The owners of The Vineyard at Grandview have to like where the business stands a year and a half since opening its tasting room. For one, it's made the most of a lovely piece of property, its center of operation sitting atop a hill that overlooks a vineyard and the rolling farmland and countryside that cross Lancaster County near Mt. Joy.
Its well-appointed tasting room is complemented by an enormous deck.
A growing core of followers have found out about the winery via word of mouth and Facebook, in addition to an assortment of events, some connected with Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country and the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.
Owners Marilyn and Larry Kennel run the operation along with daughter Fran and husband Steve Kratz and daughter Sarah and husband Scott Haines. Their wine list runs primarily dry, but options exist for those who prefer sweeter. How is the quality? That the winery placed three of its red wines among the top 10 that will be featured in January's Wine Excellence XIII event in Harrisburg reflects positively on what it has accomplished to this point. The event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Wine Society and includes some of the best red and white dry wines being made in the state. Tickets remain available to attend and taste the finalists in addition to hearing from the winery owners and winemakers how they were made.
I asked Larry to provide a summary of 2014, the winery's first full year of operation. Here was his reply:
The winter of 2013/2014 was very hard on our vineyard. As a result, we harvested about half as many grapes in 2014 as in 2013. We also lost quite a number of vines which will need to be replaced. We are starting many vines from the graft up so we will lose production in those vines for a couple years. The variety that was affected most was our Merlot. That is the nature of farming. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
In the spring, we replanted about 2000 vines. We replaced five rows of Pinot Noir (which we got by mistake from the nursery) with Merlot and we replanted some Albariño which did not survive the first planting in 2011.
Although the spring was quite cool, we were happy that we did not lose additional buds to frost. The cool spring led into an unusually cool summer. In August I was quite concerned that we would not have enough heat to properly ripen our reds, especially the Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. But fortunately September was quite warm. Although we harvested a week or two later than the last couple years, we are very pleased with the quality of the vintage.
As time goes on we realize the value of our vineyard site. The soils drain very well after a big rain and the aspect (tilt toward the south) really gathers in the sun and heat. We also recognize the value of excellent consultants. Jan Waltz (Waltz Vineyards), Mark Chien (former Penn State Extension agent), Tom Payette (winemaking consultant) and Julie Ward (intern from the HACC enology program) have all been a tremendous help in various aspects of this exciting venture.
One of the new ventures we started working toward in 2014 is that we are taking reservations for weddings in 2015 in our beautiful outdoor cove. Our township has granted us permission to hold weddings as part of our winery business. We are now in the process of bringing our "reception building" up to commercial code.
We are gratified by the response of our customers to our wine. Our sales have exceeded all our expectations. We have been rewarded with many new friends.
2014: Lots of work, extraordinary help, outstanding customers and a great vintage.
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