Happy Day to everyone!
So today we are taking a walk into history. I’d like to tell you a little bit about our family. Specifically, our dad’s side of the family. All of our grandparents are from Europe, and so there is a rich history – including wine and, yes, it goes without saying – food too.
In the tasting room, there is a “Coat of Arms” hanging in the hallway that goes from the steps to the Abisso Hall into the Tasting room. This is the “Aellen Family Crest”. Yes – our last name is Aellen – and for almost everyone living in the USA, it is correctly misspelled. A really long time ago, Anthony painted our family crest on one of the silos. It is still there today, just a little faded (he did a really good job – freehand!)
Our family crest originated in Saanen, Switzerland, in the mid 1300’s, which is where my Grandfather was born. This crest hangs in the town hall of Saanen and is in a stained glass window in the St. Nicholas Chapel in Gstaad in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. This fact is funny and coincidental, as you’ll remember from a previous blog that my dad was born on Christmas day (ergo, St. Nicholas). The crest appears warlike – a sword and three helmets representing distinction in battle, and two discs/coins – called “Plappert”, given to warriors as a military wage.
For a long time the Aellens were in the service of the Counts of Gruyeres. When the wars in Burgundy were over (forget your history? – you can look it up on wikipedia), and in honor and esteem for their service, in which they excelled themselves with bravery (that’s what the written history from my family says – I’m not making this stuff up), the “servicemen” of the Count of Bern, Switzerland (of which Gruyere, Saanen and Basel were a part of) were freed from further service, giving each family a freedom pass and a family crest. Centuries before this, our name might have originated from Ella or Elle but then became Aell, which meant “tall” or “strong”. So – that’s how we got our name correctly misspelled (just in case you were wondering).
Our family crest was on our labels probably about 20 years ago. But then modernization took over and it was decided that the look needed to be more, um, updated. So, now we have a different design…
One of the very first wines we ever made was a dry apple wine (or apfelwein) – which is a German or Swiss style of wine, not typically produced here in the US. Currently, we sell the Spiced Apple Wine, which is slightly sweet and spiced with cinnamon and cloves. We like recommending this wine during the fall/winter months, served warmed.
So that’s it with the history lesson! In our next history lesson (that doesn’t include a war or a crest, but does include a press – wine press, that is!), I’ll add some about our Sicilian Italian heritage and how it started the winery…that part is a hoot!
Until next time, please do try to enjoy your day, and do something nice for someone. Even if you don’t want to 🙂 You’ll be happy you did, and then you’ll really enjoy your day!