Monday, August 24, 2009

Waltz Vineyards looking forward to excellent yield as vineyard manages to evade severe storms

The next five weeks holds the key to the quality of the 2009 vintage. A dry, warm September and all that rain from the spring and summer becomes a distant memory. Well, except for all the aches and pains that still linger from the extra work that the rain necessitates.

One winemaker who says he's been fortunate enough to dodge most of the intense storms is Jan Waltz, at Waltz Vineyards in Manheim, Pa., a new winery and already one of my favorites. They've built a lovely tasting room and the wines (from the Chardonnay through their signature Merlot to their high-end Cabernet Sauvignon) are all worth a taste.

Stopped Monday to grab a bottle for a shoot we're planning at the Harrisburg Patriot-News, and while there had a chance to barrel taste the 2008 Merlot and 2008 Cab. Both are rounding nicely into shape.

Waltz said that even a rainstorm last Friday that dumped more than 2 inches of rain didn't set back the vineyard because it had enough dryness to absorb what fell. "We could see it all [heavier rain and haul that fell in Lancaster and surrounding communities] from here, but we missed it," he said. "The rain either follows the valley or follows the mountain, so most of the time it goes around us. We're on track for a good year."

Waltz said he expects an exceptional yield out of his Cabernet Sauvignon. "I think this is going to be a great Cab year, because [it's] further ahead than what we normally are."

Business, he said, has been picking up steadily since the spring opening, even on Thursdays and Fridays. The tasting room is open noon to 5 p.m. those two days and Saturdays. To handle the crowds and the parties, they've added a hire, and could add another once they expand their hours to Wednesday and perhaps Tuesday. They are planning to be open holidays, including Labor Day in another couple of weeks.

Though not part of a wine trail per se, Waltz said he's seeing visitors who are making up their own wine trail, doing a circuit that includes Nissley, Tamanend and Mt. Hope along with Waltz Vineyards. And other wineries in the Harrisburg area and north and east along the Berks County Wine Trail are within an hour's drive.

Paradocx teaming with Schmidt's Tree Farm to put on wine, harvest festival into November

Don't have the time to put together the extensive events list that I once did, and frankly I'd like to get away from targeting the events too much and just concentrate on the wine. Still, as I see these releases move, I don't mind posting them and giving them some additional exposure.

This one comes from Paradocx Vineyard, a member of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, and Schmidts’ Tree Farm, which are teaming this fall to offer the public an “A-MAIZE-ing Wine & Harvest Adventure.” It's what they are calling a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled, memorable outing with friends and family, all while supporting local agriculture.

Every Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 through Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the two parties will put on an array of activities on Paradocx Vineyard’s 100-acre farm in Landenberg, Pa., featuring 15 varieties of premium estate grown wine available for purchase by the glass or bottle, a five-acre corn maze, a “pick-your-own pumpkin patch,” hayrides through the vineyard, a pedal car track, children’s wagon train, reindeer antler toss, pumpkin sling shot and pumpkin bowling. On select weekends throughout the fall, the releases adds, guests can enjoy live music and food from local caterers.

Admission fee is $10. No admission fee for children under 3 years of age. Pumpkins are sold by weight. Wine tastings and wine by the glass can be purchased for $7.

For more, call 610.274.8560 or e-mail Paradocx's signature in terms of publicity has been its two wines in a decorated "paint can," the equivalent of four bottles of wine. Barn Red and Pail Pink each go for $40.99.

Finally, I'm starting to see more wineries take a shot at producing a periodic blog like this one on the Paradocx site. With their time stretched and frayed, winemakers and staff usually have these on the bottom of their list. But with marketing taking a number of forms these days, even a blog that comes out once in awhile can serve a winery well.