Pa. Winery with meteorologist at the helm sees plenty of sunshine in its long-range forecast

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Weathered Vineyards in Lehigh County will celebrate its eighth anniversary with a celebration on October 8.

The party will be held at the Winery, located in Weisenberg Township in New Tripoli, from 2-5 p.m. The James Supra and Sarah Ayers band are back to help owners Dana and Richard Woolley mark the occasion. The Good Egg Food Truck will also be there with its varied menu. In addition, participants can expect:

  • $5 Glasses of wine
  • Birthday wine cocktail
  • Wine gift basket raffle (no purchase necessary)
  • Patinated raffles (no purchase necessary)
  • FREE cupcakes made by The Buttered Crumb, while supplies last.

It was a business that began with the couple living near some of America’s best wine climates and being drawn to opening a winery themselves. They pursued that dream once they settled in eastern Pennsylvania. Richard is a meteorologist and environmental engineer and Dana is a nurse.

Woolley’s vineyard, winery and tasting room at 7670 Carpet Road spans 13 acres, which also includes the couple’s home. They planted 2,500 vines of four grape varieties (Cabernet Franc, Cayuga Riesling, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc) on 3 hectares in the spring of 2013. It has since been expanded.

Around 400 of those vines had to be pulled up (replacing the Sauvignon Blanc with a more hardy Chardonnay) when a harsh winter took its toll. But the project progressed and the cellar opened its doors on September 27, 2014.

Richard Woolley holds a few bottles of Weathered Vineyards wines. He says of the first eight years in business: ‘Some of my highs are the people we met on our journey…the lows were often related to the weather…’

You will also get an idea of ​​his journey in this definition of terroir, or the composition of all the things that feed the vines (soil, drainage, altitude, climate) on his site. He emailed this to help with another story a few months ago.

“Our terroir differs slightly across the vineyard depending on the depth of the topsoil and the fractured shale below. So far this vintage is really starting to show those differences because it has been so dry,” he said. he stated, “Aside from the subtle differences in soil in our vineyard, the overall geography of the region in which our vineyard is located offers unique advantages, but also challenges. The vineyard straddles a 610-foot-high ridge oriented northeast to southwest This allows us to orient the rows of the vineyard parallel to the slope with a northwest to southeast orientation, which allows maximum drainage and also air circulation since the winds are generally from the northwest or southeast most of the year.The other advantage of this orientation is that during the summer season, the sun rises in the northeast in the morning and sets in the northwest. in the evening. This has the effect that the light of the early morning directly hits the vineyard canopy as soon as the sun rises, which helps dry up overnight dew quickly and also helps those cold, frosty May mornings that keep us all awake at night. The other advantage of this orientation comes at the end of the day when the sun is in the sky to the west or even to the northwest. The warm rays of the late afternoon sun strike the fruit at a much more oblique angle, allowing the fruit and canopy to begin cooling earlier in the evening.

Although the winery has sweeter offerings (a red blend called Twister and a white blend called Solstice are two that can be found on the website’s wine page), there is an obvious push towards the dry. These include a Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay on the white side and Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a Bordeaux blend called Blend on the red side.

As for how they got the name, Woolley told PennLive in 2015 that they thought of using their early initials, R&D. “But who would want to go to a cave where they do research and development?” he asked, still managing to add a dose of his dry humor. That’s when Dana suggested Weathered Vineyards, which captures Richard’s two passions in life: the weather and a vineyard. It is a name that has remained until today.

Patinated vineyards

According to owner Richard Woolley of the terroir of Weathered Vineyards: “Apart from the subtle differences in soil in our vineyard, the overall geography of the region in which our vineyard is located offers unique advantages but also challenges. ‘

The same goes for the couple, who saw eight years go by amid a lot of blood, sweat, tears and hours spent running the place.

“Most small winery owners here in Pennsylvania wear many hats. Farmer, winemaker, sales, marketing, accounting, logistics, host/hostess, forklift operator, snowplow operator, janitor, plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc. are just some of the daily ins and outs of the business and many of us are still working full-time jobs outside of the cellar as well,” Richard said in an email he sent. today. “I guess with everything in life there are ups and downs and a lot of in-betweens. Some of my ups are the people we met on our journey, the downs we often faced to the weather when we had 50″ of rain during the 2018 growing season, followed by minus 10F in January and a killing frost in April killing half the vineyard.

Hopefully, he added, in 24 months they can mark 10 years in business in a new tasting room.

In the meantime, they are completing the 2022 harvest, which at this stage promises to be an excellent vintage. Woolley quoted owner and winemaker Richard Blair of Setter Ridge Vineyards in Berks County as saying a vintage is made in September.

“So, fingers crossed,” he said.

After:

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