In 1975 when John and Rita Linehan, having just finished graduate school in Cincinnati, bought a vineyard along the Grand River in Harpersfield Township, they had dreams of family and farming and service to community.  Those dreams unfolded in ways beyond their hopes.

By 1982 they had given birth to four children, Molly, Patrick, Devin and Christina.  Both their recently widowed mothers lived in new apartments attached to the main house.  John, a Human Resources Manager for an Ashtabula company and Rita, a part time teacher and later Pastoral Minister at her church, experimented with different ways of raising and marketing grapes.

Fast forward to 2011!!

John and Rita are “retired”.  The grandmothers have passed away.  The four children have graduated from college.  The family members continue to raise grapes, and are extensively involved in projects in developing countries – both visiting frequently and living there for periods of time. They volunteer with the fire department, with their church, with L’Arche communities local and worldwide, and mediate with the Ashtabula courts.  But through it all, the family finds its foundation in the land and growing grapes.  The children joined together and bought the vineyard and house adjoining the “homestead” forming an LLC.  Family grape growing has expanded!

And the family has expanded.  Patrick married Lisa and they live in a 200 year old house one mile upstream.  They have 2 year old Landon and an angel in heaven, Annalisa Catherine, who lived 10 hours after birth.  It was the tremendous support of the community to that troubled pregnancy and Annalisa’s short life that affirmed the importance of relationship in all we do.  On September 3, 2011 Christina married Stephen Moncrief.  Three hundred or so guests celebrated at the open reception at the vineyard!  Christina and Stephen will be working with L’Arche in Erie, where Molly just began in Campus Ministry at Gannon University.  They are frequently on the farm.  Meanwhile Devin works with a company building wind turbine farms around the country.  It affords him the opportunity to come home often for long weekends to support family activities and raise his bees.

And the family continues to rejoice with working the land and sharing the bounty we have been blessed with.  The dream continues to unfold.  Come visit.  We’d like to be your friends!