James Edward Lee – Visionary and Co-Founder of Maraella Vineyards & Winery
Scott Edward Lee – Co-Founder of Maraella Vineyards & Winery – Author
My father, James, had made it fairly clear from almost the beginning that he wished for the winery to become a generational family legacy. This fact was driven home even more in April 2014 following his diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a result of his exposure at Camp Lejeune while serving in the Marine Corps.
By late 2014-early 2015, Dad knew that he most likely would not see the end of 2015. As was his way-- he chose to spend his remaining time focusing on those he loved, especially my mother (Sandra) his wife of 54+ years.
May 13th, 2015 was to be their 54th Wedding Anniversary. In the weeks and days leading up to that day, my father worked to plan a catered dinner for my mother and himself-- food, wine, and music in the pavilion outside the winery's tasting room. He asked that it be just the two of them, that none of the family attend or intrude on their time alone.
My daughters have grown up exceptionally close to their grandparents and as such, probably were the ones that protested the loudest when he stated his anniversary plans.
"This was an important date!"
"We should all be there to celebrate the two of you!"
My eldest daughter, Jessika, showing exceptional listening skills like her father (ha!) decided to ignore this request in order to run up to the winery and take a few pictures of Mom and Dad to commemorate the occasion. Although she intended for it to be just a quick trip, she brought my granddaughter Lee Caroline (who was 2 almost 3 at the time) with her.
Dad, the moment he saw Lee, took her by the hand and they headed off to the vineyard. It was then that Jessika used her phone to grab a quick snapshot of a special moment between great-grandfather (G.G.) and great-granddaughter (L.C.). This picture was gifted by Jessika and her family to my mother and I, the Christmas following my father's passing.
When choosing a label design for our JELee Port Wine (Dessert Wine), there was no other choice in our minds but this photo. It is a great picture, extremely sentimental to my family… and to me, it perfectly expresses not only my father's wishes for Maraella to be a Generational Winery-- but our family's promises to him that it will be. The bridging of four generations all in one label, showing respect for the past and anticipation for the future.
I share all this to say, if you've not tried our dessert wine, my father's namesake, the JELee-- you're missing "a moment in a glass" ...it is really good.
Scott E. Lee
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