The central cellar of Pa. Put its outdoor space, seen of great use for a year like no other
The cellar at the Long Shot farm nearing its fourth birthday, long enough to understand its place among the diverse group of producers in central Pennsylvania.
Located at 1925 McClure’s Gap Road, about a 15-minute drive northwest of Carlisle, the vineyard and tasting room are housed in a renovated historic barn, surrounded by vineyards, a large pond and stunning views on Blue Mountain.
Its vineyards are located in the Cumberland Valley American Wine Area (AVA) and currently include the hybrid varieties of Vidal Blanc, Corot Noir, Chambourcin, Traminette and Chardonel and the American varieties Concord and Niagara. According to the website, much of the fruit from its local wines – including blackberries, elderberries and blueberries – is also grown there, along with other locally sourced fruits.
The tasting room is located on the upper level of the barn and opens onto a large terrace, which overlooks the vineyard and the farm’s pond. It is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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It is a family and family business, which for years cultivated grapes and berries for others, then turned into a winery. Jeff and Tina Weyant run the place, but according to the website, they get a lot of help from their five children, four stepchildren and eight grandchildren. “Everyone has their own way of contributing,” the website says. “We are a big family and this allows us to take advantage of each other’s strengths.”
The article published on PennLive in 2018 noted that Tina is another of the graduates of the former HACC wine / viticulture program who put her education to good use.
As for the name, it was more of a process of elimination, as Tona explained: “It was almost impossible to come up with a name for the farm – or the winery. It seems that all possible names were taken by golf courses, subdivisions or sites – anything we found was quickly eliminated by a Google search 🙂 “
In the end, they ended up with a name that captures some of the risk that comes with any business, and that a lot of people can relate to. This long shot has turned into a successful endeavor even in the midst of a pandemic.
Below is the latest round of ‘6 questions’ interviews with East Coast winemakers and vineyard owners, who look at what has been a turbulent year and, hopefully, look ahead. . Thanks to Weyant for taking them.
Q, What do you know now that you didn’t know 2 years ago when you opened the place?
A, We needed a lot more space than we expected and doubled our small indoor space just before COVID hit. We underestimated the storage space, for things like empty bottle skates, seasonal items, extra tables and chairs. And we needed overflow parking.
Q, One of those years was during a pandemic (I’m sure you didn’t include it in your original plans). How did you manage to maintain sales this year, etc.?
A, We were pretty lucky during the pandemic. Initially we only had curbside pickup and for months we only sold bottles. It worked well for us – and during the weeks the state stores were closed, we did incredibly well. We had a lot of new customers, who bought wine without even tasting it, and they came back later.
But our real asset during the pandemic was all of our outdoor space, where people could disperse and feel relatively safe. As long as the weather was nice, people would bring their own chairs and blankets, pack a picnic, or buy food from the food trucks we had on weekends. We had trivia events outside and had music.
Q: With that, have you made any changes that you plan to keep intact even after the pandemic has subsided?
A, Yes, we will continue to invest in our outdoor space and we are also working on expanding our indoor space. We will always offer curbside pickup as it may be more convenient for some people.
Q, Refresh my memory how many acres of vines are you replanting or planting anything this spring or next?
A, Two of our children and their families also have wineries, within 1/4 mile of ours at the winery. Between us, we have almost 12 acres at this point. And we plant new vines every spring. This year we have added more Corot Noir and Traminette, as well as [new for us] Aradell, Cab Franc and Pinot Gris grape varieties.
Q, I LOVE Chardonel. Have your customers signed up? Do most have to be educated on what it is or just sample it and love it? What’s your most popular red out there?
A, I also like Chardonel. Yes, many of our customers like it – those who like dry or semi-dry wines like Chardonel.
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As for our most popular red wine, it would be Bow & Arrow, a semi-sweet blend of Chambourcin and Blackberry (makes a great after dinner wine, not too sweet). He has a lot of fans.
Q, Have the slushies been a big success? Have you had any from the start? Just give me a glimpse of how your business has grown into a product that attracts many rushing fans.
A, Yes, slushies are a big hit – all year round, but especially once the weather warms up a bit. We’ve had them since our beginnings and we make our own slushy packs, to match each of our wines. We have also created unique flavors for special occasions. For example, last summer I made a small batch of mint wine, which we used for the slushies around St. Patrick’s Day, and earlier this month we made a slushy sangria, which was a combination of red wine and orange juice.
We always sell more wine than slushies – but during the summer months it’s pretty much neck and neck between the two products.
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