Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

What a great year it's been! Check out photos from throughout the year on our website of all the fun events we've had. We're all looking forward to more next year so be sure to follow us on Facebook or sign up for our Newsletter to make sure you get the latest updates.

Best wishes for 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve eve

We've had a great December- lots of familiar and new faces coming in to pick up a favorite bottle (or case!) Joe carried one of the last cases of Lazy Day Rose into the office as a reserve and we're down to the last 150 bottles in the tasting room. There are 1000 gallons in the tank from 2010 but that won't be in the bottle until April.

Laura and I went down to Costa Ventosa in Whaleyville on Monday to visit our fellow Eastern Shore wineries- the Four on the Shore! Folks from Bordeleau and Fenwick Wine Cellars were also there and we pulled raffle tickets from the Shore Wineries Holiday Trail. It's great to have other awesome wineries in the area so that visitors can see (and taste) different Maryland wines. Come pick up your passport today and get started: $1/passport, and visit all four wineries in the next 3 months to be entered in a drawing for a basket of wines from each winery!
Nellie and Janet have been out in the vineyard this week, pruning the vines. Nellie stayed out there last Thursday as the snow came down without any complaints. They say the toughest days are the ones when the wind is whipping through- like today.

Still no watermelon wine- although there have been lots of requests. Make sure you're on our newsletter mailing list and we'll send a blast out when it's in the bottle and ready to go. The other wines are sitting pretty and will be ready to go for our next bottling in April. 

Hope everyone enjoys the holidays with a nice bottle of wine (I’m drinking Vidal Blanc!) Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Twas the week before Christmas

Brrr! It is cold and windy out here! We've had quite a few visitors braving the wind to pick up wine for the holidays though, and we'll be open through December 23rd for holiday shopping. Join us on Facebook to receive weekly specials as we lead up to Christmas.

This is the time for holiday socials and appreciation luncheons. Teachers, bus drivers, business people, and members of the Westside Historical Society filled the event room this past week. I still can't get over how great a job Kelli did with the decorations!

A lot of requests are coming in about Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine. The good news is that the wine is finished, smells and tastes great, and is ready to bottle. The bad news is that we need federal approval of our label before we get anything printed. Everything has been submitted and we're hoping to hear back soon. I promise to send out an email blast when we know the availability date.

All the other wines are doing fine- we're in the waiting stage right now. Hopefully more concord juice arrives soon so that we can start the next batch of Joe's Cool Red. At the rate it's going now we might not make it to April!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Market

This past weekend's Christmas Market was wonderful! Many thanks to the artists, volunteers and visitors who came out and enjoyed the afternoon with us on Saturday. Barbara made delicious Glühwein (spiced wine, literally translated as "Glow wine" for how it affects your cheeks)! It tasted great in our souvenir mugs with cinnamon stirrers. Tammy made Spice Cake to go with the spiced wine which was moist and delicious. Joe baked his special chocolate chip cookies which disappeared quickly. We also shared a few other German Christmas traditional treats, Stollen and Lebküchen.

Awesome volunteer Amy got the wreath-making going with our collected grapevines. They turned out really nicely until we ran out of wet vines. Seems like if they haven't soaked in water for 24-48 hours ahead of time the vines are too brittle to bend. I'm planning to get out there today or tomorrow to gather some more so if you didn't get to make one on Saturday check back this weekend and we'll have some vines set up for wreath-making.

Fingers are crossed that we receive more juice for Joe's Cool Red this week so we can get started on our next batch! It's going fast- at this rate we might sell out by February! We also picked out the bottle design for our Watermelon Wine (pink!) and are working on the label so we can get it bottled as soon as possible. It's been filtered well now and smells yummy!

Lots of Christmas parties this week and the winery is perfectly decorated thanks to Kelli, Frannie, and Barbara. We've still got plenty of wine and great gift ideas (Wine & Chocolate! Gift Cards!) so stop by this week to do your shopping. And join us on Facebook to receive updates about our weekly deals for December!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Hanging Christmas lights in t-shirts!
I just read the blog from last Thanksgiving and wow! So much has changed in the past year. To start with, the weather this year allowed for the corn and soybean harvest to finish 3 weeks earlier. Also, the weather this fall has been absolutely fantastic- mild temperatures and colorful surroundings!

