Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Traditions

'Twas two days before Christmas and all through the farm and winery, the family is scurrying around trying to get everything done...The farm workers are all off next week, and the winery will be closed for three days for Christmas.  Christmas is a time for family traditions, and the Layton family has plenty of those! Two days before Christmas, Joe and Laura put up the Christmas tree, and Joe bakes his famous chocolate chip Christmas cookies. Joe is the BEST cookie baker in the family.  Christmas Eve is the time when the Layton side of the family gets together for dinner. This year the dinner is at Joe and Laura's house, and approximately forty guests - Joe and his four sisters as well as their children and grandchildren - will gather for dinner and a Chinese gift exchange. There are always lots of kids running around on Christmas Eve.  One Christmas Day, every year, all the Layton's who are home for the holiday go to Claudia's house for an enormous Christmas breakfast.  No one goes away hungry!  Christmas evenging, the Hill side of the family (Laura's family)  gathers at Williams and Jen's house for gift-giveing and more food!  The kids have a busy Christmas of toys and food, and the adults have a busy day of food and more food! 
All the Layton's wish your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we hope you get lots of Joe's Cool Red for Christmas!  If you have not signed up for our New Year's Eve party at the winery, there is still time.  If will be a great way to welcome in 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Preparing for the Big Day

What are we doing at the winery to get ready for Christmas? The company Christmas party, organized by Barb and Richard, was last night, and employees of both Lazy Day Farms and Layton's Chance Winery had a great time.  I am sure you will see some videos of the karaoke on Facebook in teh next few days. Everyone got a "gift" which fit some aspect of their personality, as we celebrated into the night Layton's Chance wine and Bob windor's karaoke.  This morning we are getting ready for a day full of Christmas parties, and all the last minute shoppers that will be out this last week before Christmas.  We are the perfect place for those hard-to-find gifts, as Barb can make a basket to fit any request - it doesn't even have to have wine (although we hope it does!) Don't forget to think ahead to New Year's Eve. We are planning a great dinner with food and wine pairings, and then an evening of music to ring in teh New Year with Mike Elzey and the Mayhem Band - everybody's favorite! Take some time to relax in the next week, and get ready for special holiday traditions with the family.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Spirit of Wine

A quick photo op at a recent staff meeting
Halloween. Check. Thanksgiving. Check. Tree decorated. Check. This holiday season has seemed more like a checklist than a holiday. As we were preparing for Thanksgiving sales, and making sure that the wine was ready for your Thanksgiving meal, I was struck by a pretty amazing thought. At Thanksgiving we purchase wine to enjoy with our family and friends. On Friday nights we purchase wine to share with our family and friends. When giving holiday gifts, we purchase wine to share with our family and friends. Have you found the trend here? It is a pretty amazing thought that wine can help bring people together, and such a great feeling to think that we, at Layton's Chance, are a part of that tradition. So, whether you use our wine as gifts for family - or as a gift to yourself to get through the holiday season around all of your family, we want to take this time to say, Thank You! Whatever wine you choose to celebrate wih this season(and I am not going to lie- we hope it's Layton's Chance wine!), take a minute to think of what brought you together with your friends and family. We hope that you can appreciate all of the blessings in your life. It is our great honor to be a part of your celebrations this season.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally......a new blog!

