Alliance Historic Model Vineyard

2024 - Season 2

The Alliance Historic Model Vineyard, Second Season, April 2023

OUR GOAL

Following the success of our Alliance Historic Model Farm, we are expanding our project to grow a kosher organic Model Vineyard on the Levin family's historic farmland in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, New Jersey, the site of the first Jewish farm community in America. We have partnered with vintner Eli Silins to steward the land for his own kosher winery, Camuna Cellars in nearby Philadelphia.

Together we will produce “vine to bottle” kosher wine from the oldest family-owned Jewish farm in America.

ACRe is hosting educational community events about our local history and agriculture, and all things related to kosher wine. We will continue to host Jewish holiday celebrations, especially those in which wine and fruit play a special role, including Purim, TuB'Shvat and Passover.

Wild grapes grow on the fence around the Moses Bayuk house on Gershal Ave
Wild grapes grow around the Moses Bayuk House

HISTORY

Vineland Grape Juice Company at 200 NW Boulevard, 1907

Our farmland property is located in Alliance, part of the greater area of Vineland, New Jersey, so called for its grapevines.

Thomas Welch of Welch’s Grape Juice got his start in Vineland, NJ in 1869.

Black and white photo of Moses Bayuk tending to his vineyard in Alliance circa 1900.
Moses Bayuk tends to his vineyard in Alliance circa 1900

The Levins’ farmland has been in the family for five generations and is part of the Alliance Colony, the first successful Jewish farm community in America, established by Russian Jewish immigrants in 1882.

ACRe co-founder William Levin’s great great grandfather Moses Bayuk grew grapes on their family farmland in the early 1900s and sold kosher wine in Philadelphia.

Vineland Grape Juice Co Experiment Vineyard, 1907

A handful of vineyards operate just a few miles from our own property, where the newly dubbed “Outer Coastal Plain” of New Jersey is gaining a reputation for grape growing.

There are very few organic—and no kosher organic—vineyards on the East Coast.

Panoramic photo of Malya Levin and Eli Silins survey the Levins' historic Alliance farmland
ACRe co-founder Malya Levin and Eli Silins of Camuna Cellars walk along the farmland property border and future site of the Alliance Historic Model Vineyard, June 2022

THE FARM

We have established the model vineyard on a small private lot of historic Alliance farmland with a half-acre paddock and a large pole barn, adjacent to 5 acres vacant farmland ready for future expansion.

Steve Becker of VineTech and Eli Silins of Camuna Cellars survey the paddock for growing a vineyard.
Top, 11 rows of grapevines installed by Vinetech in April 2023; Bottom, Steve Becker of Vinetech and Eli Silins of Camuna Cellars survey the paddock before installation, December 2022.

THE MODEL

ACRe have partnered with co-founders William and Malya Levin to grow Alliance Historic Model Vineyard on their historic family farmland. Eli Silins of Camuna Cellars is overseeing the creation, stewardship and maintenance, experimenting with biodynamic and permaculture methods. Together they are working with local vineyard management company Vinetech to install and maintain.

ACRe has hosted seasonal holiday events with Eli Silins, introducing their model vineyard to the public with educational tours and wine tasting. ACRe continues to share social media and data collected during their organic trials.

Starting with a half acre of 4 choice hybrid varietals—Itasca, Regent, Marquette and Aravelle—we have only used 100% organic vine treatments and will use chemical treatments sparingly if 100% organic proves impossible.

After 3 years, Eli will harvest and use the grapes for production of his kosher wine at Camuna Cellars.

Steven Becker of VineTech speaks at our inaugural wine tasting gathering, April 10, 2023
Partner vintner Eli Silins pours his City Gleu for Friend of ACRe Bobby Dor Kurzweil. Photo by Amy Peterson, April 10, 2023

SUPPORTERS

Funding for this project is a tax-deductible charitable donation to ACRe.

We can share more specific details about the startup costs and commercial potential of the project upon request. Please contact us by email.

FUTURE POSSIBILITIES

Wild berries grow around the field in Alliance
Wild black raspberries grow around the historic Alliance fields.

MEET THE TEAM

Malya and William Levin smile in front of the historic Moses Bayuk house.

Malya & William Levin

MALYA & WILLIAM LEVIN founded the nonprofit organization Alliance Community Reboot in 2014, dedicated to rebuilding farm-based Jewish community in South Jersey.

As a great-great grandson of Moses Bayuk, leader of the Alliance Colony, William had never truly connected with his Jewish agricultural roots or the historic farmland his family still owned. After buying the farmland from their family, the Levins soon realized they had the potential to contribute to the Jewish farming movement, which has experienced a resurgence among the younger generation of American Jews.

Malya is a lawyer admitted to the NY and NJ Bars, and is Assistant Director and General Counsel at the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice, the nation’s first elder abuse shelter. In 2018 Malya was named one of New York Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36.”

Eli Silins and his wife Molly Nadav smile at a feast of food and wine.

Eli Silins

After working on a biodynamic vineyard in Australia in 2004, Eli Silins started making wine in California in 2013. He has long been interested in sustainable agriculture systems and the intersection of ancient and modern holistic farming practices. In 2019 Eli moved from Berkeley, CA to Philadelphia, PA and took Camuna Cellars with him. He is currently exploring the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic as a member of the Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association and experimenting with grapes, apples, and honey and their various combinations: wine, cider, mead, cyser and pyment.

Landscaper Ben Kutner smiles in front of the barn.

Ben Kutner

Ben is the owner of Kutner Landscape Solutions and longtime family friend of the Levins. Ben has supported ACRe with all its projects since the beginning, helping with property maintenance and installing farm and garden infrastructure. Ben will be preparing the land for our vineyard and helping with seasonal maintenance. This works out well, considering Ben also stores and repairs his heavy landscaping artillery in our barn.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, through the Salem County Board of County Commissioners & The Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission.