Thursday, March 12, 2009

Invitation welcomes folks to old trail

I was surprised to see this note in the latest Woodhall Wine Cellars e-letter about the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail. A trail that includes four wineries in Pennsylvania and four in Maryland, the activities sort of died on the vine the past couple of years. And it didn't seem there would be much chance of reviving it. Now comes this invitiation to pay $1 for a passport and visit each of the wineries. Carl Helrich, of Allegro Vineyards in southcentral Pennsylvania, wrote me this morning saying that the wineries are trying to revive the trail. "We had a meeting a couple weeks ago in which everyone attended and we talked about events," he wrote in an e-mail. "The website will probably show updates soon, I would think."

Helrich said that Rose Fiore of Fiore Winery in Pylesville, Md., and and Lynne Basignani of Basignani Winery in Sparks, Md., are in charge of the effort.

Anyway, from Deb Morris at Woodhall:

"One of the great joys of wine is the number of different flavors and styles that one can experience at a winetasting. Multiply that by eight and you now understand why exploring the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail is so much fun. Four Maryland wineries (Woodhall Wine Cellars, Basignani Winery, Boordy Vineyards and Fiore Winery) and four Pennsylvania wineries (Adams County Winery, Allegro Vineyards, Naylor Wine Cellars and Seven Valleys Vineyard and Winery) comprise the Trail. Start at any one of the wineries by buying a Passport for $1, and when you have visited all eight you will receive a wine trail gift and a membership card which entitles you to a ten percent discount from the wineries of the Trail for a two year period. Along the way, buy four bottles of wine at any member winery and receive a winery tasting glass free.

"The Wine Trail sponsors special weekends throughout the year for passport holders and members. During the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, all member wineries will be serving a food featuring a different herb and passport holders and members of the Trail will receive a plant of the same herb.

"Why not start your Trail exploration this weekend at Woodhall."

We add Wisdom to our links

Blog roll please.

Wanted to welcome Erica Streisfeld of, who has been producing copy for her blog on bargain wines since last year. Hey, that's when I started, too. And that's not all we have in common. Living around Harrisburg, she is part of the community and, from what I can tell, a fan of some of the wines that I've bought at the local state stores.

Eric, welcome. Readers. Check out her site.

At Moon Dancer, it's all ahead full

After two months of laying low -- well, let's say it was quiet than normal -- activities at Moon Dancer Vineyards & Winery in Wrightsville, Pa., have started to pick up. Owner/winermaker Jim Miller said the other day by phone that after a two-month break the Friday nigth music has started again. That kicks off the normal weekends at what you could call the "perch on the Susquehanna," with music resuming Saturday and Sunday, both from 2 to 5 p.m. The various holiday festivals start Memorial Day weekend with a summer concert jazz party. Currently they're in the middle of Tour de Tanks, the monthlong passport event for the Uncork York wine trail. Miller said they welcomes about 150 people tothe winery both Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend. "We really had a nice crowd," he said. :It was every bit as good if not better than last year."

He said his 2006 Shiraz was recently released, and the supplies of some of those listed as sold out on his Web site has been refreshed. That's going for $23 a bottle.

Meanwhile, work should commence on a couple of projects this summer. Miller said he's hoping to finish off the room beneath the tasting room to accommodate private events. "We're getting a lot of interest in people doing private events here," he said. "We need additional space for that."

He'll also get rolling on a partnership in the Reading area, not far from the Body Zone! that one can see while driving along Route 222. They'll open a second winery there as part of a project, Miller said his priorioty this spring is to choose the vines to plant and then get them in the soil. At this point he's talking about Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet and perhaps Sauvignon Blanc. You'll read more about the development as time passes.

Mt. Felix Web site adds some bells, whistles

The Manor Home at Mt. Felix Estate, taken off the Web site.

Have written before about the benefits of having an updated Web site and how the qualify of the sites among wineries in this region ranges from unsatisfactory to exemplary. Some haven't changed their sites in the year that I've been posting; no doubt they are the same ones who get quiet on the other end of the line when I mention the word blog? No, sir, that has nothing to do with cranberries. Check with you next decade.

One that has taken a step forward is the Mt Felix Estate Vineyard & Winery in Havre de Grace, Md. There are 20 entry points, a mix of text and photos about the winery and the area that its situated in, overlooking the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. This is another one of those "savor the view" wineries in the region, a la Moon Dancer and Hauser Estate in Pennsylvania. There are also photos of the villa, snapshots of parts of its 9,000-plus square feet and 11 fireplaces. There are notes on the seven wines that Mary and Peter Ianniello currently make. Some wineries post their prices; Mt. Felix chooses not to. But it does offer a blog, an entity that more wineries are adding to their sites, and photos of the vineyard. All in all, a step ahead for what's really a winery in its infancy, less than a year old.