Posted: 3:31 p.m. Sunday, June 23, 2013

Love affair with winemaking becomes retirement hobby


Love affair with winemaking becomes retirement hobby photo
Patricia Chalfant Wine Maker and Vineyard Manager and Walter Borda stand next to one of the vats of the new Caesar Creek Winery of Xenia. Contributed photo by D. Anthony Botkin

By D. Anthony Botkin

Contributing Writer


Southeast of Xenia is the Caesar Creek Winery, named after Caesar Creek, which runs through the property. From the old farmhouse built in 1834 looking toward the creek, there is a view of the rolling hill vineyard reminiscent of Europe.

The winery is the retirement project of Walter Borda. Walter had worked for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit and now president of his own firm started the winery with his wife, Dr. Karen Stuck, who passed away battling myeloid leukemia March 5, 2008.

They were married in 1979, shortly after Borda was transfer to Australia by Ford. The next four years the Bordas developed a love affair with wines.

When the Borda decide to start a winery, they looked for land in Virginia. The price of land there was high. Then Jean Stuck, Karen’s mother, spoke up, “If it doesn’t workout you could try on my farm,” said Borda.

Stuck has owned the 35 acres of farmland for 26 years. “We loved the natural beauty and had to have it, so we bought it on site,” Stuck says.

Eight years ago, Karen Stuck planted the first 1,200 vines by hand. Borda says, “It’s sort of an insane hobby because it’s really hard work.”

Everything stopped for a couple of years when Karen Stuck died, once regrouping things began to move forward again. At first, they sold grapes to other area wineries. “Grapes are easy to sell, wine is not, there are many regulations governing the selling of wine,” Borda says.

Patricia Chalfant, a 1999 graduate of Springboro High School, is the wine maker and vineyard manager. She holds a bachelors degree in biology from Ohio University, and a masters degree in horticulture and crops from Ohio State University. She served her internship at Caesar Creek Winery.

According to Chalfant, last year’s harvest brought in 24 tons of grapes that made 13,000 liters of wine, which translates into 17,000 bottles. “The winery community is very supportive,” she says.

Caesar Creek Winery earned the designation Ohio Quality Wine for two wines, the 2012 Traminette and 2012 Chardonel. The grapes are hybrids that endure Ohio cold temperatures. “You can grow very good grapes in Ohio. With good grapes you get good wine,” Borda says.

“The winery is event driven, we have had a number of events that have boosted the winery,” Borda says.

Events have included a 5k run that let the participants run between the rows of grapes. The winery is looking to book wedding receptions and group events, and for entertainment they are bringing in musicians to play various types of instruments and genres.

Contact contributing writer D. Anthony Botkin at (937) 272-2893 or

How to go:

What: Caesar Creek Winery

Where: 962 Long Road, Xenia, Ohio, 45385

When: Thursday – Saturday

Time: Noon – 9 p.m.

More Information: Now booking wedding receptions and group events.

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