Waltz Vineyards

Kimberly and Jan Waltz and their dog, Lucy, stroll through their rural Manheim vineyard.

Jan and Kim Waltz have had a busy summer. They’ve hosted events, won awards and even begun designing a new store location.

And with harvest now underway, the proprietors of Waltz Vineyards, Manheim, have no plans to slow down.

In July, the Waltzes took part in a blind taste test pitting Pennsylvania wines against California wines. Held at Nectar Restaurant in Philadelphia under the direction of its sommelier, the contest, coined the “Judgment of Pennsylvania,” proved successful for Pennsylvania and for Waltz Vineyards: Its Old Line Chardonnay outscored four California chardonnays and came in second only to a chardonnay from Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford.

“This was a significant landmark to us,” Kim Waltz says. “We are in a time where Pennsylvania wines are finally being recognized for the quality that they have and can have, and we’re proving that it can be done here.

“Dry Bordeaux wines that can beat wines from California can be made here.”

Over the summer, the Waltzes hosted a successful concert series, took part in several wine-pairing dinners and also welcomed a group of young professionals as part of a Lancaster Chamber networking event. Last Saturday, they partnered with former White House chef John Moeller on the “White House, White Harvest Seafood Soiree” dinner on the lawn of the vineyard. This Friday they will take part in the Elizabethtown Wine Walk and on Saturday they will host a sold-out vineyard tour and wine-tasting as part of The Hotel Hershey’s Wine & Food Festival.

On Friday, Sept. 19, in a first-of-its-kind event, the Waltzes will partner with Spooky Nook Sports on a “Farm to Turf” dinner, which includes a menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a different Waltz wine paired with each of the four courses (scallops, gnocchi, rock fish and short ribs). The event is limited to 50 people.

Perhaps most exciting is a new store location slated to open in March or April 2015 at Kitchen Kettle Village, Intercourse. Currently, the Waltzes sell wine at the vineyard and at a small tasting shop in Lititz. Waltz says the new location will give them a diversified audience, including out-of-town tourists, and will be located in a renovated barn with a tasting area, an outside patio and a private tasting loft for groups and wine club members.

“Part of the excitement for us with the new location is to be involved with such a highly reputable place as Kitchen Kettle,” Waltz says. “It’s another local family that owns it, and it’s nice to be involved with businesses run by other local people.”

As for this year’s harvest, Waltz says things look good. Despite losing some grapes to winter weather damage, she says the crop that remains looks very healthy, and the recent hot days and cool evenings have accelerated the ripening process.

Keep up with the Waltzes at the newly redesigned WaltzVineyards.com.