Northern Cross Vineyard

wcbn-mr-43-3-northern-cross-vineyard2by Katie Navarra

Estate vineyards like Northern Cross in Easton, NY rely on neighboring growers, friends and family to help harvest the season’s crops. With nearly two acres planted, Northern Cross Vineyard, owned by Andrew and Kathleen Weber, is large enough to produce the volume of grapes needed to make wine, but small enough that mechanized harvest isn’t viable.

“It’s therapeutic and relaxing to be out here. It’s not hard work and there’s no bending over,” said Kelly Michel, a harvest volunteer who lives nearby. [Read more…]

Four Saints brews a community in Asheboro

wcbn-mr-49-3-four-saintsby Karl H. Kazaks

When Joel McClosky and Andrew Deming opened Four Saints Brewing last year, they had “a mission much greater than beer,” said McClosky.

“We want to proselytize about the positive aspects of Randolph County.”

Until just a few years ago, Randolph County – a rural part of central North Carolina – did not permit on-premise beverage alcohol consumption. The city of Asheboro, the county seat, was entirely dry. [Read more…]

Bottling more than just wine

wcbn-mr-bottling-more9788by Michael Wren

When making craft wines, spirits, or beer the first step is to make a product that is desirable. This will help to ensure repeat customers. However, just because you have a good product, getting them to be first time customers is a little trickier. Very few people go in to buy a bottle of wine, pick the first one they see and stick with it forever. Most people browse the wall of wine and look for something that catches their eye. Once they see a bottle that appeals to them they will inspect it further and read the label. [Read more…]

Learning from the United Kingdom cider makers

by Sally Colby

Although hard cider is still on the rise in the United States, it’s been a staple in the UK for a quite a while. And while growing apples is somewhat different in the UK than it is in the US, domestic cider makers can learn a lot from them.

“In the UK, 80 percent of apple cider growers are contracted,” said Carla Snyder, Penn State agriculture entrepreneurship and marketing educator. “They are either fresh market growers or cider apple growers. There isn’t a lot of growing for juice like we have here. The main difference is that they use mechanical harvest, which saves a lot of labor cost.” [Read more…]

Employee retention and motivation: How to retain good employees

wcbn-mr-30-1-employee-retentionby Michael Wren

As small family farms become larger and more profitable they begin to hire more and more employees to help with the extra work. However, many growers have never had multiple employees and find it hard to manage and retain them. Whether you employ five people or 500 people, managing them will be crucial to running your business. [Read more…]