Lovely bottles of label-less Joe's Cool 
The big changes though, have been happening at the winery. With six months of having the tasting room up and running we've certainly learned a lot about the work involved, but it's also been a lot of fun! From big events like hosting Randy Lee Ashcraft and our Grape Stomping Harvest Festival to relaxing evenings like Sundaes at Sunset over the summer and the Happy Hour live music series this fall...We've been creating lots of good memories.

Chloe borrowed a hand labeler and got to work
Winemaking is still the same process, although there's a lot more wine this year! We also have a few new wines we're working on- like Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine and an aged Chambourcin reserve. Our 2nd bottling of Joe's Cool Red didn't go exactly the way we planned (labels and labeler didn't match up...) but with the help of our sister winery Costa Ventosa and her hand labeler, we were able to get Joe's back on the shelf by Thursday afternoon and make all the deliveries on Friday. THANK YOU!

Feel the holiday love.
I guess it hasn't changed too much actually- we're still making wine, having fun and building friendships with fellow Eastern Shore wineries. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waterfowl & Bottling JCR

Vineyard manager Richard Murphy & his wife Cara at the Waterfowl Festival
Nancy Kreek volunteered on Friday
In case you haven't heard, we've been officially sold out of our most popular wine- Joe's Cool Red- since Saturday. We took our last cases to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD where is was quickly snatched up by visitors out enjoying the beautiful weather and festival atmosphere. There was a smattering of bottles available at the winery which were traded among customers after the last bottle was sold. Also popular at the festival was our Vidal Blanc, one of the few (or only?) dry white Vidal Blanc wines in the state. Check out the great article from the Star Democrat.

Fun with capsules!

Anyway, the drought of Joe's is brief as we are bottling more wine this Thursday. William the Winemaker foresaw the popularity of the wine and started making more over the summer, so we have 1000 gallons ready to go. It's definitely worth stopping by, maybe on an early lunch break, to see what's happening and pick up a bottle fresh off the assembly line. We'll hopefully get started at 8am and it will take 3-4 hours to bottle all the wine.

Also this week Chris English is playing at Friday's Happy Hour. A local blues guitarist who graced the Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth fundraiser last month, he promises to give a good show. Find out more at his webpage:

The Hunter's Banquet has been canceled for this year, but we hope to offer a similar event next year. My sincere apologies to those of you who have made plans to attend and we hope we can interest you in other events at the winery. We are getting ready for our Christmas Market too, on December 4th. Anyone interested in setting up a table is welcome to contact Chloe ( for more information.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recent Events

Welcome back Laura and Joe! They've been away for the past week and we've missed them at the winery. While they were gone we had several fun events, from the Vienna Heritage Foundation fundraiser to our Ladies Night home shopping evening.

Tom & Jennifer
The VHF had a great turnout and several speakers came to illustrate the main cause of the afternoon- to raise money to support building a permanent home for a recently acquired Native American artifact collection. Tom Bradshaw, curator of the collection which is currently housed at Salisbury University, and Jennifer Notari (an SU graduate student) showed some pieces of pottery.

Lots of ladies!
 Ladies night was also a fun evening- it was chilly outside but the winery was cozy and warm. We served local cheese from Chesapeake Bay Farms and Chapel Creamery, and guests browsed beautiful displays of unique jewelery, cooking items, home decorating goods, make up and skin care products, and more. Jennifer's presentation went well and many ladies went home with door prizes donated by the vendors.

Alex Wersen of Rusted Axle & the Gingers performed at the winery on Friday night with Katie Gutoskey on vocals for happy hour. Everyone enjoyed the music and the relaxed atmosphere of the evening, and we appreciated having two volunteers join us for the night.

Can you see the beautiful sunset behind them?
What's coming up next? Another chance to join us for happy hour on November 19th, and we're busily planning holiday parties for December. If you haven't booked one yet for your business or group, give us a call (410-228-1205) soon! As advertised in Metropolitan Magazine, we're offering our event room free for daytime events (up to 75 people) during the month of December, and at a 25% discount for evening events.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Watermelon Wine Update

Mid 50s this week and the leaves are all brightly colored. The rush of harvest is over- William finished cutting soybeans last weekend and they finished planting wheat yesterday so the bulk of the fall farm activities are finished. It finished surprisingly early this year- normally everyone is busy until Thanksgiving! I suppose with farming you can never predict the weather and you work as hard as you can while you're able.

