LEEDS — WillowsAwake Winery is pleased to announce the appointment of Lindsay Benson as winemaker and vineyard manager to the WillowsAwake Winery team.

Benson’s appointment coincides with WillowsAwake’s expansion and purchase of new winemaking and  vineyard equipment to position WillowsAwake to take full advantage of the winery’s eight acres of cold hardy vineyards as they reach maturity and full production.

Prior to joining WillowsAwake and following her return from study in Europe, Benson spent the past year working at vineyards and nurseries in Maine and Vermont, notably Cellardoor Winery, Shelburne Vineyard and Northeastern Vine Supply. While completing her master of science in oenology and viticulture from EMaVE Consortium in Montpellier, France and Geisenheim, Germany, Benson acquired experience at Château de Jonquières in Terrasses du Larzac, France.

Benson also worked at Bleasdale Vineyard at Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Troon Vineyard at Applegate Valley, Oregon and spent four years as Senior Buyer for Curious Wines in Cork, Ireland with responsibility for the purchasing and development for an Irish wine import company of a 350-plus line portfolio of international wines.

Benson also holds a master of science in international business from the IESEG School Of Management, Université Catholique de Lille, Lille, France.

Since 2019, Benson has followed the evolution of WillowsAwake and is excited to take a leading role in shaping it’s future, “Advances in cold hardy grapevine breeding have made New England one of the most exciting new regions for sustainable viticulture and winemaking in America, which is why I am so excited to bring my winemaking experience back to my native Maine. The industry here is still small, and the opportunity to make wine from local grapes is rare — which makes the vineyard and winery at WillowsAwake even more incredible. I am so grateful to join the team at WillowsAwake, for this remarkable opportunity to craft quality wines from Maine-grown fruit, and for the chance to share my knowledge and passion for cold climate winegrowing along the way”.

Tony Lyons, co-owner of WillowsAwake Winery adds, “Lindsay’s joining the team comes at a pivotal point in WillowsAwake’s expansion with new equipment and the move to a larger production facility, and frankly, the point where we need a more knowledgeable and experienced perspective and colleague, especially as we begin to produce more estate grown wines. We’re excited to be working with Lindsay as we begin a new chapter at WillowsAwake.”

WillowsAwake Winery is family-owned with eight acres of vineyard, a winery and restaurant established in 2018 and located in Leeds Our restaurant, No. 10 Eatery @ WillowsAwake, opened in 2020 and is Maine’s first winery restaurant operating year-round. The winery has just completed bottling it’s first estate wine produced from Itasca grapes and aptly named “Temerity”. The vineyard is planted with cold hardy cultivars developed by the University of Minnesota Horticulture Research facility and by private Minnesota breeder Tom Plocher to thrive and produce award worthy red and white wines in the United States coldest regions. For more go to www.willowsawake.com.