, specifically Pennsylvania. They often get a bad rap, which I feel is undeserved, and want to help erase that stigma as much as I can.
However, wine isn't my only love. I'm a published writer, and have over 20 years in the blogging field. I'm also a professionally trained artist, diehard Steelers fan (sorry, Joe), closet chef, and book junkie. My wife and I are mommas' to three nutty cats - Nittany, Ziggy, and Benjamin. To sum it all up, as Douglas Adams, author of The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul said, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
Festival & Farmer's Market Manager, Sales Manager
Sales Manager, Handyman
My daughter and wife are my inspiration, and family is very important to me. I love that at BMV we are a family, and family is how I came to be at BMV. My brother-in-law Virgil started in a position with BMV. I saw how much he loved it and the way of life that is Blue Mountain Vineyards. After a ten year career in Banking, I decided that it was something I wanted for myself. I started out working part-time at festivals and farmer's markets, and then managing our Willow Grove store. Now I oversee a sales team for outside sales.
In my spare time (ha ha), I enjoy spending time with my family, going skiing, going to concerts, and traveling to Disney World. If I could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, it would be Walt Disney. The perfect day would be waking up at Walt Disney World, not a cloud in the sky, enjoying being a kid and spending time with my family.
People would be surprised to know that I'm a Eagle Scout, and probably not surprised to know that I'm a kid at heart. My favorite quote is "That's that problem with the world. Too many people grow up." - Walt Disney (surprise!)
Lehigh Valley Mall Store Manager, Sales Rep
So, I didn't initially pursue a career in wine. As I started working as a part-time employee at the winery and one of our store locations, opportunities happened to come along. I believe in our product 100% and I love what I do for BMV along with the people I work for. I couldn't be happier with my career that has ultimately chosen me. I love that BMV is a family. I have to say, I work with a wonderful group of people that really work hard together to make this business possible.
I'm a mother of four amazing children, and if that isn't busy enough along with my BMV job, I have also managed a professional Road Race team for the past seven years. If there's a race going on somewhere, I'm usually there! Quiet time (what's that?) is usually a glass of wine a good book.
Simon Sinek said, "The employees must love the company before the customers ever will," and he is absolutely right.
Assistant Tasting Room/Office Manager, Accessories Buyer
I'm a local girl who grew up in Neff's, PA. I married a long-time friend, and we moved to Virginia Beach. I love the beach and miss it! I was a Navy wife for 20 years, raising our two boys while he was off defending our country.
While working for GNC many moons ago, I eventually started my own health food store. After 20 years in the health food industry, I needed something new and fresh. Why not a winery? Both offer antioxidants and healthy benefits! I started working at BMV and haven't looked back. I work full-time with a wonderful bunch of people at a wonderful place to work.
Okay, I will admit that I was the last in my group of friends to start drinking wine, but look at me now! All full of wine knowledge and stuff. My passion is to constantly learn new things and I am offered that opportunity here at BMV. I also love people, love helping people, and love making people happy. People are happy drinking wine, so I started selling wine! BMV gives me the chance to not only make others happy, but to make me happy as well. Who could ask for anything more?