What it also means is that William can turn his full attention back to the wine! We tasted some samples of Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine last night. It was delicious!! It isn't as pink as we expected- the color disappeared during fermentation and now it is a light peachy color. Sweet and fruity, it's really going to be wonderful. A pure watermelon wine! For those who haven't heard the news, we won't be bottling this until 2011, as the process has taken longer than we expected. I promise to send a news flash out when it is ready!

But we are definitely bottling Joe's Cool Red this month. It's incredible but we have all but sold out of this regional favorite. Richard and I did a full count yesterday and there are less than 300 bottles in the whole winery. We're scheduled to bottle on November 18th, so if you're interested in seeing how this works come out and join us. We'll have a full assembly line going and we expect to fill 5000 bottles to replenish our stocks.

Tomorrow evening we have our Ladies Night Home Party (6-9pm at the winery, $5 admission for wine tasting and refreshments). Speed shop your favorite home vendors and enjoy a fantastic presentation by Jennifer about how to prepare for the holidays stress free. She claims that you can be ready by the first week of December so that you can actually relax and enjoy the holidays!

Tonight Jen and William present some of our wines at the Signature Chef's Banquet at the Hyatt for the March of Dimes Fundraiser. Say hello and consider a bid for the free event we are offering in the live auction!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Party

The bonfire-to-be
I think we're ready- Garland built a beautiful bonfire pit and made lots of marshmallow roasting sticks, and Claudia got all the craft tables set up. We'll do the pumpkin carving outside in our picnic area- don't forget to bring a pumpkin! We've got the tools for you and we'll have a few spares in case you forget yours. Also remember to dress up in your best costume because we're giving away prizes for the Most Original, Scariest, and Cutest costumes. Bring your guitar or your favorite scary story to share around the bonfire. And try some of our spiced wine!

Happy wine tasters at the 2010 Autumn Wine Festival
Quick wine update- Richard and Taylor filtered the Joe's Cool Red yesterday, all day, and it's getting close to being ready to bottle. It was in cold stabilization the past few weeks but that ended this week with a crash when all the ice fell off the side of the tank (we were expecting it). Our bottling date for that is November 19, so anyone who is interested is welcome to come check out the process.

A beautiful evening with DEA

Our event room is getting booked up with holiday parties for December. Instead of the usual price for daytime events we're offering free room rental, and for evening events there is a 25% discount. A unique place to host your company Christmas party so give us a call or email to reserve a date!

We'll host a fundraiser this Sunday for Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth and next Sunday for the Vienna Heritage Foundation. Consider coming and supporting these very worthwhile causes. More information is on our website at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn Wine Festival

 Another big weekend of wine tasting! We have an awesome group of volunteers ready for the weekend and I hope everyone reading this comes by our tent to say hello. Look for the big Joe's Cool Red banner! It's a great chance to tell folks on the shore what the Laytons have been working on for the past few years. Get more information about the Autumn Wine Festival here.

A nice turnout for Business After Hours,
and great food from Jimmie & Sook's
Everyone has been in the field this week (until Thursday morning's rain started coming down). William was picking soybeans til he couldn't see anymore, and Joe has started planting wheat. Hopefully the winds this weekend will help dry things out so that they can get back to the fields next week.

We have some new equipment in the winery. Since our 2000 gallon tank is full of Traminette (for our Lazy Day White) we had to order another giant tank to use when we're racking wine. The spidery steel base was a hit with the kids when it first arrived.

My favorite feature of the production area these days is the Chambourcin, which has been fermenting for a while and gives off a nice odor of alcohol and yeast. It tastes wonderful though, heavier than last year's Chambourcin with a nice full body. William makes sure that it gets stirred regularly to keep even fermentation. Really, it's tougher than it looks!

Happy Hour with JohnE Wa2C going on as I write. Come out and join us as we wind down from the week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grape Stomp Tomorrow!

