Our staff is committed to making the most of your experience, whether on our property or serving our wine at your home. Join us any day — in the Tasting Room, at a festival or at any of our many events to meet some of our staff. Whether you strike up a conversation at the bar or stop a farm hand in the parking lot, we are always ready to share a story and invite you into our family!
William Layton, Winemaker
William grew up in Dorchester County, attending North Dorchester High School before heading off to college at the University of Maryland College Park. It was there that he met Jennifer, beginning a cross-country adventure that would eventually bring them back to launch Layton’s Chance.
William, who is the Winemaker, loves both the science and art of growing grapes, experimenting with blends and new lines. For more than a decade, every grape planted at Layton’s has been selected by William. He also runs Lazy Day Farms, which grows soybeans, grain and corn.
William served nine years on the Maryland Soybean Board and is currently in his first term on the National Soybean Board. In addition to earning a degree in Business Logistics from UMD, he holds a Certificate of Winemaking from University of California at Davis. Dedicated to service, William was president of the Dorchester Farm Bureau and was a Member of LEAD Maryland Class 4. Before farming he worked for nearly a decade for Toyota Motor Corporation.
Jennifer Layton, ‘Jen’eral Manager
Jennifer was born and raised in Pittsburgh and was an explorer from the start. Her career began in quality assurance and then moved into purchasing with national companies. When the family moved back to the Eastern Shore (from Kentucky), she branched out into small business planning and training as the training coordinator with the Eastern Shore office of the Maryland Small Business Development Center.
Today she is the “Jen”eral Manager, a tongue-in-cheek reference to both her name and her guidance of the Winery, Tasting Room, and marketing strategy. Bottling, canning, packaging, sales, and much more comes under her purview. She was a member of Lead Maryland Class 7 and currently serves on the board. Jennifer is a 2014 Leadership Maryland fellow. She is currently serving on the board of directors for the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. She is currently the Chair of the Governor’s Wine and Grape Commission, which aims to support initiatives that grow the Maryland wine industry.
Jennifer has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland College Park (where she and William met) and an MBA from Salisbury University. Their children, Stephen and Alison, both contribute to the operation as well, from helping at bottling time to farming to staffing events. The family dog, Bo, greets visitors and, when not needed, chases rabbits and lolls in the sun.
Joe Layton, Elder Statesman
Over six decades, Joe has had many responsibilities on the farm. Today his main focus is the management of Lazy Day Farms grain operation. He has spent his career as a farmer and remains excited about it, beginning each new year saying, “it’s going to be the best ever!”
Joe studied Vocational Agriculture at North Dorchester High and Agronomy at the University of Maryland College Park. Upon graduation, he returned home to join his father’s 450-acre grain farm. The following year, Joe married Laura and a they soon started a family. Over the years, his father retired, his children went to college, married, and added five grandchildren. He grew the farm to its present size of 1,880 acres, using about 1,300 acres for grain.
In 2003, William and Jennifer, Joe’s son and daughter-in-law, came back home to join the farm and together they decided to expand and diversify, planting 15 acres of grapes in 2007 and launching Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery in 2010.
Joe has always believed that each of us has a responsibility to contribute to society. He has been active in many community and professional organizations, including the American Soybean Association, the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association, the Maryland Soybean Board, Dorchester and Maryland Farm Bureau Boards, the Dorchester Soil Conservation District, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, Dorchester Board of Education, and the Chicone Ruritan Club.
Laura Layton, Family Matriarch
Laura, who is also a local, grew up in the small town of Snow Hill, MD. After high school she earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Towson State College, now Towson University, and a Master’s in Education from Salisbury State College, since renamed Salisbury University. While a freshman at Towson, she met her future husband, Joe, then a sophomore at University of Maryland College Park. The following year, Joe married Laura and they soon started a family. Now she delights in spoiling their five grandchildren.
Laura taught English in Dorchester County Public Schools for 33 years, retiring in 2008. Now she sits as a member of the Dorchester County Board of Education.
Laura enjoys being a host at the winery, greeting guests, and conversing with her friends. She leads two book clubs, one at the winery and one at the Dorchester Historical Society.
Sales & Brand Ambassador
In 2011, when the Winery was in its infancy, Pam joined us part-time. She quickly went onto make herself indispensable. Since then she’s gone on to manage the Tasting Room and recently shifted her role to serve as Sales & Brand Ambassador. A member of the Society of Wine Educators, she also holds a Level II Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. Her love of wine and crafts, as well as her talent for design, are all evident in the Tasting Room, shop, and the décor for special events.
Tasting Room Team
Tasting Room staff is here to make sure you have a great time, whether you are relaxing on the property, attending a concert, or celebrating a milestone.
Vineyard and Farm Staff
These are the folks who make the magic happen. They grow and harvest the grapes and manage the farm. Say “hi” as you cross the property and don’t be afraid ask them questions about the operation.