“There’s so many people that still don’t even know we’re here,” said Jennifer Lutter, who co-owns the winery and attached farm with her husband, Jeremy. But at the rate Country Heritage is growing, it’s a good bet this will change.
The winery, which opened in April of 2011, has already doubled in size, a task that Lutter expected to take at least 15 years. This tremendous growth has come with its challenges.
“Our biggest challenge was keeping up on wine production,” she said. “Wine doesn’t get produced overnight, so you have to anticipate your growth. We anticipated a little light in the beginning.”
To combat this, Country Heritage has increased their estimates and planted their own 8-acre vineyard, gaining control of production and decreasing reliance on suppliers. And they’ve found considerable success: the winery is open for wine tastings and visits 7 days a week, and hosts live entertainment every weekend, and sales continue to increase. Not to mention their more than two-dozen award-winning wines.
Lutter serves as the business manager of Country Heritage. She said that over the next 5 years the winery is looking to grow their wholesaling division and expand their reach in the region. For help doing this, she looks to Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
“They know Fort Wayne, they know the business owners of Fort Wayne, they know the customers and the people you’re trying to target,” she continued. “I think the biggest added value is that knowledge.”
Country Heritage Winery thrives on this local connection, supporting local businesses and providing an environment where people can come to relax.
“Just a short drive north of Fort Wayne is wine country,” she added. “It’s welcoming, warm, a fun place to be. Come out and visit.”