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Borderland Vineyard
by
Kathy Sullivan

Borderland VineyardSummary: Borderland Vineyard is a young and up and coming winery located on a farm that was purchased by the owner’s family in the mid 1940s. Today the farm is entrusted to the Natural Lands Trust.

Borderland Vineyard in Pennsylvania is located close to the Maryland and Delaware state lines. According to owner and vineyardist, Kurt Kalb, the Borderland name reflects three concepts. The first is the closeness of the three states. The second idea is a geographical term used for the development of the United States when the lands beyond were unknown territory. The third was the meaning of borderland as the distance between sanity and insanity, a concept that many winemakers and wine growers have thought about in their winemaking journeys.

Borderland Tasting Room

Borderland VineyardThe tasting room is small with a short counter with seating. The atmosphere is relaxing. Note the three-dimensional framed display with miniature wine bottles, wine rack and other wine related items.

Next to the tasting room, another area offers two long tables with chairs for larger groups and small events. The room’s simple decor offers a relaxing atmosphere. We noticed that the floor is composed of small rocks, so we suggest comfortable footwear. However, the rocks add to the simplistic atmosphere and seems to emphasize the countryside experience.

History

Kurt who had grown up on the property had a career focused on archeology and worked in the area of environmental protection. He noted, that the wine journey is “A business that you don’t go into if you lack optimism.”

Borderland VineyardBorderland Vineyard received its license in August 2015. The vineyard was started in 2008 by Kurt and his sister, Karen, with the intention of keeping the farm in the family. Kurt noted that he “wanted to preserve the farm.” He didn’t want to “see houses on this property where I grew up.” While he was growing up, sheep grazed the slopes. The farm also had numerous other farm animals including chickens and geese. With a smile, Kurt recalled a visitor who arrived at the winery and was soon cuddling a chicken. While speaking with Kurt, he noted that the community is supportive of the vineyard.

Today the farm is conserved through the Natural Lands Trust. Kurt has the right to farm 25 acres of the land. As we walked toward the vineyards, Kurt pointed out the area of the property covered with trees, saying that beyond the trees was a stream, and while he was growing up, the area was clear of trees. Today that area looks as if it had always been heavily covered with trees.

Kurt’s Wine Journey

Kurt’s wine palate began with wines from California. In the beginning he was inspired by Robert Parker’s wine reviews. Later he developed his own palate. During subsequent years he conducted research and found that grapes could be grown in southeastern Pennsylvania. Kurt believes that this region of Pennsylvania is one of the best in the state for growing wine grapes. The desire to keep the farm in the family for generations fostered the idea of growing grapes and eventually becoming a winery.

Karen, who unfortunately passed away, was passionate about wine and worked hard to market the Borderland Vineyard wine. Kurt is passionate about the vineyards and keeping the farm for the future generations of family.

Borderland VineyardVineyard

Sheep are inherent to this farm land. Today Kurt uses 21 babydoll sheep to help maintain the vineyard. The vines are still young, so care must be used in carefully watching that the babydoll sheep do not enjoy the grapevines while grazing the weeds between the rows. Kurt knows that as the grapevines mature the short babydoll sheep will not be able to reach the leaves of the grapevines. Currently Kurt releases the sheep into the vineyard after harvest.

The vineyard consists of just under five acres of grapevines. Varieties include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Kurt noted that the varieties were chosen by his personal preference.

In the beginning, Borderland began sourcing fruit from local vineyards. At the time of our visit, the 2015 estate harvested grapes were still in tanks and barrels. The winemaker is Gabriel Rubilar who is also a winemaker at another local winery.

Borderland Vineyard Wines

Currently Borderland Vineyard wines are available at the vineyard tasting room and at area local restaurants. The winery is already seeing the support of loyal consumers.

Borderland VineyardThe wine labels are created by a Rochester, New York artist. She offers several artist creations that Kurt can choose from. Labels include scenic views from the farm and more modern renditions of the farm in the form of line drawings. Both types are delightful wine labels.

Chardonnay 2013 was an unoaked wine with a light yellow color. The wine offered notes of pear and some apple. The wine had a medium/full body. The finish was fruity. Chardonnay 2014 was also unoaked. This was a light yellow wine with notes of pear, apple and a hint of citrus. The wine was smooth with a medium/full body. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Merlot 2012 was a dark ruby color with notes of cherry and a hint of leather. The wine had medium tannins and a medium/full body. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to leather and spice. Reserve Merlot 2013 was a dark ruby color. The aroma and taste offered notes of leather, licorice and cherry. The wine was full-bodied. The fruity finish had notes of leather, licorice and spice on the aftertaste. The final wine we tasted was the Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. The wine offered notes of blackberries and leather. It had bold tannins and was full-bodied. The finish had some fruit which yielded to leather.

For a delightful opportunity to enjoy views of Pennsylvania’s countryside, vineyards and wines from a boutique winery be sure to consider a visit to Borderland Vineyards.

Borderland Vineyard
332 Indiantown Rd.
Landenberg, Pennsylvania 19350

GPS: N39º 44.725’ W75º 47.185’

 

Article written June 2016


 

          

 
 

 


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