Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Terrapin, Kreutz Creek both plan vineyard days

Saw where a couple of regional wineries will hold vineyard days in the next couple of weeks. Terrapin Station Winery near Elkton, Md., in Cecil County, will be planting vines on Sunday, May 3. As they noted in their e-letter, the holes are already dug, so they just need to get the vines in the ground plus add stakes and shelters. If you have a desire to "get down and dirty" in the vineyard, send a note to volunteer@terrapinstationwinery.com to let them know if you can come help.

Meanwhile, more than a week earlier, Jim and Carole Kirkpatrick will welcome volunteers to assist in their vineyard day this Saturday, April 25, at
Kreutz Creek Winery in West Grove, Pa. They will be planting several rows of Vidal Blanc and Petit Verdot. They're expecting the vines to arrive April 23, so those will have to go in the ground Saturday rain or shine. Fortunately, for them and anyone expecting to drop in to help, the long-range forecast calls for perfect weather to do anything, including planting vines, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 70s.

Carole said by phone the other day that they've been holding their vineyard days and other related "workdays" since they began; indeed, she said that's how the first vineyard got planted. It's a 9 to 5 day, with a break for lunch as Carol cooks up her famous vineyard burgers. Once they get everything planted later on in the afternoon, everyone can sit and relax and enjoy some wine.

These vines will replace, among other things, the winery's former award-winning Gewurztraminer. "Just every year we lost more and more and more of it, where I think we ended up with [only] eight or 12 cases the last time we made it," Carole said. "So we pulled it out. We’re over it." Take awhile to get over the disappointment, she was asked? "You know, it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't something that Jim really excelled in making. But there's nothing you can do. You can't keep wasting money trying to spray them and take care of them for a couple of cases."

They've had as many as 35 for vineyard day and the other events they've held on various weekends and holidays, although some openings remain for this weekend's planting. Anyone who attends should dress for the weather and dress to get dirty; there's no hiding from either. Carole said they are planning a bottling day on Memorial Day with the same schedule and enticements (burgers and wine). They are also scheduling "workdays" in June and July, and of course everyone's invited in the fall to assist with harvest.

Carole said she jokes with visitors to the tasting room about the opportunities. "There are wineries in California where people pay to come and work for the weekend. So I always tease people: [You know], other people pay to do this," she said, starting to laugh. "We're letting you do this."