Saturday, December 13, 2008 dawned cold and clear in Harrisburg so Brenda and I decided to wander south to the Adams County Winery in Orrtanna, PA. We really enjoyed the drive through Pennsylvania’s apple country to the winery. We had emailed ahead and owner John Kramb was happy to spend some time with us.
The Adams County Winery has been in existence for about 30 years and John has been the owner since 1998. The story of how he came to own the winery is fascinating and will be the topic of part III of this series. Upon taking ownership, John began a major upgrade to the winery which included replacing all 12 acres of grape vines. Today Adams County Winery grows about 50% of its grapes including such varieties as Vidal, Chambourcin, Traminette, Cabernet Sauvignon and Lemberger. The vineyard will expand by another three acres in the spring of 2009. The remainder of the grapes are purchased from other Pennsylvania growers, most from the Lake Erie region. Altogether, the winery produces about 9,500 cases of wine each year.
Besides replacing and expanding the vineyard, John has made many other changes to the winery since 1998. The old processing room is now a lovely sitting area in front of the tasting room and there is a new state of the art processing center. In the earlier days, when truckloads of bottles arrived, John had to move them in using a forklift, a job that took hours. Today he has a modern loading dock and is able to receive the same load in about 30 minutes. There are well over 25 fermenting tanks in the room and he is planning on adding even more. When building the center, John received advice to build as big a processing room as he might ever need. Today, he wishes he had built it bigger.
In part II of this series, I’ll talk about the tasting room, gift shop and the special events at Adams County Winery. In the meantime, grab your wine carrier and head to the winery. Cheers!
Here is a map of the area immediately around Adams County Winery. You can use this map to get detailed directions.