We are proud to say we are a Three Generation business of Grape Growers and Winemakers! “Keeping it in the family” is important to Long Cliff, and there’s no doubt that the camaraderie not only improves our work experience, but it leaves a lasting impact on our customers, who quickly realize our love of wine runs through our veins – quite literally!
Meet Our Family:
- Donald “Grandpa” DeMaison: Don has a passion: producing excellent grapes- which he has spent the past four decades mastering. Wine making is his life, tracing his farming roots back to his Great Great Grandfather who emigrated from the Alsace region of France. As the President of Long Cliff Vineyard & Winery, Inc., Don works as grape grower, winemaker and entrepreneur; completely dedicated to producing vinifera wines of superb quality. On any given day he can be found taking on whatever tasks Long Cliff might demand of him, whether it be paperwork or vineyard labor, but what he seems to enjoy most is guiding the family business toward their vision. It was Don who brought us together to help him chase his dreams, and we thank God everyday that he did!
- Kevin DeMaison: He’s infamous among guests for his Barrel Tastings, always offering customers sneak peeks of what’s up and coming for Long Cliff, but Kevin’s real skill is in viticulture. Raised a grape farmer, Kevin has fond memories of coming home from school to work out in the vineyard, (and taking a few naps between the rows when he thought no one was looking!) He got away from the grape business in his adult life, but he couldn’t refuse the offer to come back and give Dad a hand when Don first pitched his winery dream over a family dinner. In spite of his working a full-time job Monday through Friday, or maybe because of it(?), he still puts in late hours in the vineyard & cellar (often after Midnight during Harvest and Crush!), and it’s not unlikely to stop in on any given weekday and find Don & Danielle both waiting for him to get home to finish some new chore or sign off on another new idea.
- Danielle DeMaison: Danielle joined the family business in June of 2012 – an accident of sorts, she was looking for summer work before starting her final semester at UB – and fell in love with the world of wine. The people, the atmosphere, the energy. Ready or not, she realized that was just where she belonged, and took up studying Winery Operations at NCCC’s Culinary Institute in 2013. She really enjoys working with customers one-on-one to find a wine that perfectly suits their unique palate, and watching them leave with a bottle of Long Cliff wine to share with friends is just the icing on the cake. Danielle manages our tasting room & marketing efforts, coordinates both on & off-site events, serves as our wine trail liaison. She shares her Grandpa’s passion for watching the “fruits of our family labor” come to fruition… no pun intended! It’s truly a blessing to work for family, and be able to say at the end of the day “we did that!”
- Kev “My Kid” DeMaison: Coming straight to work after school, Kev worked as a faithful apprentice during harvest season… (which translates to: “tell My Kid I expect him to be on the clock by 3pm!”) He makes himself sparse during the winter months however, only reporting to the winery when his video game & pizza fund starts to diminish- leaving our tasting room staff tracking down his whereabouts when Kevin comes in asking “Hey! Where’s My Kid today?!” ……isn’t it funny how history repeats itself?
We get by with a little help from our Friends… Meet the Tasting Room Staff:
- Jenn: Reluctant tasting room associate by day, energetic cellar rat by night, Jenn took a position at Long Cliff this spring, after completing two years in the Winery Operations program at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute with Danielle. While her real interest lies in winemaking, she’s happy to offer us her tasting room availability each week- always with the caveat of “if there’s something you need done in the vineyard though, let me know that first!” Her work ethic is second to none – we’re yet to give her with a task that’s too big or too hard for her to take on, and she’s always looking to learn more, (and share what she’s learned with her guests behind the bar!). She keeps Grandpa on his toes, regularly challenging him to not only explain WHY a process happens, but to show her how. At this rate, we expect she’ll be making her first vintage of Long Cliff wine in no time!
- Gerald: Gerald joined the Long Cliff family this fall as our resident Sommelier! If you’re looking to truly learn more about the wine you’re tasting, whether it’s the wine-making process or sensory evaluation, Gerald is the man behind the bar you want to see! His background in both food & wine is extensive, between studies at the California Culinary Academy and the Northwest Wine Academy in Seattle – and he’ll be the first to tell you that while there aren’t many things in this life that he’s passionate about other than his wife, his kids, and his dogs, wine makes the list! Before settling in WNY and finding Long Cliff, he spent most of his life living, working & traveling with the Air Force and then the Army, and has had the privilege of tasting wine all over the world- but we’ll let him tell you more about his adventures himself, as his stories and life experiences often weave their way into his tasting room conversations!
- Kristin: A returning friendly face in the tasting room, Kristin worked for us in the Fall of 2012, and just came back on board for Summer 2014 help! She’s always happy to share a good chat over a glass of her favorite Lemberger, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying much longer than expected when she’s waiting on you – she’ll make you feel right at home!