In 2008, Doris (Wood) and Eric Behnke founded Turkey Point Vineyard on their fifth-generation Cecil County family farm. Their goal was to start a sustainable business that would enable them to care for and make good use of their land while preserving it as open space for many generations to come.
Doris' great-great-grandfather purchased the farm in 1864. The farm grew vegetables and agronomic crops.
When Doris and Eric took over, they were looking for a chance to engage with nature and (literally) see the fruits of their labor. Their goal was to produce grapes for other Maryland wineries.
Labor from family, friends, and volunteers built Turkey Point Vineyard. "People we didn't even know volunteered to help us establish the business. These were people who were passionate about local business. Now, these people are our friends."
Volunteers put in three hundred vines with nothing more than shovels. And then more vines arrived. Six thousand more, to be exact. Doris, Eric, and all of their family, friends, and volunteers marked out rows, set poles, dug holes, and planted grapes for three weeks.
Friends helped us establish Turkey Point Vineyard. (Left to Right: Doris, Eric, Rita, and Darwin)
“When we started Turkey Point Vineyard in 2008, we had no idea how crucial our friends, neighbors, and supporters would become as we began planting the vineyard. We have received so much love, encouragement and acceptance from our customers. It is humbling.”
Today, the seven-acre vineyard has 8,000 vines of Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Valvin Muscat grapes. Each year, the vineyard produces approximately 25 tons of grapes.
In 2021, Turkey Point Vineyard added an on-site vineyard tasting room and outdoor seating. Turkey Point Vineyard has also begun to offer their beautiful natural space for outdoor events and photo shoots.
"We take great care with our vineyard to produce the best grapes possible. The saying is, "Great wines start in the vineyard," which is very true. You cannot produce quality wines if you start with inferior grapes, " said Doris.
Doris and Eric feel the greatest reward for their hard work is watching their customers enjoy their wines.
2016 Governors Cup
Turkey Point Vineyard won the 2016 Governors Cup award for their white blend, Lighthouse White.
Setting up our posts for the vineyard trellis
Our children and their friends helped transport posts into the vineyard rows.
We had to do a lot of digging for posts and vines!
One of our first shipments of grapevines
We used string to establish straight rows.
Our vineyard is a true labor of love!
A friend helped us install the trellising system.
Watering our new vineyard required a lot of water and a little automation!
Turkey Point Vineyard's beginnings!
Yearly vineyard maintenance includes pruning the canes.
In this photo, our vineyard is a little further along.
To keep deer out of the vineyard, we installed a fence at the perimeter.
Doris is digging post holes. Thank goodness for equipment!
Our new grapevines were planted by hand.
About Doris and Eric
Doris has always loved farm life and the great outdoors. She grew up helping her father on the farm. To realize her goal of making life better for farmers, she majored in general agriculture at the University of Maryland.
Eric does not have a farm background. He majored in Computer Science at the University of Delaware. Eric met Doris while they were working for W. L. Gore & Associates in Elkton, Maryland.