Frankford, Delaware might not seem like Napa Valley but the Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery near there is like a little slice of Napa in Sussex Country. But how did owners Adrian and Jessica Mobilia wind up there?
“Long story,” says Adrian, “I met a woman (Jessica) at a wedding of a mutual friend in 2007”. He was living in Erie, PA at the time and she hailed from Kansas. “We started dating, then when it came time to get married, she said she wasn’t moving to Erie because it snowed there. So, I moved to the beach in late 2008.”
Mobilia opened Fenwick Wine Cellars in 2010 as a test to see if the market could support a winery. He had a 6-year lease. In 2015, he purchased their 26-acre farm, so when the lease was up, the couple already had land, and the plans to build the building and plant vines. Fenwick closed in late 2015 Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery less than a year later at the current location. Mobilia credits long hot summers and sandy soil for making Delaware an ideal place for a winery.
The main building includes a tasting room, a large, covered patio, production room, patio service bar and outdoor areas. The menu features 16 types of wine including a Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio, a Malbec, a Cabernet Sauvignon and some unusual titles such as Vermentino and Ambrosia. Mobilia’s favorite is Teroldego
“Signature Tastings” take place at specific times daily and are held at the bar in the winery’s elegant but cozy tasting room. Every part of the decor was carefully considered and most of it was built or put in place by the owners or someone on the Salted Vines team. The Salted Vines Vino Experience takes place on Saturdays and Sundays in the new barrel room and requires reservations.
Vino Club membership includes several benefits such as discounts on orders, two complimentary wine flights and special club only events. Members automatically get a three bottle Vino pack per quarter with a 20percent discount on wines included. Prices range from about $17 to about $30 before the discount.
Salted Vines is a music haven as well. The unCORKED and unWINED Summer Concert series runs from May through September and highlights regional bands. There is a charge for the concerts, but weekend music programs are free. Groovin’ Fridays start at 5 pm, Saturday’s Acoustic Vibes and Strummin’ Sunday both start at 1 pm (see the calendar). Several special events take place from April through December. For example, Sip and Shop events showcase local arts and crafts venders, food trucks. One can even stomp grapes at the Grapetober Fest set for October 7 and 8.
So, how did the name Salted Vines come about? Mobilia had the staff brainstorm names and they came up with about 20 choices. They started rounds of voting, narrowed it down to three and had a final vote. “The name I picked won,” he said. “I went home that night, and my wife asked me which name won. I told her R.I.P. Tide vineyard and winery.” There is an old family cemetery on the property, so the name was a play on words. “My wife said, “We aren’t doing that, it will be Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery.’”
His advice to wine lovers? “Drink what you like, not what your friends or society thinks you should drink.”
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland.