In 1973, Donna DeYoung gifted Michael Lucent with a wine making kit for his 18th birthday. Unfortunately, Donna never knew if Michael had made the wine because soon they parted—as “first loves” often do-- never to meet again. Or, at least that’s what Donna thought, until a mere 25 years later when Michael knocked on her door. She herself had just recently moved back to Wilkes-Barre, PA after living out of the area for the past several years. Life’s circuitous folly led them back to each other, and yes, once again fell back in love; only this time, (so as to not let her slip through his fingers again), he married her! She gained not only a husband but also the love of his two amazing adolescent children as well.
Did Michael ever make the kit-wine? Actually he did. Was Donna responsible for his winemaking career? Maybe not--- though she’d like to think so.
Michael‘s first winery was located in Duryea, PA--in his parents cellar. One day while enjoying a glass of wine with his Dad, he said, “Papa, we should make ‘Dego Red’ wine, just like Grandpa did.’” And so it began. In 1981 Father, Son, and the entire family commenced making wine.
For the next 17 years Michael kept his winemaker’s notes on brown paper shopping bags, which are still in the cabinet in his parent’s cellar. They pressed the grapes with an old world press which was used by his Grandfather when he first came to the states from Sicily. Michael’s children grew up making the wine; even as tiny creatures, their job was to turn the press, once their little hands could reach!
During those 17 years Michael became quite proficient at his craft; and upon their first re-encounter he provided Donna with a bottle of his wine. It was so delicious that she didn’t believe that it was his, but after touring his “winery” there could be no doubt.
They honeymooned on Lake Seneca, so that Michael could share his love for this region to his new wife. Donna’s first winery experience was at the Arcadian Estates Winery. She too fell in love with the area, loved Arcadian, and said to Michael “We could do this!” And so the dream began.
The following year, in 2000, they purchased the property on Route 14, just one mile north of Arcadian, (how fitting).
For eight years this electrician and his artist wife did research, winery seminars, and hired a Consultant. Independently, Michael worked as a “cellar-rat” for Knapp and Glenora, and Donna as a retail manager for Logan Ridge Winery and quite a bit later was also the original retail manager at White Springs Winery. Together they co-managed a winery for two years in New Jersey where Michael made his first commercial award winning wines.
The family of King’s Road Vineyards decided to close the winery, due to the untimely death of the owner. Although there was great sadness to leave this beautiful winery in New Jersey, this gave them the opportunity to buy the tanks and production equipment at a reasonable price from the family. Now it was time to reclaim their dream; go back “home” to the Finger Lakes region with their invaluable winery experience and equipment, and start their own winery.
They knew they wanted to work together—to make up for the “lost” 25 years, by both sharing in their love for each other, and the love of the whole wine culture. So there they are making every happy day count at the Pompous Ass Winery. They hope to see you there!!