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OUR TEAM

The Owners, Winemaker & Managers

MAGIC IN THE MAKING

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Ryan Winiarski & Meredith Lanoue

OWNERS & PARTNERS

Have you ever wanted to leap into something big, bold and life-changing? We did and made it reality when we purchased Priam Vineyards and took over the 40-acre vineyard and 20-year old winery business on July 1, 2022.
 

We had always dreamed of a life in agriculture, and a combination of the pandemic lock-down plus the right opportunity led us to Priam. When COVID forced Ryan to close the Hartford office of his advertising agency, Checkoff, home confinement got to be too much, and he started looking for something more than sitting in front of a computer in a basement office. While building a website for a Texas company called BuonVinoCellars.com who specialize in selling premium wines, Ryan thought
about his younger years working on Christian Farms picking tobacco, and later working with Copper Rock Farm doing hay and how much joy being outside brought him. A quick google search for "vineyards for sale in CT", led him to the sale of Priam.

 

Our first meeting with the sellers and their real estate agent—a standard 30-minute affair—turned into a 2-hour+ evening. We hit it off immediately; we knew we wanted to buy, and the sellers knew they were selling to a team whose vision matched who they wanted to take over the vineyard and business. From the first day, Ryan has dived in as the General Manager role, upgrading systems, remodeling the space and working with the amazing existing staff—which includes a talented winemaker from South Africa, Ruaan Viljoen, his assistant and estate manager, Gustavo Rodriguez-Savala, an event sales team led by Kristine Herold, and a Tasting Room Manager (and also one of the most welcoming people you will ever meet) Alaina Zorzi—to make the transition seamless. Between weddings, weekly concerts (which are now free to attend), comedy shows, private events, wine and food pairings, food trucks and managing daily operations, and managing Checkoff clients, he has had a full plate.

 

We—Meredith, Ryan and our daughter Scarlett—moved to our new home on the property at the end of August. Meredith, who assumed the role of “Creative Director” for Priam, continues to work her full-time job at WM and care for their daughter, squeezing in time for the business and helping Ryan as we take on
this new adventure.

 

What does the future hold? We plan to continue producing and selling the brand’s 14 award-winning wines, but also expand production and increase distribution to package stores and restaurants across the state. We plan to make upgrades to the property to expand the event space—allowing us to host more weddings and private functions—and also make it even more fun and enjoyable to visit the property.

" The wine was amazing! The rosé paired perfectly with a hot day. The reception tent at the venue dressed up beautifully and the scenery in the vineyard itself was stunning."   xo Amy
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Scarlett Rose Winiarski

CUTE FABULOUS OFFICER (CFO)

Our daughter Scarlett has already taken to farm life and has become the apple of the staff's eye, bringing her own flair for cuteness and joyful energy. If she's not being held by her parents or a staff member, you'll find her dancing in the wedding tent, playing in a water fountain or chasing frogs in the garden.

" Our family and friends are still raving about the vineyard, the beauty of it, the delicious food, and outstanding staff/service. "   xo Nikki
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Ruaan Viljoen

WINEMAKER

We are pleased to welcome Ruaan Viljoen as our Winemaker.  He comes to us all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, in the heart of the wine region, where he was born. Ruaan has worked in small to large scale wine production environments covering a broad spectrum of wine production from bulk to ultra Premium, with cultivars such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon /Ruby, Muscat d’Alexandre, Riesling and Malbec. 

 

With 14 vintages behind him, Ruaan has significant experience in quality and premium wine production from such wineries as Kendall Jackson and Merry Edwards in Sonoma, CA, and Welbedacght, Boschendall, Glen Carlou, Grand Provance and Klawer Wines in South Africa.  He is able to bring significant knowledge to all aspects of the vineyard and winery with his extensive background in soil science, Pomology, viticulture and oenology.

 

If he were to be described with tasting notes as a bottle of wine...the Aromatics would be classic and traditional with traces of stubbornness masking the fresh, young fruit. The palate would surprise you with emotion and sensitivity. Extremely modest and honest allowing the truth of the terroir to show.

 

We look forward to his bringing new approaches and ideas to our the world-class wines produced here at Priam Vineyards.

" The venue is absolutely gorgeous! We got married in front of the vines! We highly recommend this venue to anyone looking for a beautiful vineyard wedding. "   xo Jessica
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Kristine W. Herold

WEDDING & EVENTS SALES & COORDINATION

More info to come!

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Alaina Zorzi

TASTING ROOM SALES MANAGER

More info to come!

Catering Partners
" The entire staff work so hard to make your day everything you hope and dream it will be. The service and attention they provided was light years beyond what we expected!"   xo Jess
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Our Catering Partners

We work exclusively with three different caterers; Gourmet Galley Catering, Matthew's Catering and

A Thyme to Cook.

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