Ok, so I have to start out by apologizing for the lack of blogs and updates the last few weeks....I could blame busy times, computer issues, event issues.....but alas, it is just writer's block getting in they way. Living the winery life every day, we tend to get used to the things happening around us, so when looking for new topics to update our adoring fans with, I seem to come up short. But as I was looking around the vineyard this morning, I thought...."Wow, everyone should know about this"....and with that, a renewed spirit was born! (Even though the spirit has been renewed, please don't expect amazing poetry from the writing....still pretty amateur).
I can't even begin to describe the changes in our vineyard! No longer than 2 weeks ago, I was giving a tour in the vineyard and the vines were lush(ok, so the weeds were the really lush part) and now it is barren! The vines are dying off at such a rapid rate, I can't believe it.  The frost that we have received a few times in the past two weeks has really sped up the process a bit.  I have been hounding our vineyard manager, Richard, for some updates on the vineyard to share. While he is a wealth of knowledge and can explain anything that happens in the winery and vineyard with the utmost confidence, getting him to write it down can be quite a chore! But, the story does have a happy ending folks...check out December's newsletter for a great update on the vineyard and what is coming up next!
Speaking of the monthly newsletter(insert segue here) did you notice the new feature, Ask the Winemaker? Our very own winemaker, William Layton, will be answering any question that you can come up with about the wine, the vineyard, the winery, and even Lazy Day Farms! Please send in your questions. Post them on Facebook, email them to, or make sure to stop in with your Ask the Winemaker question.  And of course, if you do not receive our monthly newsletters, please email to add your email address to our list!
Now as you know, Layton's Chance is not all about wine....but the wine is pretty great isn't it? We also take care of Lazy Day Farms. Once the grapes are all of the vine, and we can put that harvest to an end, there are 1200 acres of Lazy Day Farms to be harvested as well......yep, no rest for the weary around here. Isn't working at the winery glamorous? And you thought we sat around and drank wine all day(ok, that does happen some days!) Check below for a beauty shot of some of Lazy Day Farms finest.....soybeans that is.
I would play a game of "Guess what this is" but I think I gave it away already!

Well all, thank you again for your patience in cyberspace....we have to head back in and set up for Alex and Shiloh tonight(yes, this is the glamorous part!) Make sure you check our website for up to date happenings at the winery,, and please follow us on Facebook(we get so excited when we have a new Facebook follower, will that be you?)
See you next time!(And I promise it won't be too long!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monsters in the Vines

Look what we found in the vineyard!
Ghosts, goblins, and pretty princesses?!?! Saturday's Halloween party at the winery had a little bit of everything! We had so much fun filling all of the community's children with candy....and then sending them home with their parents! Thank you to everyone who came out for the fun. From jack-o-lanterns in the vineyard to ring around the gourds, all of the kids seemed to have a good time.
This past weekend was full of entertainment...Chris English on Friday, Halloween party on Saturday, and Bird Dog on Sundays. Layton's Chance surely isn't just for wine! Make sure you check our website often for all of the events we have scheduled! 
Next Karaoke night is
November 4th!

We are finally getting "back to normal" (whatever that is!) at the winery. The official wine festival season ended last week in Salisbury(great to see you all there!)  so we are catching up on all of the pesky paperwork that needs to be done. We are also trying to get ready for Christmas....can you believe it! New merchandise is coming in pretty regularly now. We pulled through all of our decorations today(wow we have a lot of bows!) and are getting our game plan down for making the winery sparkle.
Garland and Richard are busy getting the soybeans in from the fields so make sure you wave to the tractors as you go by on the way to the winery! Hope to see you soon, and as always - Have a "Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Wine Alert!

Well, last week was all about "firsts", this week is all about NEW! We have a lot of people that have been anxiously awaiting the release of our Oaked Chambourcin. Well, wait no is on the shelf! If you have not had a chance to try it, I have got to tell you, that William has outdone himself with this wine! Our 2010 Chambourcin aged in french oak chips. If you like a full bodied red wine, Oaked Chambourcin is what you are looking for! We are also starting to look towards the Christmas holiday season(I know, it's not even ! Halloween yet!) but that just means that we are already seeing some new merchandise in our tasting room. Check out the great etched crab glass in the picture with our beautiful Oaked Chambourcin. They are huge glasses and only $12! We just brought those in this week from a great group of gals that we have met at some of the local wine festivals, the Shore Sisters. They have more great merchandise as well, so let us know how you like the glasses and we will bring in some more of their great gifts!     
Thank you to everyone who came by the Autumn Wine Festival in Salisbury this past weekend. We had a great time with the local crowd who already know, and love, our wines. There were some at the festival who had more fun than others(see picture!). It was a great weekend for Maryland wine! Wine festival season is coming to a close so look for some more great events at the winery. IThis weekend is a great example of how much we have planned! Friday night is Happy Hour with Chris English - Saturday(October 22nd) is our Halloween Party and we are so excited that Mindie Burgoyne will be joining us for a book signing and to tell some spooky stories! Make sure to wear your costumes - there are contests for both young and old, or old-ER I should say! And for those of you who are still fussing with Irene for cancelling Bird Dog and the Road Kings....get your dancing shoes on because they are at the winery this Sunday, October 23rd from 2-5pm! Bring all of your friends out for this local favorite! We hope to see you all soon at the winery. And as always, Have a "Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Video Blog

Click on the following link to check out our first Video Blog. Check back weekly for the updates and videos of all of our staff!  See you soon at the winery, and as always "Have a Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where is Joe?

