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Naylor Wine Cellars
by
K. L.Sullivan

On a warm June day, we visited Naylor Wine Cellars near York, Pennsylvania. Naylor Wine Cellars is one of the four Pennsylvania wineries that participate in the organized Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.

We met Dick Naylor in the tasting room, which is part of the winery building built in 1983. A framed quote is in the tasting room; said at the time of the dedication of the building, “A pioneer needs not to reach his ultimate goal ... He needs only to know he’s going in the right direction... So dear Lord, please no more rain on my Vignoles." Be sure to take a look at the hand painted glassware and lovely candles in stemware. Also available are shirts with wine sayings. This winery has the largest supply of home winemaker materials we have yet to see in a winery tasting room.

At the time of our visit, the winery was very busy with bottling. However, Dick took the time to talk to us about his passion for winemaking and the development of the winery. In 1959, Dick, at that time in sales, took clients and their wives to dinner. After dinner, one of his clients invited him to his home to taste homemade wines. Dick was impressed and decided he would like to produce wines. He traveled to Cockeysville, Maryland for winemaking supplies. Back home, he made his first dandelion wine followed by strawberry, cherry, apple and peach wines. Soon he discovered that wine made from grapes was as good as wine made from other fruits.

By 1978, Dick produced 1600 gallons from the 1977 vintage. Today Dick produces between 20,000 – 22,000 gallons. Prior to 1981, Dick used an apple press to press his grapes. He related how he would take his grapes to a friend’s wine press and press at night so that his friend was able to press apples during the day. Dick bought his first press in 1981.

The terroir in this location of Pennsylvania and ten miles into Maryland may be the best grape growing area east of the Rockies. In 32 years of growing grapes, Dick said he had no freeze damage in the spring or in the fall. The hill and southeast slope allows water and cold air to run off. The soil runs deep to 130 plus feet before hitting rock. This gives the grapevines plenty of room to grow.

A visit by the Pennsylvania State Secretary of Agriculture was mentioned. Dick asked, “What is the most important agricultural crop in the world?” The Secretary paused for a moment and said, “Rice.” Rice is able to fill millions of people’s stomachs around the world. Dick's response was, “I respectfully disagree,” and he went on to quote two references in the Bible that show the importance of grapes.

Dick is proud of his double gold awards for ice wine. This success with ice wines continued until Canada passed laws stating that in order to make ice wine, grapes needed to be on the vines for 48 hours while the temperatures were below freezing. The United States followed with a similar law. Dick still wins double golds for a wine he can't call ice wine.



There is a collection of unique wine bottles in the tasting room. Dick showed us some of these bottles. One is a two-chamber bottle that holds wine on one side and water on the other. This bottle is from Austria. It has a cap on the top. Children would drink the combination of water and wine from this bottle until they were old enough to drink undiluted wine.

Another interesting bottle had a small alligator inside it. It was a bottle of Ha Kai Chiew from China. The alligator looked perfectly preserved. No one had an interest in drinking the wine.

 

At Naylor Wine Cellars, visitors can taste a number of fine wines. We tried Intimacy, Red Raspberry, Niagara, Summertime Red, Pinot Noir and Naylor Grand Reserve. Intimacy is produced in an ice wine style using Vignoles grapes. Red Raspberry wine won both the Governor’s Cup and the Keystone Cup for Best of Show 2007. The Red Raspberry has a very raspberry nose and taste and is tart on the finish. Pinot Noir had a deep dark color with a fruit and acid balance. Niagara is one of Naylor’s biggest sellers and may well remind you of the old native grapes. Summertime Red is Chambourcin, which is soft, acidic and fruity. Naylor Grand Reserve is Chambourcin with Cabernet Sauvignon added, a fine blend.

Summer Sounds is an important series of events on summer Saturdays or Fridays through the third week of September. These events are 16 – 22 piece bands, with 400 - 900 people at the events. The events take place underneath a tree-filled area with tables and a large deck overlooking vineyards.

Not only is Dick vineyard manager and owner, he is a writer, a designer and manufacturer. Dick is a prolific writer with a file of various writings including his opinions on two parent families, television and building bridges with everyone including God. His writings are about real issues and provide down-to-earth comments. If you have a chance to read his writings, I encourage you to do so. Perhaps one day he will have these important, random writings published in a collection.

Dick realized that there needed to be a better way to protect bottled wines when carrying them or sending them. He spent time designing a unique two-bottle cardboard container and another one that holds and protects three bottles of wine. He manufactures and sells these containers. Dick demonstrated for us how these pieces of specially cut cardboard fold and cradle wine bottles. Other businesses and consumers purchase these cardboard wine cradle boxes. Wineries buy these boxes from as far away as California. Other sizes are available for those who need to ship glass bottles other than wine bottles.

We enjoyed our visit with Dick. He has a phenomenal personality and it is obvious he likes what he does and cares about people. If you have the opportunity to visit Dick at his winery, be sure to ask about his writings. You may very well find yourself nodding in agreement with his sentiments.

 

Naylor Wine Cellars
Stewartstown, Pennsylvania

GPS: N 39° 47.200' W076° 36.179'



 

          

 
 

 


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