It's hard to know where to begin our story. Most people impulse buy things like jewelry, clothing or puppies. Not us! In May of 2011 we impulse bought a vineyard. We knew absolutely nothing about farming or growing wine grapes. How hard could it be? We loved to garden. We were, and still are, in love with our (not so new) farm!
Growing wine grapes is not for the faint of heart - complete and utter panic is often overcome by sheer will and determination. 2021 was our 10th year of growing and we have been producing our wines for 5 years now! Our friends and family picked us up and dusted us off when necessary and worked beside us through every season. We are truly blessed and eternally grateful to all of them. Along the way we have met many kind people who have helped us find our way in the world of wine-making. Friendliness and the willingness to educate and help others are pervasive in the Eastern Wine industry. This was both an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
We are still licensed and processing at Crow Winery, and our 2022 wines are in barrel and full of promise. Many thanks to Roy and Judy Crow, Brandon Hoy and winemaker Michael Zollo for helping us make our vision a reality.
All of our wines are estate grown, hand tended and harvested by family and friends. They are all European or "vinifera" varietals that are associated with fine old world wines. Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay were all established here when we came. Most of these vines are very old (25+ yrs.) and this is both tricky and remarkable.
Tricky in the sense that each one is unique and must be pruned and tended as an individual. There is no one single or fool proof formula that works for all. Remarkable because they are deep rooted, and accustomed to the not so forgiving micro-climate of our little hollow. They are also the benefactors of a rich, rocky soil structure and long summer days.
Many of the original vines are still alive and produce exceptionally expressive, deeply colored fruit when they are happy. Unfortunately, farming the hollow makes for a sharply increased risk from yearly frost damage. We have narrowly dodged many such events and were clobbered by one. The lower elevation also makes a difference in low temperatures during arctic cold blasts and these too, have taken their toll. During the winters of 2014 and 2015 our Cab Sauv vines were killed and many other vines throughout both vineyards were damaged. Vitis vinifera also have little or no resistance to native molds and mildews and require extra care to keep them healthy. This is accomplished with proactive "canopy management" to take advantage of the benefits that sunshine and air naturally provide and fungicide use only as needed each growing season. We also include biological and organic fungicides and controls when the efficacy is good. Our prima donnas make fabulous wine, but are very labor intensive!
With that in mind, we have planted a more cold tolerant vinifera varietal, Albarino, in the lower vineyard block that was originally Cab Sauv. We planted a new block of Pinot Gris in the upper vineyard and filled in the missing Chardonnay and Merlot plants in both vineyards. This time around we planted Cab Sauv in the upper vineyard, where it is a little warmer and slightly sheltered. We added a block of Riesling to fill the lower vineyard and will continue fill in missing vines throughout both vineyards. Going forward, we plan to incorporate one or two of the new hybrids being developed specifically for our region. Interestingly, our soils and growing season are surprisingly similar to those in the Bordeaux region of France. It's those pesky fungi that make our job so tricky!
Each day we spend in the vineyard we are reminded why we do what we do. Working among the vines can be magical and mesmerizing. We are often filled with a sense of peacefulness, belonging and quiet purpose.
We are located at 14110 Clark Rd, Stewartstown, PA 17363
HOURS of OPERATION
4pm to 9pm
12pm to 5pm, 12pm to 9pm on event days
12pm to 4pm
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