I remember the first day I fell in love with wine – October 15, 2011. I was touring Virginia with my husband when we happened upon a multitude of vineyards. Some were 100 acres vineyards, some small wineries, some cultivating grapes planted by Thomas Jefferson, some growing anything but grapes; but all introducing me to this new world of flavors. Back here in Lancaster, I find the vineyards just as unique and The Vineyard at Grandview is no exception.
A recent trip to this family owned and operated 5.5 acres vineyard in Mount Joy was filled with wonderful flavors, eccentric stories, and beautiful views. I was greeted by owner Marilyn Kennel and her daughter, Sarah Haines, who combined with patriarch Larry Kennel, Scott Haines, and Fran and Steve Kratz make up the family staff. Marilyn quickly filled me in on the history of this new vineyard, opening only in 2009. The Vineyard at Grandview has quickly figured out the wine making process utilizing both steel and oak aging techniques. Their motto in running such a small vineyard is to produce quality over quantity, a slogan that has been proved successful by the complete sell-out of each of their wines.
As the tasting room began to fill with guests for the day, Marilyn passed the story telling off to her daughter, Sarah, who was eager to relay the unique family history behind the vineyard and its wine recipes. Sarah regaled stores how her father and wine maker, Larry Kennel’s, background lies not in viniculture but veterinary medicine, however, his passion has kept him constantly attending his vines and searching for local grapes to sustain their new popularity. Familial stories then flowed from Sarah as she introduced me to Grandview’s Heritage” collection consisting of three wines: Mom Kennel’s Blackberry, Pop Umble’s Black Cherry, and a Limited Release Black Jack Cherry. The story goes that matriarch, Grandma Kennel, was a strict and frugal woman of faith who kept the family strong but had a few secrets of her own in journals and recipe books. A particular recipe is now the base for Grandview’s Mom Kennel’s Blackberry wine staying true to “top-shelf” ingredients and avoiding any inferior products. Larry Kennel utilizes this recipe everyday ordering premier blackberries from Oregon and Washington to maintain the sharpness and flavor in Grandview’s specialty fruit wine. Also distinctive to this collection is the Limited Release Black Jack Cherry, a wine aged in Jack Daniels oak barrels, which create flavors not readily found mixed into the wine world.
Once Sarah was done introducing me to the history behind the vineyard, she gave me some insight into their wine collection. Producing mostly red varietals on site such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cab Fran, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdo, and one white, Chardonnay; Grandview has successful mastered sweet, dry, and the obscure fruit wines. While tasting, I experienced an array of flavors from their blended varieties as well as a superb Pinot Noir from their 2013 collection ( a MUST if you stop to taste). Additional offerings at Grandview include a cheese/chocolate pairing for your tasting as well as Rock Candy Spritzers. These spritzers combine the sweet varieties of the Rock Candy Gem Collection with soda and locally made rock candy for a fun presentation and bubbly taste.
Of course, those who read my blog about wine understand I am about the full package. I appreciate great wines and knowledgeable service, but I love a good atmosphere and Grandview does not lack in this department. The atmosphere is relaxing as you enter the open and naturally lit tasting room or exit onto the sprawling outside deck that overlooks the Lancaster landscape and vines. Snacks are welcome by guests and events are frequent as the vineyard partakes in both the Hershey/Harrisburg and Mason Dixon Wine Trails.
The Vineyard at Grandview possess all of the qualities essential to convert the non-believer. The wine, the staff, the location, and the pride in their products shine through leaving little room for the visitor to not fall in love with this wonderful Lancaster vineyard.