November 18, 2005 |
In 1968, Pennsylvania became the first state to enact a law establishing small "farm" wineries that are permitted to sell directly to the public. Yet compared with the wine industry in many other states that followed with similar laws, Pennsylvania's industry has not been as successful in gaining government subsidies and political clout. "Pennsylvania has lagged . . . in recent decades in terms of recognizing the value of its grape and wine industry," said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, which was founded 20 years ago with state support.
October 15, 2005 |
This summer's dry weather created what was expected to be the best vintage ever for wine grapes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But some vineyard operators are worried that this week's heavy rains - in the middle of harvest season - could undo some of nature's summer handiwork. "It's rained every day. It's wet. It hasn't dried out" in eight days, Darvin Levengood, president of Manatawny Creek Winery in Berks County, said yesterday. "That's the recipe for disaster at harvest time.
October 13, 2005 |
In the heart of South Philadelphia, a giant block party was in full sway last week, as couples danced to the tunes of Frank Sinatra, the air thick with the aroma of red gravy and garlic. Paul Policarpo sat at a table surrounded by family and friends, proudly sipping the wine he had nurtured from grapes over the last few years, waiting for judges' results at the annual Vendemmia Festival. More than 5,000 people gathered at Girard Estates Park for the annual charity event Oct. 2 to savor traditional Italian food, music, and most especially, homemade wine.
September 25, 2005 |
Clusters of deep blue grapes dangled from twisty vines as far as the eye could see on this sweet-smelling Pinelands vineyard. To the right were plump orbs oozing sugary juices. To the left, in the shadows, were the scrawnier grapes, tart and pitiful. Or so it seemed on a recent sunny day, one month before they would be harvested. Tony Valenzano Sr., who operates a family business in Shamong, invited a visitor to pluck and sample the two varieties, then flashed his "gotcha" grin.
January 7, 2005 |
It's long after Dec. 25, but there's another present - packaged as the "Nightmare After Xmas" - waiting to be unwrapped Sunday. At Grape Street, Intrepidjam will bestow this new monthly on lovers of goth, industrial and punk music. DJ Knobhead - from "Nocturne" at Shampoo on Wednesdays - and DJ Phranque and DJ 23 will release the sounds of Stromkern, Tapping the Vein, Marilyn Manson and more. And if that isn't enough, industrial noisemakers Terrorfakt and Violent Entity will perform live.
December 23, 2004 |
He almost had Haley Joel Osment's career. And he was Harry Potter - for one day. But 14-year-old Liam Aiken says he's most at home among the narrow escapes and dark forebodings in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," the weekend's top movie. Adapted from the first three "Snicket" kids' books, the movie stars Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, a seriously weird would-be actor who adopts the industrious Baudelaire kids (Liam, 15-year-old Emily Browning and 2-year-old twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman)
November 21, 2004 |
It's not Napa Valley, where undulating hills and sips of famous wines can dizzy and delight one's senses. But South Jersey, in all its nondescript flatness, has a growing number of picturesque wineries, where fresh nectar is poured freely for the connoisseur and the curious. Many also offer tours of wine cellars, where fermenting grapes in wooden vats ooze tempting whiffs of their latest varieties. You can now follow "wine trails," outlined on maps that send you from winery to winery for tastings, sometimes over back roads meandering past lakes, woods and farms.
September 16, 2004 |
Every autumn, a strange ritual takes place at our local supermarket. A red-haired woman moves slowly up and down the aisles in the produce section, looking for something. At last her eyes light up - she's found it! Lifting a plastic produce package to her nose, she inhales deeply and smiles with pleasure. After a minute or so, she carefully replaces the package and continues her shopping. The woman? Me. The contents of the package? Grapes. Ah, but these aren't just any grapes.
June 24, 2004 |
Vegetables supported four generations of Jim Quarella's family, but when a 30-pound box could barely fetch $8, he turned to another crop. Quarella now grows grapes on his Atlantic County farm and turns them into $15 bottles of cabernet sauvignon and $12 bottles of viognier. Brisk sales this year have convinced him that vineyards, not cabbages, are the ticket. "The prices we were getting for our vegetables and the rising costs of production left no room for profit," Quarella said.
March 14, 2004 |
Gone are the alfalfa crop and the hay, as well as the pigs, cows, steers, quail and pheasants. "You name it; we raised it," said Tony Valenzano Sr., who moved his family in the mid-1970s from Mount Laurel to a farm in Shamong "to get away from civilization. " Today, there is only one crop on the Valenzano farm, with acres on Forked Neck Road and on Old Indian Mills Road: grapes. "It is what saved the family farm," said Tony Valenzano Jr., 31. "We started making our own wine as a hobby, and before long, the farm had turned into a winery.