 I've got to start this post with a big thank you to the volunteers who helped us last weekend at the Maryland Wine Festival. We had a blast- perfect weather, friendly crowds, and plenty of good wine. There's no better opportunity to taste Maryland Wine than at this annual festival in Westminster, although it did inspire me to plan a wine trail road trip. Anyway, everyone loved Joe's Cool Red and many people wanted it open and ready to enjoy right there at the festival.

William is testing the specific gravity of the wines right now. We have pressed and crushed a lot of grapes this month and everything except the Vidal is in a tank right now, undergoing fermentation. Testing the specific gravity lets us track how fast fermentation is going. Alcohol is less dense than water or juice, so as it ferments it becomes less dense and we can measure density with a hydrometer.

Janet and Nellie picking Chambourcin grapes
Finally, the 1st Annual Harvest Festival & Grape Stomp is tomorrow! Richard is setting up the stage where we'll have two stompers going at a time. The person who presses the most juice wins a Frappe Vino wine slushie (non-alcoholic slushies available for participants under 21)! Millie's Roadhouse is bringing food, and we'll have pony rides and a moonbounce set up for the young ones. $5 entry includes a free tasting of our 5 wines. No charge for kids. Doors open at 11, event runs til 6pm. Get here by 3 for a tractor ride with Joe, but if you miss that you can still get a combine tour later. Tommy Buckets comes on at noon, and JohnE Wa2C starts at 3. Music and fun all day!

Call 410-228-1205 if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine

Latin jazz
Had a great weekend at the winery. Jennifer works full time at MaTech in Salisbury and they held a Relay for Life fundraiser here on Friday night. The Sampson/Perez duo returned (one of the first bands to play at the winery back in May!) and good music filled the tasting room all evening. Jenn's parents also came down from Pittsburgh for a visit and I think they were pleased to see the outcome after many years of hard work.

Saturday evening we held our final Sundaes at Sunset for the summer. We'll bring it back in the spring as soon as evenings are warm enough. Lots of kids running around and we celebrated Alison Layton's 7th birthday with cake and ice cream.

We also decided to go with her suggestion for naming our watermelon wine: Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine. Can't wait to get that finished and bottled- look for it around Thanksgiving!

Lots of grapes= lots of pickers
Last week we picked Chambourcin grapes and we've got the press running right now with a load. A couple of volunteers came out and picked with us one morning which was fun. Picking is the best part of grape growing and we enjoyed sharing that with Laura and Ed. This week we do the Vidal and then the vines are empty!

Pressing Chambourcin juice
Don't forget to mark your calendars for September 25! The 1st Annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp will be going on all day and we promise to offer you a good time. Check our website for regular updates and more details!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Harvest 2010

Traminette Grapes, ready for picking
Nellie is a major part of the vineyard.

William cuts bunches with a grape fork.
If you're following us on Facebook you probably already know that this week was the first week of harvest for us. Richard started picking first thing Monday morning, but everyone helped out on Tuesday and by Wednesday the Traminette was finished and ready for pressing. We also received a delivery of Traminette grapes from growers in Talbot County this week which we added to our harvest. The press ran all day Wednesday, in 3 cycles pressing 3800 pounds and producing 300 gallons of juice.

Richard and William stacking tanks
William purchased some interesting new wine tanks last month. I'm not sure what's the reason for the corners, but their main benefit is that they're stackable. They also have a different cooling system so they work well as the first station the juice goes to after pressing. We pump the juice into here where it can settle for 24 hours and then be sent on to another tank to undergo fermentation.

Hurricane Earl caused a stir regarding the corn harvest and Joe and William worked late into the night trying to cut as much corn as possible. Fortunately the storm has passed through Salem fairly mildly today with just winds and rain. Alison Layton came in the office just after lunch to announce that the hurricane is officially over.

Along with picking and pressing grapes we're getting the winery ready for several events this fall. The 1st Annual Harvest Festival on September 25 promises to be a good time. The trophies came in for the fishing contest and all the details are on our website for anyone who'd like to participate. We've signed up a young girl from 4H to offer Pony Rides, and Tommy Buckets and JohnE Wa2C have committed to performing live music throughout the day. Keep checking our site for more info and mark it on your calendar as a good day to visit the winery!