In Westminster Maryland this morning getting ready for The Maryland Wine Festival and realized that our weekly blog had not been done yet!! Well Layton's Chance fans, fear not, you will get your weekly fix no matter where we are!(currently that would be the Days Inn!)This weekend is a busy one! You can find wine at Maryland Wine Festival, at the winery, and at the Summer Send Off celebration in Cambridge. Make sure you stop by to see Pam and Ashley, they will be set up in front of A Few Of My Favorite Things!
For all of you Bird Dog fans, the concert that was postponed due to pesky 'ol Irene is back on! October 23rd at 2pm we will be partying Bird Dog style! We have a lot of great things in the works for October! It's shaping up to be a great month for events at the winery so keep an eye on the schedule. Guys, there is even a special day devoted to cigars and wine!
Oh, by the way, check out our Facebook later this weekend for a new segment...where's Joe! Can't wait for everyone's feedback! Well the pesky alarm is signaling the start of a great day to introduce new people to Layton's Chance wine. Wish us luck ...and as always, "have a Joe's Cool kind of day".

Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting Tanked at Layton's Chance!

Rain, rain, go......I mean YAY rain!! It's been the silliest summer....earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods! The fields can use the rain, so as much as I hate muddy shoes, bring it on! We have been out picking grapes again this morning so they won't sit in the moisture and get rotten.   I love to see those beautiful grapes come off the vine....that just means more wine is coming up!!
We want to thank everyone who came out to help bottle our latest batch of Joe's Cool Red on Monday and Tuesday. We completed over 20,000 bottles of Joe's Cool Red in two days! We couldn't have done it without the help of some great friends who came out on those days! Can you believe it? 20,000 more bottles of Joe's Cool Red, and guess what?!?! Screw caps! No more sore arms getting into that sweet red wine! We even had some four legged visitors for bottling. A litter of kittens got into the winery as we were finishing up.  You haven't lived until you've seen Garland on his stomach hollering here kitty, kitty, kitty!
Coming up this weekend we have a Very special night! Saturday night, September 10th, we are having a Tank Room Party!  This is the first time we have done a party like this and we are all so excited. Southern Breeze is playing that night and we love them so much we were afraid they would be rained we decided to bring the party inside!  We have cleared the floor in our winery tank room and are ready to dance the night away surrounded by cases of wine and wine tanks! It's going to be a blast!! Come get tanked with us!
Maryland Wine Festival is coming up next weekend on the 17th and 18th in Westminster, Maryland. If you love Maryland wine, this is the place to be. Visit for all of the information. Taste wine from all over. We could still use some help pouring our wines those days, so if you are interested in helping out for a few hours send us an email at You get free admission to the festival(free tasting all day from ALL wineries!) a glass of Layton's Chance wine after your shift, and 20% all Layton's Chance wine purchased that day!
Time to get back to vineyards and bring in those grapes. Have fun, stay dry, and as always....Have a "Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Making Headlines

We are making headlines here at Layton's Chance! If you haven't seen it yet, check out today's Daily Banner. There is a great article from Comptroller Franchot's visit. What an honor to have Governor O'Malley and Comptroller Franchot visit the winery in the same week.

Summer is coming to a close.....but that means that the real work begins at the winery! Bottling, festivals, harvest, grape picking, crushing.....get the idea! It's not only a beautiful time of year but busy, busy, busy! So, if you have ever wanted to work for a winery, here's your chance!
We are looking for volunteers for a lot of events coming up at the winery and around town. Email us at if you are interested.

