Adams County's second winery is officially popping its cork and opening for business.
The Hauser Estate Winery, 410 Cashtown Road near Arendtsville, is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m. today.
Three sisters, who share the maiden name of Hauser, own the new winery, high on a hill overlooking Adams County.
Jane Patrono, Hannah Hauser and Melinda Davis grew up in apples and have now made the transition into grapes as well.
Patrono said their mother, Helen Hauser, the matriarch of the family, did not want to see the land -- the rolling, sloped, south-facing hill with great soil -- become a housing development.
It was once an apple orchard. The trees were approaching the end of their fruit-bearing years. Something had to be done to preserve the land.
The Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center's grape research, plus discussions of the possibility of a wine industry in the area, influenced the family to transfer some of their orchards into vineyards and join the wine game.
It seemed like the perfect match for the family farm.
They started about two years ago and now have 3,400 vines on the 170-acre property.
The grapes are not quite ready to be harvested for wine, but they will be in the next year or two.
Until then, the winery is using all Pennsylvania-grown grapes.
Location is everything
Besides wine, the new winery will likely be best known for its view.
Situated high up the side of the hill, it overlooks much of Adams County. Visitors can see Gettysburg, Little Round Top on the battlefield and miles of farmland and hamlets. It has outdoor patio seating, where visitors can enjoy the view with a bottle of wine.
There's also seating inside, along with a wraparound bar for wine tasting. The interior walls of stone provide a relaxing atmosphere.
The wine-making area was built underground, below the winery itself. It's a large room with rows of vats, with the capacity to store about 9,000 gallons.
It's been open and busy for a few weeks now with very little advertising. Word of mouth -- and the sign at the entrance to the estate -- aroused some curiosity.
"It's been exciting to see the whole place buzzing," said manager Melisa Patrono, daughter-in-law of Jane Patrono.
Bringing in a professional
The owners love agriculture and pastoral, relaxing open spaces. But wine-making itself they knew little about. So they brought in a professional vintner.
Michelle Oakes came to the winery after working in the Finger Lakes region. The Cornell-educated wine maker said she likes the challenge of being part of a start-up operation like this. It's a chance to be creative and try out her style of wine making.
So far, the winery features a Chardonnay, a Chambourcin and a red and a white table wine. Plans are in the works to expand the menu as the winery grows.
This is Adams County's second winery -- Adams County Winery in Orrtanna has been in existence for about 10 years. Oakes said she's proud to be on the ground floor of a possibly-expanding Adams County wine industry.
Competition isn't a bad thing for wineries, she said. Wine drinkers tend to enjoy traveling along wine trails, stopping in and visiting a variety of wineries. She comes from a place where a hundred wineries border Seneca Lake, and none were hurting for business, Oakes said.
IF YOU GO
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Hauser Estate Winery is set for 10 a.m. today. The winery is open now. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
The winery features wine tasting. It has four varieties of grape wines, one apple wine and three apple ciders.
A grand opening celebration will be Sept. 15 through 20.
For more information, visit hauserestate.com.