Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Wooden Trellis Innovation

To date, most of our vineyard is trellised with wooden posts – which has a major disadvantage when compared to metal posts:  metal posts have “build-in” brackets that make it very easy to move the catch wires to a higher level as the grape vines grow and get longer.

Jeff decided to make his own system to allow us to move the catch wires:  he cut metal strapping (the lighter weight, about 28 gauge) into short section, containing 3 holes.  He then bent this short section into a U shape.  He made a lot of them – coffee cans full of them.

To each U shape, he inserted a weather proof drywall screw and we screwed them onto the fence posts, about 6″ above the fruiting wire for the first one, and the second one about 12″ higher.  Two on each side of every post.   We used long, galvanized nails to closed the “bracket”, to hold the catch wire in place.

It worked like a charm –  we already moved the catch wires to the second level on nearly every variety.

Another Bottling Day

We took advantage of a long weekend to do another bottling run – with just three of us we bottled our 2014 Chambourcin and 2014 Rosè.  Not counting set-up and cleaning before and after, it only took us about 4 hours to bottle. Everything together took about a day with extra helpers.  Fortunately, we had no equipment breakdown and only broke two bottles during corking (go Lars!)

Celebrating a 55 Year Wedding Anniversary

Tina’s parents came to the farm this weekend for a slightly belated celebration of their 55 years of marriage.  Way to go Ute and Werner!!  Although it rained both days, we still spent a bit of time outside to see the grapevines, the berries and the garden.   We had a lot of fun family time inside, and celebrated with champagne and cake:

(cake recipe courtesy of Leigh Ann and her link to  Sugarhero,com)


One of the “must have” bramble varieties for a budding winery has to be the wineberry – Rubus phoenicolasius, also called Japanese Wineberry, or Wine Raspberry (see Wikipeadia for more info)  It is a native species in China, Japan and Korea and was introduced to North America in the late 19th century for breeding new hybrid raspberry varieties.  These berries are very tasty, with a more intense raspberry flavor than raspberries themselves.  Wineberries are sweet but also tart, and the higher level of acidity is what makes them so good for jams and for wine.

Wineberries now grow wild in parts of the United States, primarily in the Appalachian Mountains – and they certainly grow around our region!  They are commonly found  along the edges of fields and roadsides, but are not widely cultivated.  Actually, wineberries are considered an invasive weed in many states, including Pennsylvania.There is a great blog post on the Cumerland County Extension website about wineberries.

What makes this type of bramble so unique is the way that the berries ripen inside a calyx – a remainder of the flower.  The calyx folds back as the fruit reaches maturity and a shiny, slightly sticky and very tasty berry emerges.

Despite the fact that these berries are not widely cultivates, we dug some out this weekend and planted them in a new row, next to a row of red raspberries.  We’ll see how cultivation affects these berries.  Hoping that we can contain them in a neat row and that they bear a lot of fruit.  Can’t wait to make some jam and maybe some wine as well.