The Waliser family emigrated from Germany to the Ukraine region of Russian in the early 1800's to pursue owning and farming rich, new land. The Russian government opened the Ukraine up for immigration to settlers from Germany and many other European countries. Catherine the Great offered free land, freedom of religion, no taxes and no mandatory military service in Russia, in exchange for settlement of the vast frontier of the Ukraine region. The Waliser family pursued this opportunity and settled in Odessa, near the Black Sea. They became part of a collection of German communities that made up the area called "Beresan," the region around Odessa in the rich farmlands of the Ukraine and southern Russia.
They built their home from sod, with a wood and reed roof in the early years before building their permanent farmhouse. They suffered many hardships, including severe winters, hunger, disease and natural disasters. They survived the early years with perseverance and hard work and eventually prospered with their farm and family. Beresan had not only become their dream but also their home, community and heritage over the years. They joined other German settlers in the settlements maintaining their language, customs, community control and faith in themselves. Life was good for the Beresan community.
By the turn of the century the Russian government no longer honored their promises to the settlers. They were heavily taxed, their religion and customs were being restricted and the young men were forced into military service. As much as the Waliser family loved their new homeland, they made the tough decision, along with thousands of others in their community, to leave and head to Canada and the United States. The Waliser family arrived in the United States in 1912 and settled in North Dakota. There were already German communities established there and the area was much like the steppes of the Beresan region.
The story does not end at this point, as once again the Waliser family struggled with hardships in their new land and worked towards creating a home and future. Mother Nature came into play in the "Dust Bowl" years, and the Waliser Family once again moved for a new beginning. They moved in 1931 from North Dakota to Walla Walla, Washington, where they have found their destiny and permanent home. The Waliser family, now fourth generation, continues with the same determination and dreams that have been the trademark of the family over the years.
Their odyssey has taken them from the Beresan region of Odessa, Ukraine, to their eventual home in Walla Walla. This tradition has continued on in the form of a new journey for the Waliser family with the start of a winery, which produces wines from its family's vineyards. The family opened Beresan Winery in November 2003.
Pictures and information were provided by Beresan Winery
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