CHARLTON (CBS) – Apples remain the business at Charlton Orchards Farm. For Nate Benjamin, the winery was his passion. “When they bought the wine they remembered me,” said Benjamin.
Sunday night a fire destroyed the winery. The State Fire Marshal ruled the cause as arson. The fire was started in a tree next to the building. There is a $5,000 reward for information in the case.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
“It was one of those things – I don’t want to believe it. Lightning is an act of God. Electricity is an accident. This is evil,” said Benjamin.
The family was going to bed Sunday night when Benjamin’s daughter noticed a glow up the hill at the farm stand and winery behind their house.
“She looked out and started yelling, ‘the winery is on fire,’” said Benjamin.
He said they never had a problem with anyone and he has no idea who would cause the destruction.
“It still doesn’t feel like it’s real. I feel like I am standing in a junkyard not my winery,” said Benjamin.READ MORE: Winthrop Woman Found Dead On Camelback Mountain In Arizona
Benjamin said the winery is under-insured and there is no way to afford the equipment or make-up the product – more than 4,000 gallons.
The winery gave the orchard another market.
“Bringing in a whole new people – we always say the winery pays the mortgage,” said Benjamin.
He created his first apple wine in 1999. Since then the awards have piled-up. His wife is already encouraging him to try again.
“The toughest part is someone callously and purposeful took this away from us,” said Benjamin.
The orchard remains open for business.MORE NEWS: Laundry Detergent Spills On I-495 After Rollover Crash In Wrentham, Causes Significant Delays
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Arson Hotline: 1-800-682-9229.