Max Rose started Chertok Wines in 2017 with a mission to create New England country wine. He started out sourcing hybrid grapes and apples from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. He found that there were not enough vines to reliably source from and decided to plant his own. In 2021 Max bought a farm, Belmont Orchard, and moved his winery to Shoreham, Vermont. He is incorporating apples from his own orchard along with fruit from other local farms and will continue to buy grapes until his own vineyards are producing fruit.
Belmont Orchard is around 20 acres on an east-facing hillside. Currently 16 acres is dedicated to apple trees planted in the 70’s. There are 6 acres of vines planted within the last couple years: Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Noir, Frontenac Blanc, Crescent, Itasca, and Louise Swenson. The plan is to pull back the acreage on the orchard, removing trees that are in terrible shape or are in poor locations, and have an equal split of trees to vines. The apple trees will also be grafted to cider varieties. The soils are Vergennes rocky clay, slate, and pockets of farmington loam. There is a flock of Brahma chickens helping curtail pests and Max would like to add sheep, geese, perhaps some goats and ducks in the future.
Max takes the lead and manages most of the property by himself with support from friends and family. All understory/undervine work is done with a hand scythe for less soil compaction and to rely less on diesel, although he does have a mower for the heavier duty jobs. Max makes his own liquid manures from comfrey and stinging nettle.
Region: Cambridge, Vermont
Grape: Frontenac Noir, Marquette, cider apples from Windfall Orchard.
Vineyard Size: 6 acres
Soil: Vergennes rocky clay, slate, and pockets of Farmington loam
Average Age of Vines: Estate vines planted 2021
Farming: Undervine scythe work, homemade liquid manures
Harvest: By hand
Winemaking: Whole cluster, food tread grapes, milled grapes added near the end of grape fermentation, punchdowns and two more months of fermentation.
Aging: Polyethylene eggs for 8 months on gross lees.
Added S02: none