Before Grandview Vineyard‘s Lancaster County tasting room welcomed wine-swirling patrons, it was home to cows. The erstwhile barn housed co-owner (and trained veterinarian) Larry Kennel’s bovine-centric business.
You’d never know it today. Six years ago, the family — Larry, wife Marilyn, their daughters Fran and Sarah, and the daughters’ husbands Steve and Scott — transformed the building into a modern winery and tasting room. They fortified the walls, installed new equipment, and created a bright, sunny space where visitors can enjoy their wines and the spectacular view (hence the name).
“There was no foundation — it was basically a pole barn,” recalls Larry. “We put up a three-foot concrete wall all the way around. We also raised the building so we had more room for tanks and that sort of thing.”
The most popular time to visit Grandview Vineyard is on Friday evenings when the winery hosts live music.
“Friday night is our big deal,” says Larry. “We have music on the deck in the summertime from about March through October, then the performances move inside. That brings in a tremendous number of local people — some come every week.”
Here are just a few of the things that make Grandview’s tasting room so special.
White Oak Floor
The floor of the tasting room is made from white oak, harvested from the 23-acre property. The custom walnut inlay and baseboards are also made from wood found on the family’s land. Installed with help from his son Reuben, the floor was a labor of love for Larry who has long dabbled in carpentry and woodworking.
“The wood here is much different than what you’d normally see in walnut trim,” he says. “It’s got a lot of curl and burl — an interesting character that you wouldn’t typically find in furniture-grade walnut.”
Larry specifically chose a light-colored wood for the bar so guests could “see the wines through the glass against the lighter wood.”
“I used a wood called ‘hackberry,'” he explains. “It’s really a junk wood, but I used it because of the color. The problem with hackberry is that it warps coming right off the saw. So we put it underneath the walnut as it was drying. Then we had it kiln dried. It was an interesting wood to work with.”
When Larry was planning the windows for the tasting room, he proposed simple waist-high openings around the space. Then his daughters stepped in.
“The girls said, ‘There has to be a big window at the end overlooking the vineyard,'” he recalls. “That’s a really major attraction in the tasting room.”
The Other View
Behind the tasting bar is another window. This one offers a peek into the winery itself, giving patrons a glimpse of the tanks and the barrels. In that way, Grandview’s tasting room offers a complete look at the winemaking process, from vines, to vintner equipment, to finished bottles, to tasting.
Walking from the tasting room out onto the deck is a “wow” moment. The 100-foot deck runs along the south side, providing stunning views of the vines, which include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Albariño, and Chardonnay. It’s also the site of live music performances on warm-weather evenings.
The Wedding Venue
While not technically part of the tasting room, some visitors to Grandview Vineyard are lucky enough to experience an outdoor wedding by the stream, followed by a reception in a converted farm building. They recently added another outbuilding to serve as a dressing room for brides and grooms and built a covered stage for outdoor concerts. The winery will host 25 weddings this year.
Plan your own visit to Grandview Vineyard: Visit their website for location, hours, and special events.
Get to know some of the other wineries, winemakers, and wine regions throughout the state: