Growing up in the Midwest, Ben and Sarah Cody probably never imagined they’d one day have their own vineyard in a quiet part of Pennsylvania. But on June 23, the couple officially launched 1723 Vineyardsin Landenberg, bringing about a more recently shared dream.
Their vision for the vineyard began in 2015 when they started cultivating grapes on their 11 acres. The Codys are no strangers to agriculture: Sarah grew up on a corn and soybean crop farm, and Ben spent his childhood on a cattle and fruit farm. They bring generations of experience to their work on the historic McMaster farm, named 1723 for the charter date of New London Township. Adding to the historical significance, Benjamin Franklin once owned a portion of the farm during his time as ambassador to France.
Today, the vineyard specializes in premium Mid-Atlantic wines, thanks in part to the Codys time in Virginia, where vineyards are plentiful. After spending time at some of those wineries, the Codys decided to open their own vineyard. The couple worked with faculty at Virginia Tech University to look at parcels of land in Pennsylvania, examining soil samples and mapping fields. Sarah identified the McMaster farm, and the collaborators saw the potential of Landenberg to replicate the same quality of vineyards in Virginia and Europe.
“Our weather here in Landenberg is similar to the weather of the Galician Coast in Spain,” says Ben. “We produce predominately European grapes, and the environment here allows us to grow wines that are really popular in the Mid-Atlantic.” The vineyard produces a variety of red and white wines including merlot, sauvignon blanc, petit verdot, cabernet franc and muscat ottonel.
Creating those varieties of wine is a labor of love, and Ben spends many of his days on the land hedging vines, making sure the fruit is exposed and managing weeds, ensuring the vineyard produces high quality grapes. Sarah runs the tasting room and handles administrative duties, including staff and marketing.
Both admit running the vineyard is hard work, but it’s highly rewarding. “I spent the majority of my childhood outside, I enjoy the outside, the relaxing part of it,” says Sarah. Despite being a long way from the Midwestern farms they each grew up on, they still get to enjoy the essence of that lifestyle—and sharing their passion for wine with others—in a remote corner of Chester County.