Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard focuses on the production of several world class quality wine types.
When the owners of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard needed funding for some capital expenditures a few years after they purchased the business, they returned to a trusted source for help: NYBDC. In 2007, when Frederick Merwarth, his wife Maressa and partner Oskar Bynke purchased the business, NYBDC and Empire State CDC partnered with Chemung Canal Trust Company on SBA 504 and 7(a) financing to help finance the acquisition of the vineyard.
“Since taking over from the vineyard’s founder, Fred and Maressa Merwarth and Oskar Bynke have worked to execute their plan to increase sales and production,” said NYBDC Senior Vice President Steven Willard. “Their success in doing so led to a need for further working capital. NYBDC again partnered with Chemung Canal Trust Company to provide a permanent working capital solution via a second SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan.” NYBDC provided a $350,000 SBA 7(a) loan to fund the purchase of additional equipment for the business and for debt refinance and working capital.
In addition, Chemung Canal Trust Company provided a new $150,000 line of credit for shortterm working capital needs. Bynke said the NYBDC funding has been vital to getting the vineyard going and in helping the owners maintain autonomy. “We didn’t need outside investors and were able to maintain control over the vineyard, which is very, very good for us.” With Fred Merwarth as the winemaker and vineyard manager and Bynke as the sales manager, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard focuses on the production of several world class quality wine types, including Riesling (its most popular type), Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, champagnes, Gewurztraminer and Rosé.
All wines produced by the vineyard are pressed, processed, bottled and labeled on site. Approximately 50 percent is sold wholesale to retailers and restaurants; the remaining 50 percent is sold through the tasting room, retail shop and mail order sales. Wholesale customers come from throughout New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts and from as far away as Canada, China and Sweden.
In 2006, Fred Merwarth was accepted into the Institute of the Masters of Wine, an elite London-based program that provides the highest level of education in the wine industry. Merwarth was the 20th American accepted into the program, from which fewer than 300 people have graduated since its formation in 1955. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard also has a grafted grapevine nursery operation that sells grapevines to more than 500 vineyards, wineries, nurseries and private home growers.