Annie "Mom" Kennel was frugal.
Born in 1880, and having lived through the Great Depression, she was known for making her own clothes and mending tattered dish cloths.
Her frugality extended into every area of her life except one - cooking.
It was a recipe in Mom's hand-written cookbook that inspired her grandson Larry Kennel's best-selling creation, Mom Kennel's Blackberry Wine, the first in the Heritage Collection at his Mount Joy winery, The Vineyard at Grandview.
"(Mom) fortified her wine with brandy," the younger Kennel says. "And one of the things stated in her cookbook was 'do not use inferior brandy'."
"I took from that that she wanted to make a good product."
There's no brandy in her grandson's recipe. Kennel's blackberry wine is made from 100 percent blackberry juice. But to honor his grandmother's penchant to quality, he imports a specialty blackberry juice from the Pacific Northwest and adds a touch of sugar to soften the berry's tartness.
The juice is pumped into a tank and wine yeast is added. After a one- to two-week fermentation, the plant materials and yeast are allowed to settle out and the wine is "racked" (siphoned) off the top. Finally, the sugar is added and the wine is filtered and bottled.
Even though this wine is fairly sweet up front, it finishes cleanly, making it equally popular among sweet and dry wine fans, Kennel says.
With deep red and purple hues, one would expect this wine to be much heavier than it is. But like Mom Kennel, this wine has two sides to it: A fruit-forward brightness plus a delicate undertone - suitable to complement a picnic at the lake or as an after-dinner treat on the porch.
Rich berry flavor is the standout, but a subtle acidity nicely balances the sweetness and prevents this wine from being flat and syrup-y.
Kennel hopes to grow his Heritage Collection in the next few years to include other wines honoring his family. Quick to point out he has no official plans, he casually mentioned a black cherry tree in his grandfather's backyard and ancestors who hailed from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France (famous for its Riesling grapes).
The Vineyard at Grandview is owned by Larry and his wife, Marilyn. Their two daughters, Fran Kratz and Sarah Haines, are intimately involved with the business, as are their husbands, Steve Kratz and Scott Haines.
The Kennels planted their first vines in 2009, and the wines they are selling now are from grapes harvested in 2011. Currently, the Vineyard at Grandview offers seven wines for tasting. Their tasting room opened in April and an outdoor deck will open this month.
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