Monday, August 23, 2010

RAtG jams out

It's been a little while since I've had the chance to post but that just means things are staying busy at the winery. This past weekend we had a great show by Rusted Axle and the Gingers- Alex Wersen and Dick "Rusty" Morris and his daughters Claire and Emily. There were excellent vocals by the girls and impressive guitar playing by Alex and Rusty despite the afternoon heat. One group of visitors, the "Boat People", enjoyed the show so much that they convinced RAtG to play on for another hour. A good afternoon to be on the porch.

Last week we started preparing the winery for the production season. We've got a machine that separates grapes from their stems and crushes them, which is what we'll use for making red wine. Richard tested it and Barbara was super impressed at the efficiency of the process. There are two new wine tanks in the tank room that will significantly increase our wine-making capacity this season.

What's coming up- wine festivals in September and October, and a big festival to celebrate the harvest! September 25 will be our 1st Annual Harvest Festival- so for everybody who's ever wanted to stomp grapes, this will be your chance to come out and do it! Check our website for full details, but in addition to grape stomping we'll have tractor rides, a fishing contest, a moon bounce, live music by Tommy Buckets and JohnE Wa2C, and concessions by Millie's Roadhouse. $5 entry for adults (21 & up) includes wine tasting. Free entry for kids and youth under 21.

We do need some volunteers for the Maryland Wine Festival on September 18 and 19, and at Pemberton on October 16 and 17, so if you're interested shoot us an email ( and I'll sign you up.

It's getting close to harvest now and now is the best time to visit a vineyard, with bunches of grapes hanging heavy on the vines! Come check it out!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I can't believe that summer is passing by. The breeze yesterday morning really made it seem like we were approaching fall, but the humidity kicked in midday and reminded me that we're still in the thick of it. The grapevines are just beautiful these days. I tasted a Chambourcin grape this afternoon and it is only slightly sour now. With sugar content rising at a rate of 1.5% weekly, they will be ready in a few short weeks. We're looking at a mid-September harvest (and we'll need help so stay tuned if you're interested in picking grapes!). On September 25 we're planning a harvest festival to celebrate the bounty of the vines, and to get our feet dirty with a good old fashioned grape stomp!

In other wine news, the watermelon wine is in the tank and doing well. It has a strong watermelon flavor, although right now the scent of yeast is pretty strong on the nose. As someone mentioned today, the liquid has lost most of it's color and is only a very pale pink. Our sample batches have turned almost clear after sitting. Maybe that's another reason for blending fruit wine with [grape] wine- to offer a nicer color. Regardless, we're still planning on doing a straight watermelon wine so let's keep our fingers crossed that it works! Brice Stump of the Daily Times wrote a great article about the watermelon wine in this weeks' paper- check it out here.

This weekend's entertainment has changed but still promises to be a good time. Randy Lee Ashcraft and the Saltwater Cowboys had to postpone their performance, but we're excited to welcome them to the winery in October. In lieu of the Saltwater Cowboys we'll have JohnE Wa2C- a duo from Easton playing classic rock music from favorite artists like James Taylor, Dylan, the Beatles, you name it. The band plays from 2-5 and admission is $5 at the door.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

In a Jam

The music's pumping and people have settled in with their bottles of wine. There is a nice breeze blowing and the summer heat wave has subsided a little to make the evening very pleasant. Joe has set up an outside cash bar to offer easy access to chilled wine.

Jen, Laura and Barbara are working in the tasting room, greeting guests and doing wine tastings. We've got sandwiches from Millie's and freshly prepared cheese plates from our local creameries for people to munch on. But the best part of the evening are our Wine Slushies! It's a mix called Frappe Vino and we blend it with Chambourcin wine to make a delicious frozen drink.

Almost the whole crew is here tonight- Richard's on crowd control and William is leading vineyard and winery tours. For our second big music event I think we're finally figuring out how to make sure everything runs smoothly. Band plays til 8 so stop reading the blog and come enjoy the evening!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another shore winery!

