It’s a grapey summer
MONTGOMERY – With a passion for grapes and a love for wine and friends to support them, Ken and Tina Day thought it only befitting to start their own winery. Since they already own 33 acres in Clinton Township, they realized they could grow their own grapes. Facing the river in a very bucolic setting, the Days devoted about 8 to 9 acres of their property to plant a variety of grapes so they could produce a series of both reds and whites to please many palates. They started their venture 5 years ago with a Baco Noir grape and a Delaware grape. “The crop grew really nice,” said Tina, “and so the following year, we planted more varieties.”
They added the Cayuga and Niagra grapes. “We like to make our own blends too. This is the fun part,” she added. With popular names like “Beachbum” and “Redsky”, a wine lover can enjoy a great tasting blend of flavor. The “Redsky” blends the red and white grape paired with a fresh picked aroma of raspberry and vanilla to fill the senses. Both Ken and Tina expressed that they like to experiment with the different grapes to come up with a unique taste.
Looking over the vast array of grape vines, it doesn’t take long to realize the amount of work that goes into producing wine. “Everything is done on site,” announced the Days. “It is nice to drink wine with friends and this is what incorporated the concept of the name, Four Friends Winery,” Tina added. Friends help them with the bottling and the harvest.
They encourage friends and families to come to the winery to drink the wine and enjoy the view. “We started a picture wall,” said Tina as she pointed to a wall filled with people enjoying themselves at the winery. “We like to take their picture and display it on our Four Friends Wall which is getting quite full.” They sell their wine by the glass or the bottle and offer cheese and bread boards to accompany the wine for an extra fee.
The grapes were harvested last Wednesday, as it has been a good year for them according to the couple. “Each year we produce a higher yield,” they said. They expect another smaller harvest later this month. Twelve varieties were harvested this year. This year the weather conditions produced a sweet popular grape.
Not only did the couple come up with 12 different varieties of wine, they also added their own labels. Getting much inspiration from places they visited, they used their own photographs and named the wines to coordinate with the labels. For example their ‘Summer Sun’ which is a sweet red depicts a summer scene and the ‘Whale Tail White’ has a cool, refreshing taste “like the splash from a Whales tail.”
They planted a Chardonnay grape (a grafted vine) last year for a future crop. Currently they produce a Riesling, their driest white with a citrusy lime finish.
Most of their wine is available through their retail store located on the premises. However, they hope to sell to some restaurants in the area. The Watson Inn is currently serving their wine and they participated in Sullivan County’s Tasteful Event held last month. Production increases each year as the grapes become more mature. “It takes about 5 or 6 years for the vines to produce a good grape, so we are now starting to produce more wine this year,” said Ken who is also an electrical contractor for the past 17 years. “We are still small. No employees yet, but our two daughters help too,” they said. The family is planning a fall foliage festival at the winery. Recently they held an open house to introduce their 12 varieties of wine to the public. Beachbum won best of show at the Lycoming County Fair and it is one of their best sellers.
They also sell locally made jewelry from artisans and embroidered canvas wine carriers made by Equinox.
Tina Day grew up in Montgomery. She is the daughter of Bill and Linda Trutt.