Coffin Cellars, LLC is a family-run country winery located in Webster, NH. We specialize in wines made from fruits and berries (and a flower and a couple vegetables!), many of which are grown locally or on our own property.
Currently, Coffin Cellars rotates 15 varieties throughout the years. Wine is available for sale by pickup at the winery, and a handful of independently-owned retailers and restaurants around central NH. Our Cranberry-Pomegranate wine can be purchased at over a dozen NH Liquor and Wine Outlets across the state. Please check with your local store for availability.
Peter Coffin Austin started making wines as a hobby back in the 1970s. He was inspired by naturalist Euell Gibbons and his books, such as Stalking the Wild Asparagus. As his sons grew older, Jamie and Tim joined in their father’s love for creating wine, and sharing their product at family gatherings.
With rave reviews from close friends and relatives, we decided to take the plunge and open a winery. In 2009, Coffin Cellars, LLC was formed and received a New Hampshire State Liquor License for Wine Producing. We began making wine commercially out of a 12’ by 20’ converted garage bay of Peter's home. The production of wine still takes place here, a 1775 Colonial that has been in the family for generations.
In October of 2010 Coffin Cellars opened our doors to the public with 4 varietals, and picked up our first retailer. Over the last decade, we have relied on our products quality to be sold from the people that know our wine well.
On Easter Sunday of 2011, with the help of friends and family, over 1000 berry bushes were planted on a two acre family lot near the winery. With small additions each year, and natural growth, the affectionately named "berry patch" now homes 15 100' rows of thousands of berry bushes, along with fruit vines and orchard trees.
In 2016, we secured a Farm Service Agency small business loan. Improvements were made, including an irrigation system pulling from a local water source, while still being "off the grid" and keeping with the sustainable practices we stand for, without official certification.
Starting in 2014, we began restoring the Civil-War Shoe Maker Shop original to our property. Lumber that had been logged the previous year off family land was milled. The entire building was gutted and, with the help of a longtime friend, traditional post-and-beams began the renovation. Hand-cut birch and pine paneling was then installed. An antique wagon-wheel converted into a chandelier from a friends' home fit perfectly between the beams. The existing floor boards (most likely from and old riverfront mill building in Manchester, NH, and were placed in the early 20th century) were planed and reinstalled, along with a coffin and monogramed inlay.
By Fall of 2016, the tasting room was (almost) finished and open for visitors. The last stage will be to repair the original brick chimney and hearth to its former glory, but you can come and experience it all the same.
"Why Coffin Cellars?"
The origin of our winery's name is by far the most frequent question we get asked by patrons.
Tristram Coffyn, a farmer, came over with wife and many children, to the "New World" from England in the mid 17th century, 20 years after the Mayflower, due to rising civil unrest. They originally settled in mainland Massachusetts before, along with a few other investors, purchasing the island of Nantucket. The Coffins (sometime before this the "y" changed to an "i") became one of three families to start whaling seriously off of the island by the late 1600s. By the mid 1700s, six of the Coffin family men were respected ship captains, sailing out of Nantucket travelling as far as South America and Greenland.
Within only a couple generations, members of the Coffin family were scattered across the continent from Pennsylvania to Nova Scotia. In the early 1700s, it was estimated by one of Tristram's grandchildren, that he had over 1500 descendants less than half a century after his death. Today, over half the residents of Nantucket bear the surname Coffin.
Winemaker Peter Coffin Austin was named after one of these descendants, a famous early 1800s whaling captain, Peter Coffin. A portrait of the latter remains in the Australian National Maritime Museum. The captain was so well known during his time, that Herman Melville named the character of the Innskeeper after him in Moby Dick.
To this day, the Root Cellar of our family home houses both bottles and carboys of Peter and his sons' early wines, some over 30 years old.