Now it's not all work here at the winery...we get in plenty of play time too! We are having Happy Hour every Friday night in September! Tonight, September 2nd, Justin Ryan will be playing. If you haven't heard him before you need to make tonight the night. He is great! We also have Game Night every Thursday and are knee deep in preparation for our 2nd Annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp on September 24th!
Claudia is excited today. She had lost a copy of her favorite soup cookbook and we tracked down the author, who made a personal trip to the winery yesterday to bring her a new copy! What a great guy! (He also brought in more copies of the Eastern Shore Cookbook for the tasting room)I'm looking forward to lots of soup from Claudia this year! So, next time that you come in, make sure to ask her for your bowl!

Well, we need to go get set up for Happy Hour tonight. Hope to see you all there, and as always....Have a "Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gettin ready...

Picking grapes and taking names!
Just stopping to get a quick note out to all of our blog fans....and we love you all! We are busy at the winery getting ready for Hurricane Irene. Keep your prayers pointed to our vineyard! The guys are busy hauling in furniture and equipment at the winery, while Joe, William, and Chuck are busy getting grain in from the fields! Everyone is pitching in to get us ready for the storm.
On Thursday we had everyone out in the vineyard picking any grapes that were ready. Good news for me...they were the Vidal Blanc grapes(my personal favorite!). I got to taste the freshly pressed juice for the first time as well. It was great.....but I'll take the wine anyday!

From hurricane preparedness to we are justing waiting on the plague of locusts and, well, you know how that ends! We all have great stories to tell from the day we felt the quake of 2011. Well, except Laura, who was driving and didn't feel a thing!

Check back next week to see how we fared from the storm. In the mean time, be safe! Don't take any unnecessary chances....we need to see you all back at the winery soon! Oh, and just a reminder, our concert for Saturday night with Bird Dog and the Road Kings has been postponed. We will let you know when the rescheduled date is as soon as we have it. The winery will also be closed on Sunday, August 28th because of the weather. 

I wonder if we offered Irene some Joe's Cool Red, she would just leave us alone? Stay safe, be happy, and as always, Have a Joe's Cool kind of day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School....already?

Governor O'Malley with the Layton Family
This has been quite the week at Layton's Chance. Governor O'Malley came by on Tuesday to make a major cover crop announcement. He had beautiful Lazy Day Farms as his backdrop and made a great announcement for Maryland agriculture.  Thank you to all of the Maryland farmers making great strides towards the future! And today, as we speak, Comptroller Peter Franchot is touring the winery operation!

Don't worry, just because school is starting, the events are not stopping at Layton's Chance. Tonight is our Back to School Bash! Happy Hour with Sam Shelly! Come Karaoke the night away with the Layton girls! And don't forget Sundaes at Sunset on Saturday the 20th. Sit on the porch with an ice cream sundae topped with Joe's Cool Red! Starting in September, we will be open most Thursday and Friday evenings until 9pm for Game Nights and Happy Hour!

Harvest is fast approaching. The grapes in the vineyard are getting sweeter.  The Chambourcin grapes are the prettiest, deep purple color and the Vidal Blanc are so tasty straight from the vine! To celebrate harvest, mark your calenders for September 24th- our 2nd Annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp. Music, food, pony rides, moon bounce, grape stomping---all kinds of fun for the entire family.

Don't forget that we do tours of the vineyard and winery every day at 1:00pm and 3:00pm at no charge! Hope to see you out to the winery soon. And as always, Have a "Joe's Cool" kind of day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hot Summer Nights

This is a bittersweet week at Layton's Chance. Today is the last day for Chloe Wieland, who has been intstrumental in the success of the winery. I quote the entire Layton family by saying "we couldn't have opened without her". Best of luck in grad school, Chloe! You will be missed!

We have also had some new faces in the vineyard this week. Fall harvest is fast approaching and the vines need a lot of work, so w've had a few new guys around helping us get the vineyard in tip top shape!

