By Tammy Watts
VERSAILLES — The Winery at Versailles is planning many special events, as well as new wine releases, in celebration of its 20th anniversary year.
Mike and Carol Williams, owners of the Winery at Versailles, have been in the wine business since 1994. They own two other wineries in Pennsylvania, but have made Versailles their home since 2001.
“We are a Christian-based business, and we’ve been blessed with reliable customers,” Mike said, attributing their success their simple mission of “Do well, do good, and have some fun.” Carol added that their desire has always been to make friends, become involved in the community, and give back. Portions of sales from their first wine, Lucia, named in honor of their first grandchild, Lucy, were donated to breast cancer research; more than $50,000 was given to local hospitals. They have also supported Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Humane Society, and veterans.
Mike Williams began wine making when he became frustrated with corporate slowdowns, and the way long-term employees were treated in that environment. Drawing on experience he gained from his eclectic job history, including managing a gas station, raising quail, and living in Europe, where he traveled to some of the most incredible wine country in the world, one thing was consistent: “In good times, you drink wine, and in bad times, you drink wine,” he reasoned.
Today, the Williamses produce 200,000 gallons of wine a year, among their three wineries, distributing to 2,000 locations. Their wine is sold across 13 states, and they have 75 employees whom they consider family. Many stay long term: Betty McKenna, Controller, has been at the Winery at Versailles since it opened in October 2002.
Lisa Heidenreich, Mike and Carol’s daughter, started in 2011, and designs labels, manages advertising, and takes care of the wholesale business. When Mike had open heart surgery, it was her idea to add his EKG line to one of the labels, because he is the “heartbeat” of the winery.
New wines that will be available later this year are Emeraude, a sweet white, and a sugar free Rodeo Red. Rodeo Red has been the Winery’s best seller, with one million bottles sold, as of two years ago. People on specific diets such as keto, or who live with diabetes, will now be able to enjoy the popular wine. There will also be a port, aged in a bourbon barrel from Troy Hayner center, and collaborations with the newly reopened Hotel Versailles.
Carlena Sneed, events coordinator, shared her extensive knowledge of wine, and offered some insight as to The Winery’s upcoming events. She was praised by her co-workers for her energy and enthusiasm. “Well, they pay me to drink, plan parties, and create awesome experiences,” she stated.
Upcoming events include “Thrill of the Grill!” on May 6 and 7, a grill-your-own prix fixe dinner special (reservations required), and the Annual Flea Market and Vendor Affair on June 25.
For a full list of events, visit wineryatversailles.com/winery-events.