Congratulations to Costa Ventosa! Today marks the opening of another winery on the Chesapeake Wine Trail and an excellent reason to visit Maryland's lower shore.

Maybe it was momentum from the weekend carrying over into the week, but we got off with a bang on Monday morning and things have hardly slowed down since. Word is getting out about Layton's Chance, and many people are stocking up on cool wine for their beach vacations. It's really only a short detour from Rt. 50 and a good place to take a stretch break or have your lunch. And the grapes are so beautiful right now, heavy on the vines and just starting to ripen!

The Cambridge Fire Company invited us to serve wine at the Powerboat Regatta next weekend at Sailwinds. It's a huge fundraising activity for the fire company and now also a chance to showcase local wine. We'll be there, so stop by and say hi when you see us!

On top of this, we're getting ready for a concert at the end of the month. Kevin Turner of Trappe came out to our Memorial Day concert and enjoyed himself so much that he asked to come back and bring his band of musicians. We've heard great things about their performance- classic country and good times! Saturday, July 31 from 5-8. $5, tickets available at the door. Don't forget your concert gear!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eventful weekend

We had several events over the weekend and their momentum carried us through the week. On Friday I did a wine tasting at the Pitt Stop in Pittsville (on the Ocean City side of Salisbury) and had the chance to talk to new people about what we're doing here. Folks really get interested when they hear that we're making wine right down the road. The family who runs the Pitt Stop has put a lot of work into offering a varied wine and beer selection and they give the place a very friendly atmosphere. Apparently the local customers agree, since many came in for one item and stayed to chat and taste wine.

The rain all day Saturday seemed to be good encouragement to visit the winery and Joe and Laura had their hands full with visitors in the tasting room. Juanita Weber, namer and first lady of the Layton's Chance Winos came in with friends for her free case (and to celebrate!) The sky even cleared up at one point so that Joe could take two ladies on a farm tour, the first of many I expect.

Rain returned in the evening and we didn't get much of a sunset for Sundaes @ Sunset, but everyone who showed up definitely enjoyed a sundae! Vanilla ice-cream, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, chocolate syrup and whipped cream- plus a splash of Joe's Cool Red for the wine lovers.

Laura and Joe took advantage of the quiet evening by relaxing in their usual spots on the front porch.

Erik and Errol came on Sunday from the Delmarva tourism's Host Our Coast program. William gave them a full tour and tasting in the production area, then put them to work a little scooping watermelon. We've made several batches to experiment and refine a recipe and William says we'll be ready to do a large batch at the end of the month. Stay tuned for a date- we'll be looking for volunteers to help scoop melons! Many hands makes light work!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July!

I hope the heat doesn't scare folks off, though we certainly enjoyed the pleasant weather of the past week. It was 87 when I drove in this morning and keeps getting hotter...

This is the time of year that work in the vineyard calms down a little bit, but with the 5 acres of new vines there has been a lot to keep up with. Nellie finished painting posts and Richard has run all the wire so it's really starting to look good. We'll have to think about deer fencing come fall, especially since the vineyard borders Richard's favorite hunting spot.

We held our first volunteer training last weekend with the enthusiastic bunch that showed up. First assignment- Sundaes @ Sunset- next Saturday night. We'll scoop and pour and you can enjoy the view. Kid friendly event!

William held a radio interview with Cleveland Rippons on ESPN Radio last Wednesday. It was a great opportunity to talk about the winery and get the word out about our upcoming events. For everyone who didn't receive the most recent newsletter, make sure to sign up so we can send you our event calendar!

More music coming up at the end of the month- In a Jam (classic country) on July 31, and Randy Lee returns with the Saltwater Cowboys on August 8th. We'll also have guest author Terry White here to do a dramatic reading of some of her poetry and literature on July 31.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A lively vineyard

Another hot week has passed but fortunately we got a couple big showers this week and the crops are looking good. Corn has started to tassel and grapes are growing with vigor. Some of the vines we planted earlier this year, in April, have already reached the top wire and we may get some fruit from them next season!

There are lots of critters in the vineyards too, such as the Japanese beetles that Richard attacked early this morning. On a friendlier note, there are also abundant killdeer nests and babies running around. They're not harmful to the grapes and they're pretty cute so they're welcome to stick around.