You all saw picutres from our watermelon scoop last week. Well, the watermelon is done fermentation and wine is in the tank!! We go to "test" it (the best part of our jobs by far!) and it is going to be a great batch of Alison's Wonderfu Watermelon Wine!
Time ot start thinking of back to school...but at Layton's Chance there is plenty of summer fun left! Make plans to come out to the winery on the 13th. Randy Lee Ashcraft and the Saltwater
Cowboys are playing as part of our Summer Concert Series! We can't is going to be an amazing night! Lots of Joe's Cool on ice and Frappe Vinos in the machine! Bring your lawn chairs and picnic to enjoy a beautiful evening.
Are you ready for more Joe's Cool Red? So are we!!! Come out to the winery on September 5th and 6th to help with the next bottling. See what it takes to get everyone's favorite tractor wine from the tank to the table.
We are also planning our 2nd Annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp for September 24th so mark your calenders for an all day family event.

There is always something going on at Layton's Chance. Can't wait to see you here....and until then, Have a Joe's Cool kind of day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Watermelon Scoop II

A great crowd came out to help make watermelon wine!

Awesome volunteers!
This has been a week of a lot of hard work with a good dose of fun mixed in at the winery! The bottles are arriving as we speak for the next bottling of Joe's Cool Red! September 5th and 6th we would love to see volunteers to help with the process!! Speaking of our wonderful volunteers.....this week we had a great(and by great, I mean dirty clothes, sore hands, watermelon in our know, great!) time scooping watermelons for the next batch of Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine. We had some great help that day and the watermelon is now fermenting in the winery......
Richard & Chloe at station 2

Make plans to spend your weekend at Layton's Chance! We have Southern Breeze playing Saturday night from 6-9pm. It's going to be a hot one, but don't worry Cool Joe is going to be here and we are going to have a tent set up for you to be able to watch the show in the shade! Please don't forget about our End of Auction party on Sunday! This is a great way to support a great are $15 and include great food and fun! There are still a few days left to bid on once in a lifetime experiences at the winery. Just go to Ebay and search Layton's Chance. Computers will be on hand Sunday to get last minute bids. If you haven't logged on to the auction, you can still come to the party. All profit from ticket sales and auction proceeds will be going to a wounded veteran organization!

And don't forget we have tours daily at 1pm and 3pm and you can do a full tasting of our wine at anytime! Hope to see you soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Watermelons are here!

Richard with the test watermelon!
Taylor hooks up the irrigation system
I probably don't even need to say it but woah, what a HOT week! The few brief storms we had didn't accumulate much so we turned on irrigation in both vineyards this week. Fortunately our AC is working fine, and there's plenty to do around the winery so we're staying cool. Our frozen wine drinks certainly have been a hit this week, especially our new wine Margaritas!

The watermelons arrived on Thursday and we're getting ready for the Great Watermelon Scoop part 2! Next Tuesday morning, bright and early at 8am, we'll be here cutting up melons for our next batch of Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine. We had a blast last year and I know this year is going to be great too! Volunteers are invited so get your friends and come on out for the morning to help out. Make sure you stick around for the Pizza & Wine party afterwards!

Nellie wrestles with the thick summer vines
To distract you from the heat we have a few fun things coming up here at the winery. Tonight we're hosting Bob Windsor for a Karaoke Night Happy Hour (5:30-8:30), a special midsummer Happy Hour with our regular buffet. Next Tuesday Jennifer Layton is hosting a Mom's Night Out- an evening of food, wine, facials and great company. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (includes childcare for kids 2 & up!).

We are also hosting an online auction for special experiences at the winery, with proceeds to benfit a wounded veterans organization. Click here to see items available now for bidding, including a year of Professional Winemaker Consulting for home winemakers, Event Room rental, and seats at our Blending and Sugar trials! Items are listed on eBay, just search Layton's Chance to find all listings. The auction ends July 31st with an End-of-Auction Party here at the winery from 1-4pm. Don't miss out!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sticky Hands and Puppy Dog Kisses

Friday already.....Can you believe that it is the middle of summer already? We all get so busy during the summer that we forget to take the time to relax.....Well we have the answer for that! Barren Creek will be at the winery this Saturday, July 16th from 6-9pm as part of our Summer Concert Series. Bring your lawn chairs and dance the night away with a glass of wine and great music.
The water was for drinking?
We have had a such a great week. We had another great Dog Days at the Winery. Wicomico Humane Society brought some adorable puppies that would turn even a cat person into a dog person....too cute! The dogs had a great time and their owners loved the Frappe Vino!
Check out our Facebook page for pictures from the Taste of Cambridge. We had so much fun talking with people who love our wine and meeting people who had not been out to see us yet. We have so much support from our community and we love the chance to get out and say Hi! The event was a great time with great food....and did I mention great wine!!

