Celebrate NH: The Winemaker’s Heart

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Published by Celebrate NH Magazine
March 2019
There’s very little that’s routine about LaBelle Winery, but if there’s one constant about the alluring, inviting, winery, bistro and vineyard rising and plunging along Route 101 in Amherst, it’s that there’s always something new.

There are new plantings, a new export deal sending LaBelle wines to China, a new Portsmouth tasting room, a line of what owner/winemaker Amy LaBelle calls some of the best reds she’s ever made and even plans for a distillery in the future. But first — a step back.

If not for a chance stop-off at a winery in Nova Scotia in 2001, the sloping, hilly landscape just west of Manchester might look quite different than it does today. It was on that tour through the Canadian Maritime province that LaBelle’s life changed. She came home with an idea and a vision — which became a reality just a few years later and often includes more than the award-winning wines crafted by the UC-Davis-trained winemaker.

“This was always the dream,” LaBelle says, sitting at a small table in the middle of the winery’s bistro. “To have a place that would provide space and interest for a community to gather — and to serve that community. We feel strong about being a part of the fabric of our community. I think we have a lot to be proud of here, but our most proud thing is that since we opened the doors here six years ago, we’ve been able to help more than 1,500 charities. That’s a really deep part of what LaBelle does.

 

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