Like many Italian immigrants, Bertero Basignani’s grandparents, Annunziata and Scandiano Bechini, brought the practice of home winemaking with them from Italy.
Following in their footsteps, Bert aspired to carry on the family tradition. In 1972, while still a student at Towson State University, Bert bought 10 acres of farmland in Butler, Maryland. In the back of his mind he envisioned someday planting a vineyard to make his own wine. In 1974, he married Lynne and together they planted 60 vines, 10 each of 6 different varieties.
Bert began making wine using his grandmother’s grape press. He read every book he could find on the subject, and picked every mind available to him as he began experimenting with winemaking.
By 1984, Bert had planted another six acres on adjoining land that he and Lynne had acquired. It was then that they started to grow the vinifera grapes that Bert felt would make the best wine. Federal regulations allowed Bert to make only 200 gallons of wine for home consumption, so the extra fruit was sold to vineyards in the area, while Bert perfected his winemaking techniques.
In November of 1986, after winning many amateur winemaking judgings, and at the urging of friends who had sampled and approved of their wine, Bert and Lynne decided to make the plunge and started Basignani Winery.
Today, they make 6500 gallons of wine a year, and have received many accolades from wine critics and faithful customers as well.