Gettin ready for Watermelon Wine!

Last week I mentioned that we were waiting on the final permits to be able to ship wine. Well, the permit is in! Cool Joe is officially on the road.....You can call and order any of our wine to be shipped right to your door.

The watermelons are coming, the watermelons are coming....We had such a great time at the last Great Watermelon Scoop that we are doing it again. Sometime in the next two weeks or so those watermelons will be sacrificing the rinds for Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine(I think it is a worthy cause!) Keep your eyes on Facebook and your email because those watermelons can't scoop themselves and we need your help!Come out for some sticky fun! Details to follow soon....

We hope to see you all soon, until then.....Have a Joe's Cool kind of day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Joe Is Being Shipped Out!

Vineyard Sunset

Pruning vines all summer long!
Happy Friday everyone!! It's been a busy week at the winery getting ready for shipping. We are just waiting for our final license and then Joe is on the road! Yes, you will be able to have any of the Layton's Chance wines shipped right to your front door. What a great gift, I know I would love to open my door to a bottle of wine.

If you haven't been to the Taste of Cambridge before, make this the year you plan to attend. This is a great event that gives everyone the chance to sample food from local bars and other words a great reason to eat, drink, and hang out with friends! You will find Layton's Chance wine in front of A Few of My Favorite Things on Race Street. Stop by and say Hi!

Ice cream sundaes on the porch
 If you won't be in Cambridge, we are having our Sundaes at Sunset as well Saturday evening.  Sit on the porch with your ice cream and wine.....ahhhh what a feeling!
We haven't left our man's best friend behind in all of the events this week....Dog Days at the Winery is back this Sunday from 1-4pm. Bring your pooch out for games and fun!

Summer is such a great time for family and friends. Our Summer concert series is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them. Barren Creek is here on the 16th from 6-9pm. Make sure you don't miss it. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook pages for all of the great events at the winery. See you soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Faces, Bluegrass, and 4th of July!

Blue Marsh Trio plays at the winery Saturday at 6pm!
It's summertime and I hope everyone is getting geared up for a great weekend! The weather is perfect for heading to the beach or hanging out by the pool. And although some of us (me!) believe it's always good weather for drinking wine, a cold glass of Joe's Cool Red or Joe's Cool White will go great with the 4th of July festivities.

Tuesday night meeting with our
AWESOME tasting room staff
This week has been a whirlwind of activity. On Monday we welcomed our new tasting room manager, Jennifer Hoffman, and proceeded to inundate her with information and details about the winery. Fortunately she is calm, well-organized, and a quick learner and will be huge asset to the team. Tuesday night we had a staff meeting and Barbara, recently home from a 3-week trip to Germany, brought some delicious sweets and candies to share with us. Gummi bears made with real juice!

Meet Jennifer Hoffman,
our new tasting room manager
Wednesday morning brought a large bus tour from Montgomery County and we had a good time showing them around the winery. It's a pleasure to show folks from the Western Shore that there are great wineries on the peninsula too. Thursday afternoon and evening was devoted to inventory, and adjusting the system to accommodate the increase in alcohol sales tax from 6%-9%. We have raised prices by 50 cents on all of our wines except Joe's Cool Red, but the price of wine tastings and glasses of wines has stayed the same.

Today we've been getting ready for the weekend! We've got a great band playing here on Saturday night- the bluegrass group Blue Marsh Trio starts at 6pm and is gonna be awesome! Then on Monday we'll be open all day and cooking up burgers and hot dogs from 1-4pm. Join Cool Joe and the rest of us for a cook-out before heading into Cambridge for fireworks. Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

The Dog Days of Summer have begun!
Bring your loyal friends out to the winery on 2nd Sundays!
 Thank goodness for the rain last night! Joe and William have been cutting wheat all week while keeping an eye on the forecast for rain to keep the corn going. We got 1 inch last night which will definitely help stabilize things in the field. After they finish the wheat it'll be time to plant more soybeans.

