Opening an Experience-focused Vineyard in Connecticut

Neviana Zhgaba & Ardian Llomi, Co-Owners

Aquila's Nest Vineyards

September 20, 2021 - Sandy Hook, CT

As an experience-focused vineyard, Aquila’s Nest Vineyards was founded by Neviana Zhgaba and her husband, Ardian Llomi, to produce wines ultimately bring people together, cultivate stronger communities, provoke storytelling, and promote local art.

capital accessed

Capital Accessed

$120,000 SBA 7a Loan

$70,000 Commercial Bank Loan

$30,000 Line of Credit

$5,000 DECD CARES Act Grant

jobs created

Jobs Created


Aquila's Nest Vineyards and CTSBDC: A Success Story

Neviana came to Connecticut Small Business Development Center looking for help accessing capital to start their business and open their facility. Nelson Merchan, CTSBDC Business Advisor, helped Neviana and her husband evaluate their funding options and reviewed their business and marketing plan.

Nelson suggested some local banks and put Neviana in touch with his contacts there.  He helped walk her through the process of applying for a working capital loan. The loan Neviana received was essential to her being able to open Aquila’s Nest.

“Nelson is a very attentive and trusted business advisor. He's my go to person for every business decision I'd like to bounce off of from an experienced and empathetic advisor,” shared Neviana.

Starting their own vineyard required a lot of research to make their dream a successful reality. "Neviana and Ardian's vision and preparation, which included visiting many vineyards across the globe, paid off. From the time I began working with them I could see the successful business they were building and am excited for their future growth," stated Nelson Merchan.

Since working with CTSBDC, Aquila’s Nest has been operating very successfully. Their business is exceeding their goals. Neviana and her husband look forward to continuing to offer unique, interesting experiences for their customers.

Starting a new business can come with difficulties and doubts. As Neviana shared, “When you're in doubt about your business idea, whenever you reach the point when you feel like giving up on a venture you’ve already put in considerable effort on, reach out SBDC to get you back on track and on a path to thriving.”

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Aquila's Nest Vineyards