Sows Ear

303 Coastal Road
Brooksville, ME 04617


Tasting Room Hours:

Summer Through Fall - Tues. through Sat.

10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

What Makes Sow’s Ear Winery Unique?

The expression, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” was first recorded in 1518 in The Ecologues of Alexander Barclay. The saying expresses the idea that it is difficult to create something of great value out of an item that is considered to have little worth.  Tom Hoey named his winery “Sow’s Ear Winery” and the success that he has acquired as a vinter certainly challenges Barclay’s assertion about the value of a “sow’s ear” in regard to this particular enterprise.

It is not surprising that Hoey would have chosen a name for his winery that is associated with medieval literature, as he majored in English in college.  His interest in anthropology, his service in the Peace Corps, his work as an arborist, and his many years of homesteading have all combined to make him quite an interesting individual.  Hoey’s love for reading and learning is obvious as soon as you enter The Sow’s Ear Winery’s tasting room.  There are shelves of books that focus on medieval architecture and social and political history.  When asked how he acquired his skills as a vinter, Tom responded that he experimented for many years, read a great deal, and visited other wineries and cider operations.

A sense of free-spiritedness and a willingness to experiment with new methods and products are evident at The Sow’s Ear Winery.  The  Winery is a member of the Maine Winery Guild and they are one of the twenty wineries found on the Maine Wine Trail.  Individuals interested in visiting the various wineries can bring a Wine Trail Passport and have it stamped at each winery. When individuals have visited eight or sixteen different wineries on the trail they are eligible for special gifts.

Visitors to the Sow’s Ear Winery might have to wait a moment to connect with Tom, as he is the only individual who is involved with the operation.  He is often outside tending the apples and berries or in the cellar with the wines.  There is a bell that can be rung if he is not in the tasting room.  From the recognition that he has received and the great reviews for his cider and wines, it appears that it is well worth any wait that might possibly happen to materialize.

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