Garland prunes Chambourcin vines
This week has gone by quickly...the vines are growing fast but the boys have been in the vineyard pruning (though Nellie & Janet are still the toughest pruners!) and it's about halfway finished. The grapes look good- small and green, and aren't suffering too much from the drought. Grapes actually do better with a little stress, growing deep roots to find water.

Claudia and Caitlyn get the event
room prepped for the weekend.
Inside the winery we are keeping busy with a summer full of good events. Coming up this weekend is "A Night in Margaritaville", where we'll play your favorite Jimmy Buffet tunes and drink Wine-A-Ritas: Margaritas with our Vidal Blanc white wine. Plus, Keith Graffius from Crabi Gras in Cambridge is bringing Buoy Bay Original Chesapeake Salsa- fresh and delicious and the first salsa produced in the Crabi Gras kitchen! Free entry and free samples! Don't forget your Hawaiian shirt!

We also have a special Father's Day Buffet on Sunday, from 12-3pm, catered by Jerry Fletcher. It'll be a great day to bring dad to the winery and let him relax with a glass of wine. Challenge him to some horseshoes or a game of volleyball, or just find a good spot on the porch to sit and enjoy. Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grape Blossom Festival

 CBF Butter Pecan ice cream with Costa Ventosa's
Sparking Chardonnay was wonderful!
Our 1st annual Grape Blossom Festival was a great success! The thunderstorms came early and although the day heated up quickly, we all enjoyed starting off with a refreshingly cool morning. The 4 on the Shore wineries (Costa Ventosa, Fenwick Wine Cellars, Bordeleau, and Layton's Chance!) arrived early to set up and local artists and vendors quickly filled in the circle, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Emily's Produce brought fresh berries and veggies!
Some of the highlights were Sarah and Robbie from Amused Studios with their beautiful (and functional) ceramics, and Sue Henry with her do-it-yourself charm bracelets. We also had Miche Bags, Nadina's Cremes, Mama Girl's original paper mache folk art, and Susan Taylor with her handcrafted baskets. Rescue Fire Company came from Cambridge and served traditional festival fare- hamburgers, kilbasas and BBQ, plus plenty of goodies from other local producers, including ice cream from Chesapeake Bay Farms, Pecan Yummies, Kettle Corn and Emily's Produce. Costa Ventosa even brought their own chocolatier!!

Thanks to everyone who came and enjoyed the wines, and to our wonderful volunteers! We're already looking forward to hosting this annual event here at Layton's Chance, and we'll be offering more fun events at each of the 4 on the Shore wineries. Next up, a HalloWINE Carnival at Costa Ventosa this October!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joe's Cool Red is back

Laura & Richard with Joe's Cool Red!

William with the first Joe's Cool White
It's been a long 5 weeks but finally we are full restocked with Joe's Cool! Bottling went very well on Thursday, our smoothest bottling operation yet. We filled more than 10,000 bottles with Joe's Cool Red, and thousands more with Joe's Cool White. Cat, one of the new members of our Tasting Room team, joined us for the morning, as well as our experienced bottlers- Janet and Barbara. Another bonus to the excitement of the day- beautiful weather!

Chloe & Toby
Gotta love the beautiful weather in May. This weekend we had perfect weather for sitting on the porch and sipping wine. Happy hour on Friday night with Chris English was a hit, and people spread out around the winery and outside. On Saturday I brought Toby, my sweet black lab, to enjoy the beautiful day at the winery. He made friends fast with anyone who would throw the Frisbee for him!

We've partnered up with the Art Institute & Gallery and have been pouring wine at gallery openings on 3rd Fridays in Salisbury. Jennifer attended and poured this past Friday for the "Whimsy" and "Found and Recycled" exhibition openings. Click here to see some of the beautiful art created from, well, everything!
Enjoying wine on the porch

This week all the energy will be in preparing for our 1st Anniversary. It's hard to believe it's already been a year! This Saturday, May 28th- we open at 11, music starts at 2, party goes all day! Bring your lawn chairs and friends and we'll provide the wine!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pitchers of Joe's Cool Red

More Joe's Cool Red on May 20th
Sold out again of Joe's Cool Red! Too bad that it's such a popular wine! Fortunately we have plenty in the tanks and we'll be serving it by the pitcher at Happy Hour between now and Bottling Day. That means this Friday (April 29th) from 5:30-8:30pm at our Karaoke Night Happy Hour with Bob Windsor and next Friday (May 6) from 5:30-8:30pm with JohnE Wa2C you can have all the Joe's you like, fresh from the tank! Bottling Day is May 19th so we'll celebrate with Chris English at our final Spring Happy Hour.

