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Small Business Development Center client Pleasant Hill Vineyard opens for business

Emily Bamforth
February 17, 2015

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Photo credits: Katie Klann

The view off the back porch of the newly opened Pleasant Hill Vineyards is a classic Athens view that showcases the area’s natural beauty. 

“On a clear day, you can see for 14 miles,” said owner Ross Corder.  In fact, it’s the rolling greenery that attracted Ross, his wife Sandra, their son Nick and their daughter-in-law Anne to pick the acreage on Pleasant Hill Road to open their vineyard.

Through previous experience at a friend’s vineyard, Sandra and Ross know what it takes to create stunning wines. They knew that finding a property was the first step to opening one of their own. As soon as they saw the view from the property on Pleasant Hill Road, Sandra said, they were hooked.

“We knew our vision was going to happen here,” Sandra said.

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Although the view is breathtaking – and will be even more so once the Corders plant their vines in the spring –  the old farmhouse is equally impressive.

As a former residence, the space had been “modernized” over the years, with shag carpet and bubble lights that were a poor match to the home’s historical features.  Nick, who formerly owned his own contracting business, along with the rest of the family, renovated the house to preserve beautiful historical elements as well as add complementary artistic touches.  The restaurant and bar has an upscale wood cabin-inspired feel with plenty of restored wood and an outside entertaining area where visitors can enjoy the exquisite scenery and sunsets.

“We were really looking to do something original,” Nick said.

The centerpiece of the dining room is the large wooden bar, from which nine different wines are served to visitors.  Currently the wines are made on-site from juice sourced from other vineyards.  In a couple years, after the vines to be planted this year are mature, the Corders will be making wine with grapes grown on the property.


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Right now, Pleasant Hill Vineyards also offers events such as five-course meals with wine pairings, specialty pizza nights, and steak frys in the summer.  The family will also be hosting and catering large private events, such as weddings.

The Corders are clients of the Ohio University Small Business Center, but were “advanced” when they walked in with a business plan and details of the business model, said director Lissa Jollick.

“The Corders’ motivation was fed by their desire to share their dream with the community,” she said. “It’s great to finally see them have this opportunity.”

Jollick said the business is adding to the region’s increasing presence of artisanal wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

“This is one more building block for attracting people from surrounding areas to promote tourism to the Athens area,” Jollick said.

Along with the planting of the vines this spring, the Corders also plan to renovate other parts of the property, such as the large barn next door to create additional space for events.

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Sandra said without the help of the Small Business Development Center, the Corders wouldn’t have the “road map” they have now for the next three years.

“I can’t imagine where we’d be without that,” she said.

For more information, visit the business’s website at www.pleasanthillvineyardsllc.com.