In 2005, New Hampshire had 15 wineries. Today, that number has doubled, feeding a multi-million-dollar industry that’s growing at 20 percent a year. Visitors who walk into the upscale café and tasting room at LaBelle Winery in Amherst quickly imbibe the aromas of ripened fruit and aging oak. (Photo Credit: Sheryl Rich-Kern)
excerpt from the Nashua Telegraph:
NASHUA – The Gate City hosted the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Awards” on Wednesday evening, where the group named Amy Labelle, of Labelle Winery in Amherst, as the “Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.
from the NH Magazine article:
“Passion can come out of nowhere, as proven by Amy Labelle, winemaker and owner of Labelle Winery, now housed in a beautiful new building in Amherst. ‘I practiced law for 16 years before one experience made me suddenly realize that everything was about to change,’ she says. At a winery in Canada, Amy can’t explain the overwhelming goosebumps she experienced, saying only that ‘I just knew that I had to make wine.'”
From the Business NH Magazine article: “Just like winemaking itself, the event, retail and café space at LaBelle blends old and new, with chandeliers made from reclaimed French oak wine barrels and bright red, modern lights throughout the space. The large open space mixes textures and a variety of lighting for an upscale atmosphere.”
From the Applaud Women article: “Successful lawyer turned wine maker is not a career path one usually hears about… As part of the legal team for Fidelity Investments, Amy was content living in her Boston brownstone. It wasn’t until she took a summer vacation to Nova Scotia in 2001 that she would realize her life-altering passion.”
Walk into the new LaBelle Winery on Rte. 101 in Amherst and you are immediately enveloped in the aroma of a dream come true. Giant gleaming stainless steel tanks are infusing the air with the by-products of fermentation – the release of the earthy smell of yeast doing its job.
Our Blueberry Wine has made Jim Beauregard’s Annual Top 10 Wines List! Writes Jim, “This was one of Amy’s first experiments with wine all those years ago, and a wonderful tradition that continues. Amy and Cesar, welcome to the top 10.”
The new LaBelle Winery facility in Amherst is a sight to see. You might even think you took a wrong turn and ended up in Napa. A visit is an experience in itself complete with awe-inspiring architecture, a flaming caldron, café with small menu, wine tastings and wine-related gifts.
Things at LaBelle are not always what they appear, and this makes it fun. The winery offers a flight of three wines, in 3 ounce pours so you can sample several of them. They have a suggested flight of three reds and three whites, or you can pick your own.