The Dorchester retired teachers held a successful fundraiser last week. The group raised a couple thousand dollars for the scholarship fund and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening. Time Out, led by drummer and former teacher Shelby Clendaniel, kept the atmosphere light with lots of good tunes. Alison Layton played the role of impartial drawer of door prizes, and Molly Meridith provided delicious crab dip and other munchies for the evening fare.

We've got some more music lined up for July and August, as well as a new event we're calling Sundaes at Sunset. We'll serve ice cream sundaes topped with Joe's Cool Red and you can enjoy the setting sun as it goes down behind the vineyard. Check out our website for more details and dates.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

RTA fundraiser!

The teachers (of the Dorchester Retired Teachers Association) have set up the event room and everything is ready to go for tonight's big event. It's our first private event using the winery event room and we're excited to see how it goes.

Over 100 tickets have been sold, and there are several tables laden with silent auction items and door prizes from the Dorchester business community. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Sally Work, our jeweler, came by with a beautiful selection of new necklaces. Her pieces are unique pieces of art. Maybe we can convince her to hold a class here and we can learn the magic of what she does.

Everyone has been out sweating in the vineyard this week, especially Nellie and Janet. I think they've made it halfway through the Chambourcin but the vines aren't slowing down for a minute. Now if only it would rain to keep everything green.

We have two new inhabitants at the winery- Alison and Stephen Layton. School's out and they've got plenty of space to run around. Both kids have been helping hoe the vineyard, coming in often to cool off. Their latest plan is to convince Jennifer that we need a winery dog. Let's see how persuasive the munchkins can be...

Friday, June 11, 2010

LC wine available at your local liquor store!

Three weeks after opening and things are starting to get back to normal. The vines are growing vigorously and a lot of energy is required to tame them. We have to "tuck them in"- that is, take the vines which are growing in all directions and stick them into the wire so that they grow down from the top wire. It sounds more complicated than it is. But it is tricky to separate the vines and make sure the bunches of grapes are hanging freely. Sometimes the vines snap if you look at them wrong, as Nellie shared with me yesterday.

In the tasting room we've done a little rearranging and received a shipment of really cool t-shirts from California. Have you seen Jen's awesome "Nice Rack" shirt, or Laura's "Well Red"? We ordered a good selection this time, and even a few t-shirts for men!

We also started distributing through local liquor stores in the past week. Best Wine and Spirits in Cambridge (off Rt. 50, heading east) and Cambridge Wine and Spirits (109 Cedar St) will carry a selection of our wines. Also, the Wine Rack in Fruitland is carrying several of our wines, and Millie's Roadhouse will serve Layton's Chance wine! You'll still have to come to the winery to buy a bottle of Rosé though. It's the wine made entirely from our own grapes and is an extremely limited wine!

Keep checking our website for updates on what's happening. We've booked Randy Lee Ashcraft again on August 8th and we've got several other bands coming in the next few months. There will be plenty of lazy days and good wine to enjoy this summer.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ready for Randy Lee!

This week we have been welcoming visitors and recuperating from last weekends excitement as we prepare for another. Two ladies from Washington, DC interviewed William for a research piece about the challenges of young farmer's in today's environment. Another group came from a conference in Cambridge and spent some time seeing the vineyard and drinking a bottle of Joe's Cool Red.

Barbara and Alison have been in and we're getting more comfortable in the tasting room as we get more practice. The tables finally arrived and they match the bar nicely. It will be pleasant to sit by the window with a glass of wine and watch the grapes grow.

It is certainly calmer than other weeks in the past month, but there is still plenty to be done. We hired another part time worker, Tony, to help Richard finish the new vineyard. There are thousands of staples to drive and 68 rows to run wire down, not to mention fixing the end posts. The vines are growing vigorously and we're seeing the very beginning of bunches form. Another tank of Joe's Cool Red has finished fermenting and we'll rack that before the weekend.

We are also gearing up for a big weekend with Randy Lee Ashcraft and other local performers this Saturday and Sunday! If you haven't been out yet, come have a look! And if you have, come on back for the fun! We're open Memorial Day also, which will be the last chance for Grand Opening free tastings! More info on our website!