OCEAN CITY — It won’t be a bar, a store, or a even a restaurant, but what the Fenwick Wine Cellars will be is one of a kind attraction to tourists and locals of the resort area and will be one of only two true farm wineries in the entire state of Delaware.
Owner Adrian Mobilia is hoping that the arrival of a true farm winery to the area is quickly deemed to be long overdue and embraced as such.
Perhaps since the release of the popular independent film “Sideways”, and certainly since the rise of Napa Valley as a destination for wine aficionados in the last two decades, wine drinking has seemingly become an event in itself nowadays and isn’t just something white or red poured into a glass to accompany an entrée anymore.
With that in mind, local interest is sure to be sparked or given a bit of a boost with the opening of the Fenwick Wine Cellars, located just a block away from Smitty McGee’s and in the Fenwick Shoals shopping plaza next to the Mio Fratello’s Italian Steakhouse, in early December as the wine drinking crowd will not only be able to get a taste of some award winning wine, but will be able to see the entire creation of the wine before their very eyes.
Adrian Mobilia and his wife Shannon are on the cusp of opening this new venture (while becoming new parents as well), even though Mobilia has been in the wine business his entire life, as his family owns and operates one of the largest and most reputable farm wineries in Pennsylvania.
“I’m the fourth generation of Mobilia in Mobilia Fruit Farms Inc, located on the shores of Lake Erie,” he said. “I grew up and worked on the farm my whole life and my education is in agriculture. After I helped my father start his winery, I worked in agriculture for a juice company that sourced grapes, prunes, apples and cranberries all over the world, but when I got out of it, I really missed it, so I think this is the perfect opportunity to get back into it while bringing something truly unique to this area.”
The family winery in Pennsylvania, Arrowhead Wine Cellars is an award winning and acclaimed 250-acre farm winery in northeast Pennsylvania, with a retail farm market and an established juice selling business to boot. Mobilia says that his family’s winery sells juice to make wine to 85 wineries across the country.
“I guess we’ll be the 86th as my father has inherited a new customer with the opening of our winery,” said Mobilia. “We will be growing our own grapes across the street but that process take about four years to be able to use it, so until then, and while our grapes are maturing, we will be buying juice to manufacture our wine from my father, or other local juice retailers.”
The agriculture part of the venture is extremely interesting in this case, as the Fenwick Wine Cellars, with the exception of the Nassau Valley Wine Cellar in Lewes, will be a virtual pioneer in creating wine from literally the ground up.
Mobilia hopes that process is intriguing and appealing to potential customers and has partnered with local farmer Stiles Adkins to use some of his acreage to get his vineyards up and running.
“We are going to start basic with an acre, for about two or three different varieties of grapes that we know are fairly salt tolerant and see how they do and cultivate them for three years until we get a mature crop,” said Mobilia. “We’ll try to reach the benchmarks that I’m familiar with in growing up on a family farm winery that grows 200 acres of grapes at a time and hopefully it will be successful and we can plant more as the years go by.”
One of Mobilia’s concerns however, is the shallow water table that the area has and said that establishing good roots is vital for the future of the vines and the subsequent wine making.
“You want the vines to set up great and strong roots and if the water table is very close, the vines have the potential is that they could become lazy,” he said. “Plants and roots are very similar to human beings in our defense mechanisms in that way. If what you need to survive is very easily accessible, sometimes you get lazy because you can get it so easily.”
While at the winery, customers will have access to not only 14 different types of wine, “ranging from whites, reds, blushes, and ports, dry, sweet and all in between”, according to Mobilia, but will have the ability to have free samples of a number of wines, which will enable them to find the wine that they truly enjoy, before they purchase the bottle.
“Let’s face it, in America, there are many people who don’t truly know what they like in a wine, as they are drawn to certain buzz words and they often a left unsatisfied with something they thought they would like,” said Mobilia. “Here, they can come in, try any number of things, get an education about not only the wine but also how it is made from planting to purchase and as a result have a truly unique experience.”
Fenwick Wine Cellars will also be the home of local artwork, entertainment, special events and as it grows, so will the options.
“We will eventually have 20 different wines that we’ll make right here,” said Mobilia. “Many people think that a winery is either a liquor store that sells wine or a $10-$20 million dollar estate in California. Obviously, we are going to be neither of those, but I think that people will really like what we are all about and what they find when they come see us.”