Adams County wine: Reid's Orchard & Winery is worth visiting
If you go
Hours and events: The winery is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m. Live music can be heard on the outdoor patio that overlooks apple trees and grapevines, with the South Mountain providing a beautiful backdrop. It's a great place to relax with a glass of wine or fruit sangria.
The Cider House is open Sunday through Wednesday from noon until 6 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon until 10 p.m. It features wines and five different hard ciders available to taste and purchase.
Feature wine: There are quite a lot of varieties at Reid's Orchards and Winery. My wife and I enjoyed most of what we sampled, although dry wines aren't typically to our taste.
The Pinot Grigio was surprising. The Troika is a vineyard special blend of merlot, shiraz and cabernet franc and didn't feel as dry as those grapes would suggest.
For our visit, I am featuring the Tillie Pierce House Red, named for the 15-year-old Gettysburg girl who assisted the doctors and nurses in 1863 during the famed Civil War battle. The label has a portrait of Pierce on it, giving the bottle a historic quality.
The red is made of 50 percent pinot noir, and the rest is an American white blend of grapes. It's a sweet, though not overpowering, flavorful with an exceptionally smooth finish. For a winery that specializes in blending, they got it right on that one.
"As a wine maker, I am trying to make a great pinot noir, that's my goal," Reid said. "If we don't hit that mark, we make something like the Tilly Pierce and we blend it and say this is what we will make this time around."
Nestled among the rolling hills, mountains and apple orchards of Adams County are rows of grapevines, almost hidden from view.
Yet, at Reid's Orchard & Winery , the orchards and grapes coexist quite well. Produce and wine makes a perfect combination along Buchanan Valley Road in Ortanna.
Dave Reid purchased the farm in 1976 and developed the fields of now more than 100 acres, which produces products to sell at farmer's markets in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia.
Nearly 15 years ago, Reid planted his grapes with a vision in mind and in 2009 opened a tasting area in a wine production room at the farm.
"I wanted to have this as part of the business," he said. "I didn't know quite how to get there from here, but yes we were hoping to have a sales room and sell some wine, branch out into the hard cider sort of things."
Already successful at farming, Reid took his wife on a vacation to the wine-rich Finger Lakes in New York and learned how to fuel his passion while adding to his product line.
"We owed the farm and were interested in having a winery. We didn't expect to have something of this degree at that point," he said. "We just went up on vacation for a week, visited different wineries, saw how they operated, what their styles were and what the retail environment was."
Reid's Orchard currently lists 20 wines and several hard ciders at its winery and Cider House tasting room on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg.
Part of the vintner's niche is blending grapes to produce variety of flavors in dry, sweet, red, white or fruit wines. It's something he brought in from his decades of experience growing more than 130 varieties of apples.
"A lot of the varieties we have planted are specifically for particularly varieties," Reid said. "Zinfandel, cabernet. Those are dedicated to wine making. Other things like concord and niagara, seedless grapes, if we don't use them up at the market, we can divert them to wine making.
"As far as blending goes, I read a lot and see what the French do with cab franc, merlot and shiraz.
"The best wines are blended wines. They are not 100 percent anything. That's the bottom line, you take the best feature of different varieties and try to make a better product than a singular varieties."
In 2013, Reid hired his jack of all trades, Phil Keating, who left the banking industry in Philadelphia to do something he never envisioned, work on a farm. Keating does everything from managing the sales of produce at markets, to production of wines and ciders, to field work.
According to Keating, the farm itself and the ability to sell fruit at markets helps sustain the wine making operations.
"For us it's farming first and wine second. Without the farm and farmer's markets year round, there would actually be no winery," he said.
Grapes and other fruits that don't sell at the market can be used in wine making. The various types of grapes, including Italian varietals, have allowed for steady production of wines at Reid's Orchards & Winery.
"All the fruit wines we have here are pretty much what fruits didn't sell two years ago," Keating said. "It's in a constant loop. Nothing ever really goes to waste, unless it's moldy."
Two other excellent wineries are located not for from Reid's Orchards. The Adams County Winery and Hauser Estate Winery.
Of course, there is plenty to see and do, including the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the Museum of History, the Outlet Shoppes of Gettysburg and golf courses.
With more than two dozen hotels and many bed and breakfasts, there are plenty of places to stay around the Gettysburg area. Keeping with the wine and history theme, this list includes the Tillie Pierce House Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast.