Broken Creek Vineyard flourishes under new ownership

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Broken Creek Vineyard flourishes under new ownership
Abby and Jean Skaff pose in front of Broken Creek Vineyard. (Photo/ Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – Broken Creek Vineyard is one of Shrewsbury’s best kept secrets.

The business — which was started in 2011 by Eric and Peggy Preusse — is under new ownership. Although the vineyard has expanded in recent months, the new owners said it remains one of Shrewsbury’s “hidden gems” nonetheless.

“I had somebody pull in the parking lot, show his friend that there’s a vineyard here, then they drove away,” said Abby Skaff.

Skaff and her husband, Jean, purchased the 41-acre property in March 2023. Since that point, Abby has run the front-of-house operations, while Jean tackles most of the winemaking.

Abby said she enjoys remaining under the radar. Though just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Hartford Turnpike, the vineyard is located off peaceful, serene South Street.

“Part of me likes the fact we’re remaining hidden. There’s a quaintness and a cuteness. When people stumble upon us, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know. I’ve lived here 20-plus years down the street.’ It just amazes me,” she said.

The vineyard’s building contains an indoor patio, string lights and outdoor seating — all overlooking the property’s 6 acres of grapes. The building hosts several private events each week, and Abby said there’s been some marriage proposals on Broken Creek’s beautiful property.

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The Skaff family has also worked to build the brand. Abby added a retail element, selling Broken Creek-branded blankets, bags, sweatshirts, T-shirts, popcorn, and more. They also brought food to the property. As people get hungry, Abby said she “wanted to keep people here.”

Local business has been central to Broken Creek’s expansion. The retail store features goods from local producers, including cutting boards, cheeses and cookies. Sometimes you’ll find food trucks in the vineyard’s parking lot, and inside there are local businesses selling their products. For the holidays, they started selling Christmas trees.

Then, of course, there’s the wine.

While both Abby and Jean said they enjoyed wine prior to purchasing the vineyard, neither had much of an idea how to produce it. The couple, who had lived on Lake Quinsigamond for the last 15 years, are involved in the real-estate business, and once they found the property, they dedicated time and effort into learning the trade.

“Once we fell in love with property, we started to do all our research. We started taking classes. We started talking to a bunch of winemakers… The previous owners helped us a lot with the transition, and they were kind of our mentors for the first couple months while we figured it out,” Abby told the Community Advocate.

The grapes are harvested, destemmed, fermented in buckets, pressed, and moved into vessels for the monthslong fermentations process. Afterward, they are filtered again, bottled, labeled, and bought. The work is tiring and laborious, but Jean said he takes great pride in his work.

“I love doing it. The reward is the satisfaction more than the financial reward,” he said.

Broken Creek hopes to plant hops soon, adding another dimension to the already-blooming business.

More information about Broken Creek Vineyard, located at 614 South St., can be found at http://www.brokencreekvineyard.com/. The vineyard is also on Instagram at @brokencreekvineyard

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