Randy Lee Ashcraft & the Saltwater Cowboys
kick off the Summer Concert Series on May 28th!
We're coming up quickly on our 1st Anniversary too- May 28th! Stay close to home this Memorial Day weekend and join us for a great Saturday afternoon at the winery. Justin Ryan plays from 2-5pm and Randy Lee Ashcraft returns with the Saltwater Cowboys from 6-9pm. We'll have all of our new wines released and ready for tastings, plus a fresh batch of Joe's Cool Red and the new Joe's Cool White.

Other events coming up in May: Mother's Day Brunch, Sundaes at Sunset, and the Chesapeake Wine Festival. Volunteers are always needed- especially for the Chesapeake Bay Wine Festival! Please email or sign up for our volunteer mailing list!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Activities!

Ok, it's officially the busy season! We've had a great week of warm weather (until today!) but we're happy to see people getting out and visiting the winery.
A beautiful afternoon for planting!

Last weekend we planted an acre of Chambourcin vines in our new vineyard. It was nice to get my hands dirty again, although the guys did the bulk of the planting. On Saturday the rain held off enough for some visitors to plant a vine at our 3rd Annual View of the Vineyard event- guests get to plant a vine and as then visit it as it grows up and bears fruit- and becomes wine!
Alison & Aunt Claudia getting eggs ready!

Most of the energy this week was getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow afternoon! We're expecting good weather and lots of kids so we've got plenty of stuffed eggs ready to hide around the vineyard. Some eggs have tickets for prizes- games and toys for kids and wine & chocolate for adults! No registration necessary, arrive by 2 to sign your young ones up for the hunts which will be separated by age groups. 1st hunt is at 2:30!

Friday, April 8, 2011

2010 Wines bottled today

Grey outside, but not in the winery!
 Why does it always rain on bottling day? Barbara told William this morning, "If you ever need rain in the middle of summer, just schedule a bottling!" That's ok, we've got coffee and the tasting room is warm and cozy so everyone is hanging out there while Landwirt gets the line set up. It wouldn't be a normal bottling day without everyone bundled up in sweatshirts, drinking hot coffee.

Chuck works hard stacking cases

Isn't it wonderful to say that- a normal bottling day? We've had 3 bottlings since our first one last March, and although we've got a better idea of what we're doing now, the excitement and anticipation hasn't faded a bit. William is directing the show, and we have several volunteers giving us a hand. And we're all excited for the new wines!
The production area was all dressed
up for the evening.

We hosted our first event for Layton's Chance Winos on Wednesday night and it went fabulously well! William gave a beautiful presentation about the production of our 2010 wines, followed by a tasting of each wine along with several of the 2009 vintages. Folks loved the new wines! We have a dry Traminette, made from the same grapes as Lazy Day White so it has the same citrus aroma but with a nice crisp flavor. There are two new Chambourcin wines, one oaked and one in stainless steel. Both of these are lovely, with deep, chocolate flavors in the Oaked Chambourcin and dark ripe berries in the 2010 Chambourcin. Finally, we are really excited to present Joe's Cool White! It's a deliciously sweet sister wine to Joe's Cool Red. Both Joe's Cool Red and Joe's Cool White will be bottled in May.

William admires the first bottle of
2010 Traminette
Upcoming events are posted on our website, and next week is a big one. Alex & Shiloh are coming from Salisbury for Happy Hour on Friday night. Saturday is our 3rd View of the Vineyard planting event- those who planted vines in 2009 might want to see how the vines have matured. The following weekend we're hosting a special Easter Egg Hunt- candy for the kids and wine for adults!