Pennsylvania Wine Excellence Award!

The Pennsylvania Wine Society selected the top 11 wines in PA to receive the Pennsylvania Wine Excellence award.  We were thrilled to learn that Desert Rose made the cut.  The top wines were then placed in front of a panel of judges and Desert Rose placed 4th!!!! Check out more here.  We also earned medals this year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show for 3 out of 4 wines that we entered, Apple, Trophy Rack, and Valley Blush.  Learn more about award winning craft beverages in Cumberland County here.  And don’t forget to stop by and sample our award winners!

Bird Netting Cleanup

Every major event is a marathon, particularly for those who have to get it together. Take Thanksgiving. The weeks before, you agonize over the menu, because some people think pumpkin pie tastes better with sweet potatoes, and others say that that is an abomination. Days before you hunt through the grocery and markets, to get all the ingredients necessary for the turkey dinner, the dressing, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the green beans, and yes, the pumpkin pie. Then for the 48 hours leading up to the great meal itself, it is nothing but cook and clean, cook and clean, cook and clean for the crew of friends and family, half of whom will love your heterodox pumpkin pie, half will think it blasphemy, and half will not know the difference. And at the end of the meal, everyone clears out but you, and you realize that there is one last cleaning to do. But you are tired and exhausted, and perhaps can be forgiven if things sit till the evening. Meanwhile, you will have another bite of that pumpkin pie.

So to it is with the harvest for the grapes. Since last winter, you have trimmed, dug new rows, planted new vines, fertilized, run irragation, mowed, bottled the old stock, put up the bird netting, harvested the grapes, crushed, juiced, and fermented. So perhaps you can be forgiven if at the end, you let the bird netting lay in the field, though the grapes are gone, the leaves have fallen, and the days are now short. Perhaps it is a bit untidy looking. Yet now, perhaps just one more glass of wine.

But of course it must be picked up. The next cycle is coming soon enough. The trimming must start once more. So as on Thanksgiving, you push yourself from the table, wondering where all the well-fed yet critical guests went, plodding to the kitchen to make things right. For no-one else will. With another glass of wine, of course.

Our Newest Wine: Trophy Rack

Once upon a while, the handsomest buck proudly walks the woods and fields, sporting the most majestic antlers. Yet the sly huntress knows where to stalk down such prey, passing over lesser stags. For this season, a king is about. After spotting the signs and reading the rut, she finds her mark. Pulling her arrow from her pink quiver, drawing back her supple bow, she lines up her shot, a clean shot, through the ripe, late season fruity grapes, heady with intoxicating aroma. Trophy Rack balances out the strong fruit flavors of Concord Rosé with crisp Pennsylvania apples. Triumph never tasted so sweet.

Introducing Oaked Chambourcin

The divinely chic Earth Fairy,
Knows what flavors are born to marry.
Make them so deep & purple,
It’s Oaked Chamborcin she crafts to slurple.
Big & luscious & bright red berry,
Lifts the heart of our clever fairy.
Tempered body with hints of vanillin,
Her magic potion, the aged Oaked Chambourcin.
Pairs well with burgers, short ribs, red sauce, mushrooms, sausage pizza, strawberries, chocolate, brie and magic.

Two Men and a Tractor: The Auger

Some problems are as old as Farming. Man versus Rock. Man versus Stump. But since the combustion engine: Man versus Tractor. Here we chronicle the triumphs and failures of Mankind and the Tractors at the Long Shot Farm.

The Auger

On a small farm, one does not have large warehouses to hold all your tractor equipment. You have a fence row. A fence row is perfectly fine for storing your extra buckets, plows, discs, and augers, except for the weather, the weeds, the mice, and the rust. Now tarps can keep off the rain and snow, and cats can eat the mice, but with some implements, the ground is the enemy. Particularly for the auger.

The auger is an indispensable tool for the vineyard: it digs the holes cleanly through our slate ground for the end-posts that support the trellis. But to stand the auger for easy attachment the next time you need it on the tractor, you have to dig the bit into the ground. After a few years, your mighty auger becomes a rusty testament to the inevitable corruption of all things.

And so, to slow this creep of Time, our Engineer turned to our Welder, and told him, “Erect me a stand. Make it 4 cubits high, and 3 cubits long, and 2 cubits wide. Upon this stand we will hang our auger. The ground will not eat its metal, so that it may churn for years to come.” The Welder scrounged up the metal piping necessary to make this stand, that the auger may sit in the fence row without rusting. Wielding his lighting, he fashioned it together, and they gazed upon their handiwork pleased.

Except it seems that once one makes a suitable storage for a tool, the tool breaks anyways. For our hard slate ground of North Mountain is unforgiving, though it may yield a superior grape. The Master of All Things But One went looking for a new auger and once he settled upon a suitable tool, purchased it. Suitable except for the blade.

While the housing and assembly and blade were shiny and new, the tip of the blade was insufficient to pierce the hard slate ground as the Master desired. Yet there are no two pieces of metal, old or new, that cannot be made one by our Welder. Cutting off the old blade, and removing the new, a workable auger was formed. And this auger has a new home, to float about the ground in the fence row, waiting its turn to chew the earth and sink yet more posts for our fields.