Legacy of the Land

We are a large family – three generations strong – with many different perspectives. One of the ties that bind us is the stewardship of this land which has served as a backdrop for so much of our lives.

Our parents, Paul and Hattie Dorko, purchased the property in 1980, originally 70 acres. They renovated the old farmhouse, raised their five children, and over the years expanded the property as well as the family businesses.

Paul, a national & published award-winning landscape architect has a strong knowledge and appreciation of horticulture. He built the business, Hidden Valley Nursery, from the ground up. The property includes a full working nursery with 40 acres consisting of well-maintained plant material destined for Hidden Valley Nursery customers.

Photo credit: Kristina Gibb Photography

Our brother, Ian, followed in Paul’s footsteps, studying landscape architecture at Cornell University. During his time in the Finger Lakes, Ian visited several vineyards in the area. Although he was studying design-build, the booming wine industry began to pique his interest. He even snuck into a few viticulture classes at Cornell during his free time. Ian also spent time in Northern CA working at nationally known dairy farms; intrigued by what he saw in CA wine country during this time. After a couple of years, he returned to New Jersey with the idea of planting vines in the existing nursery.

All five children eventually found their way home. We live locally, working for the business while also having successful careers and home lives of our own. Maintaining the ideals taught throughout childhood, the family has a strong work ethic with a “roll up your sleeves” mentality. On most weekends, you can see the entire family working in the winetasting tent or tending to the vines. Hattie also carries on her mother’s legacy for gardening; if you blink, she may be gone and off tending to her gardens.

The Vineyard

Federal Twist Vineyard was established in 2012 and sits nestled between the steep rolling hills of Hunterdon County and the Delaware River.

The location of the vineyard takes advantage of the sandy river soil that is conducive for growing vines. The varietals that FTV has to offer were curated to withstand the New Jersey climates; early frost, humid summers, and strong winds through the valley where the vines sit.

Photo credit: David Turner