Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hauser Estate swings open its doors

Hauser Estate Winery won’t officially open for another month and a half. Just tell that to manager Melisa Patrono around 1:30 earlier this afternoon, who begged off an interview for a couple more hours to handle the rush.

“We’ve been very busy,” she said a few hours later, talking from the tasting room of the second winery that will call Adams County (Pa.) home. It quietly welcomed in visitors a couple of weeks ago. The grand opening is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, when the winery will extends its hours until 9 p.m. and is planning live entertainment.

So how is a place that’s sort of tucked away on a hill overlooking Cashtown Road, a little more than 8 miles west of Gettysburg? Well, there’s this story in the
Gettysburg Times. Another in the Hanover, Pa., paper. And one in Friday’s York Daily Record. Advertising? Hey, who needs to buy any ads when the local papers are spreading the word?

“I really think these articles are helping us a ton,” Patrono said, “We have people walking in saying, ‘I saw you in the paper, I saw you in the paper, I saw you in the paper.’ Also we’re getting, not that we’ve been open that long, but people who came in the first week have come back in the second week. So it’s nice that we’re seeing some of these familiar faces who are coming back. You have parents who say, ‘Oh, I’m going to tell my children about this. Other people will say, ‘Oh, we’ve got guests coming in soon and we’ll have to bring them over.’ People are thinking, ‘Who can I bring up here?’”

What they’ll find when they get there is outdoor seating on a patio and a view that’s among the best in the region, a little of which can be seen in the photos included in this post that have been downloaded form the site. In various directions is Gettysburg and the battlefield, Ski Liberty, the dots of surrounding communities and the rolling farmland. Oh, and the vines that occupy a bit of the 170-acre property. The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Tastings are $2 per person, with that money refunded if you buy any wine. This early into the process winemaker Michelle Oakes has used the juice of grapes grown elsewhere in Pennsylvania to make a red and white table wine ($11.99 each), chambourcin ($14.99), chardonnay ($16.99) and apple wine. Three hard ciders are also for sale, and a peach wine will be the next addition to the tasting room. To date, those ciders (Helen’s blend and the traditional blend) and the red table wine have broken from the gate as the best sellers.

Patrono said she’s seen a mix of visitors. Some are winery veterans, who talk about visits to other nearby wine trails and more distant regions, such as the Finger Lakes and Virginia. “And different newspaper articles are really helping us,” she said. “We’re getting people from Hanover, some from York and Chambersburg. It’s pretty exciting to see.”