When flames destroyed part of a barn in Scotland on the Fourth of July, it also came close to wiping out a family-run business.
Lost in the fire were thousands of gallons of wine and equipment for The Vineyard of Hillyland.
“It’s such a shame to see it like this, you know. Yeah, we’ve been coming here helping them pick grapes like for four or five years,” Cheri Majnich, of Windham Center, said.
After years of preparation and harvests, the winery had officially launched earlier this year.
“I knew I had to be here tonight. This has been the biggest tragedy that our family has suffered,” Bailey Stearns, the daughter of the owners, said.
With the barn now taped off, the vineyard threw open its doors for a wine tasting on Friday in a nearby building that was spared any damage.
Bottles of wine had been saved from the destruction, including by firefighters.
“We just concentrated on getting open for Friday because I said I would do it and we’re doing it,” Geri Stearns, co-owner of The Vineyard at Hillyland, said.
The family said they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since the fire, including the large turnout for the tasting.
“We have to come celebrate. They were opening up today after this tragedy and they were opening up, we were coming,” Lisa Giroux, of Hanover, said.
The owners said they are figuring out the plan for the next harvest in a couple months.
And they said the historic dairy barn will rise again.
“They will rebound. They will rebuild,” Leo Majnich, of Windham Center, said.
The tastings will now take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
As for the cause of the fire, the family said it was undetermined.