Maryland Wine Pioneer Dies

Jack Aellen, founder of Linganore Winecellars, was pivotal in establishing state's first AVA

by Linda Jones McKee
Mt Airy, Md.—John P. “Jack” Aellen Jr., one of the early winery owners in Maryland, died Sept. 22 in Naples, Fla. Aellen founded Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Winecellars in Mt. Airy, Md., with his wife Lucille in 1971. The couple planted six acres of grapes in 1972 and opened the winery in 1976. As a way to attract more visitors to the winery, he organized the first wine festival in Maryland, which was held at Linganore Winecellars in 1978. Recognizing the wine-consuming public’s interest in regional wines, he worked to establish the first American Viticultural Area in Maryland. The Linganore Viticultural Area includes 90 square miles in the center of Maryland. He also founded the Frederick Chapter of the American Wine Society.

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Aellen graduated from Fordham University with a master’s degree in organic chemistry. After he was blinded in an industrial accident at the age of 30, he returned to graduate school and obtained an MBA from Lehigh University. He worked for many years for the National Bureau of Standards and the Department of Energy while growing the winery in Mt. Airy.

Aellen is survived by six children, three of whom have been active in the winery business: Anthony, who took over management of the winery in the early 1980s; Eric, who has been managing the vineyards since 1990; and Lucia Aellen Simmons, who took the position of marketing director in 1993. Some of the third generation, composed of Jack and Lucille’s 13 grandchildren, are now starting to work at Linganore as well.

Currently no comments posted for this article.