by Autumn Evans
Next weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Winery at Marjim Manor, the family-owned Appleton winery known for its fruit wines, as well as its ghost stories.
"It's exciting," said Margo Sue Bittner, owner and operator of the winery. "It's interesting to see all the changes in the winery, in the wine business." She noted that when she opened her winery, it was one of the first stops on the Niagara Wine Trail. Now, the trail has grown to feature 20 wineries.
Bittner purchased the historical Marjim Manor, located at 7171 East Lake Road, in 2003 and opened her winery in 2004. She said her husband ran a fruit farm at the time and sold his products to other places. Bittner saw the opportunity to use that fruit to make wine as well.
"She kind of went into it backwards," winery employee Janet Walker said, noting most people start with a winery, then go on to grow their own supplies.
Bittner's business is now entering its 10th year of operation, and she plans to celebrate with her customers. From 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, the Winery at Marjim Manor will host its an anniversary party.
Local jazz duo Custode and Parisi will perform live during the event. There will be chocolates from Niagara Falls-based Honeymoon Sweets, and food and wine specials every hour. Bittner will also premiere a new sparkling apple wine called Once Upon a Time.
During the party, there will be a costume competition where participants can dress as their favorite characters from the manor's popular ghost story. The new Marjim Manor Puzzle Book, filled with guessing games and trivia related to the winery, will also debut.
The entry fee is $20 per person prepaid and $25 at the door.
The winery will continue to celebrate for the rest of the year by hosting special events on the 10th of every month.
Looking to the future, Bittner said she looks forward to seeing what would happen next at the winery.
"We've won all kinds of awards and developed different special events, so it's going in all kinds of directions," she said.
In the meantime, however, Bittner said she was excited about the anniversary.
"We're looking forward to a wonderful event and a wonderful 10th year," she said.