Posted: November 10, 2020

Two Penn Staters who make notable wines from grapes grown on their own vineyards join us for the next Onward Ag Entrepreneurs! conversation on Nov. 18, at 12 p.m.

Dr. Barb Christ and her husband Dr. Elwin Stewart, plant pathologists who retired from the college, built the Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery in State College from scratch as a second career.

Dr. Barb Christ and her husband Dr. Elwin Stewart, plant pathologists who retired from the college, built the Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery in State College from scratch as a second career.

COVID forced owner-operators of wineries to quickly get creative, change their operations and fine new ways to connect with their customers — and meet their wine-buying needs.

Two Penn Staters who make notable wines from grapes grown on their own vineyards join us for the next Onward Ag Entrepreneurs! conversation on Nov. 18, at 12 p.m.

Watch or join the conversation via Zoom webinar link or Facebook Live! @psuaginnovation.

Dr. Barb Christ of Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery, Zach Wilson of WAYVINE Winery & Vineyard and student Mackenzie Paige Homan join Dr. Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneur and Innovation Faculty Scholar for this Onward Ag Entrepreneurs! conversation, part of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Ag Sciences. 

About Dr. Barb Christ

Dr. Barb Christ and her husband Dr. Elwin Stewart built the Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery in State College from scratch as a second career. They each had successful academic careers as plant pathologists at the College of Ag Sciences. Dr. Christ served as the college's interim dean from 2012 - 2014. Dr. Stewart is professor emeritus, and served as department head, 1993-2002.

In 1994, they bought 28 acres in Happy Valley, because they had both grown up on farms. But at the time, they weren't sure what kind of farm. They were looking for something that would be fun and profitable to do on limited acreage.

Turns out their soils and growing conditions were perfect for growing grapes. And, Dr. Stewart had been making wine as a hobby.

They grow 85 percent of the grapes for their wines on their vineyard. They have won two Governor’s Cup awards for their wines, and had to think fast when COVID hit this spring. 

Dr. Christ will share how they have reworked the operation this year.

About Zach Wilson

As a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences student, Zach Wilson began planting grapevines on his family’s dairy farm in Nottingham, Pa. In 2011, he made 500 bottles of wine and graduated with a degree in agribusiness management.

Now, he and his brother James run the WAYVINE Winery & Vineyard, on their third-generation family farm. In 2013, they opened the tasting room.

Then — COVID hit.

Find out what happened next.

Join us for Onward Ag Entrepreneurs on Weds., Nov. 18, at 12 p.m. via Zoom webinar link or Facebook Live! @psuaginnovation.

Onward Ag Entrepreneurs!

"Onward!" are conversations about How Penn State Ag Sciences entrepreneurs are moving forward and Making It Happen in the midst of the pandemic. Find out how Ag Entrepreneurs stay motivated, act and grow during these uncertain times.

Onward conversations are held monthly via Zoom, shared via Facebook Live! @psuaginnovation. Video recordings are available on the @psuaginnovation Facebook page. 

Thinking like an entrepreneur means a mindset of resilience, creativity, adaptation, the courage to keep trying new things and motivation to act on ideas. This mindset leads to success no matter your career path.