9 Veteran Owned and Operated Wineries + Vineyards in the USA

By Nikko Ater 12/4/2018 6 minutes

What better way to support our veterans than to support veterans that have started their own businesses ... especially a wine-making business!  There is a whole world of awesome veteran-owned businesses that are springing up from coast-to-coast. When traveling to a part of the nation that includes a veteran tasting room, make sure to swing by and give them your support.

Interested to learn more about and give veteran-owned wineries and vineyards a try? Get your corkscrew ready for these wineries!

1. Adams County Winery

Adams County Winery is a veteran-owned and operated winery which also happens to be the fourth oldest running winery in Pennsylvania, it has been open for more than 40 years. You will definitely have to give this winery a visit if you are visiting Gettysburg, PA (which is also conveniently only one hour and a half from Washington, D.C.).

2. Blanchard Family Wines

Founded by two brothers, James and Mark Blanchard, one an Air Force Academy graduate in finance and the other a free spirit that majored in creative writing, Blanchard Family Wines is the brainchild of what they have in common: their passion for fine wines. The winery is located in Healdsburg, California and offers an online wine shop if you can’t visit the area or find it at your local vendor. Their wines, from various appellations of Sonoma County, are extremely low-production and limited in availability.

3. Fredericksburg Winery

Fredericksburg Winery in Fredericksburg, TX is owned by Vietnam veteran aviator, Spencer Alwin Switzer, and is also one of the top three producing wineries in Texas. It’s only a couple hours’ drive from the San Antonio area and Killeen, making it the perfect addition to a quick day trip.

4. Indian Creek Winery  

The owner of Indian Creek Winery retired from the Air Force (and earned a Bronze Star) a before opening up shop in Kuna, ID, his home state. You don’t think about Idaho being home to wineries, but Indian Creek Winery has become the “Grandfather of Idaho Wines”.

5. Mercer Estates Vineyard

Owner Rob Mercer is a former Marine who served in the 90s and re-enlisted post-9/11. After service, he joined his brother to run the business. Mercer Estates Vineyard, located in eastern Washington State, boasts a handful of different vineyards including one called Eagle & Plow, dedicated to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. They have also been a part of fundraising and charity efforts linked to veteran and military family issues.

6. Taylor Family Vineyards

If you are considering a trip to the Napa Valley, their vineyard is worth a visit. The Taylor family includes Jerry, a Korean War veteran, and the vineyard is a 23-acre ranch-turned-winery. If you can’t make a trip out to Cali, join their wine club to get their bottles delivered straight to you.

7. Valor Winery

Valor Winery is just a hop, skip, and a jump from San Francisco…but don’t drive over yet! They are still working on a new tasting room for visitors. That shouldn’t that stop you from giving their wine a try by mail. Valor Winery also offers programs that teach other veterans enology (wine-making) and viticulture. 

Valor was branded in 2007 and established as a winery in 2011 in Livermore, California. United States Marine combat Veteran and owner, Josh Laine, had the vision of establishing a winery that empowered and honored Veterans.

A unique part of Valor Winery is educating Veterans and the community in green, self-sustainable farming, agriculture, viticulture, business, and forging leadership, team building, and excellence.

Veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces work to maintain the vineyards and gardens for Valor Winery. Veterans are also implemented in sales, marketing, and operations. Leadership, skills, and character developed during military service are key to the support system and success of Valor Winery.

8. Slide Ridge Estates 

Slide Ridge Estates is a small, boutique winery in Manson, WA near Lake Chelan. It is owned by a retired Captain in the Coast Guard, and operated by an Active Duty Chief in the Coast Guard. They offer several varietals including Chenin Blanc, the only known Chenin Blanc in the Chelan County AVA. They pride themselves in having a genuine love of home, freedom, strength, and country.

9. River City Winery

River City Winery is located in the heart of downtown New Albany's, Indiana historic district. The winery's production area and tasting room are located in the fully restored circa 1900 Baer Building. Award-winning wines accompany a full restaurant menu that includes soups, salads, appetizers, gourmet pizzas, crab cakes, steaks, seafood, and plates of pasta. 

The owner Gary Humphrey’s previous service as an Army Ranger instilled him with the work ethic, creativity, and courage to take on a project that most believed could not be accomplished successfully. After 18 months of restoring a dilapidated building, River City Winery opened it's doors to the public. Since then we have been recognized and won awards for our preservation of the building and for the wines produced on site. Gary's vision to restore the Baer Building and help revitalize downtown New Albany has been a success.

With all of these military-friendly wineries and breweries, you’re sure to have a good time supporting veterans and businesses that support the military community.

Nikko Ater