It’s not too far off the mark to say the Winery at the Long Shot Farm could have its tasting room open by late July-early August.
Recently the Lower Frankford Township business was awarded a $74,550 Tourism Product Development Grant from the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp.
The grant will enable the owners to speed up their timetable and open the winery at 1925 McClure’s Gap Road to regular customers and tourists on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail.
“Had it not been for the grant, it would have slowed us down another year or two,” said Tina Weyant, co-owner of the family-owned and operated winery.
The grant money is being put toward a project to convert one-third of the upper space of a 19th-century barn into a tasting room with a bar, tables and public restrooms, Weyant said.
She said the project includes a redone driveway, handicapped accessible ramps and the construction of a deck overlooking the vineyards and a pond. The lower space has been converted into a production facility where wine is processed, aged and bottled into what will be the winery’s inventory.
Her family bought the farm in 2009 and planted a vineyard and fruit crops. “We like growing food and home wine-making with the ultimate goal of starting a winery,” Weyant said.
In 2013, the business obtained a federal license to produce commercial wine. Since then, the family has ramped up production to build up capacity and prepare the winery for a public opening.
To open, the tasting room would have to pass a final inspection by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Weyant said. She said there are plans to conduct tours of the lower level production area.
“We really do appreciate their support,” she said of CAEDC.
Once open, Long Shot Farm will become Cumberland County’s only vineyard winery. The business will specialize in traditional wines produced from hybrid and vinifera grapes as well as country style wines made from other fruits.
The initial selection will include varietals such as Chambourcin, Chardoent, Concord and Vidal Blanc grape wines as well as blackberry and apple fruit wines. The apple wines will be made using fruit purchased from local orchards, Weyant said.
Visitors would be allowed to walk through the vineyard, bring their own food to have a picnic or take part in a vineyard or winery tour. The owners anticipate offering educational events such as a forum for home wine makers, wine tasting tips, painting classes and a venue for book clubs and knitting groups.
“We are very excited to assist with the opening of the first vineyard winery in the county,” said Valerie Copenhaver, CAEDC senior director of marketing and tourism. “The Cumberland Valley is already becoming a destination for breweries and distilleries, and to be able to add a locally sourced winery to that mix only elevates our offerings.”
The competitive grant was part of a program launched last November to fund projects that either increase visitation from outside Cumberland County or add to the visitors’ experience, Copenhaver said. “The more experiences we can help develop, the more it will motivate travel.”