December 2016 Issue of Wines & Vines
 
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New Jersey's New Wine Barn

Terhune Orchards winery officially opens new wine-production facility

 
by Linda Jones McKee
 
 
wine vineyard grape Terhune Orchard New Jersey barn
 
Terhune Orchards opened a winery and tasting room Dec. 10 outside Princeton, N.J.
Princeton, N.J.—Terhune Orchards grows 34 kinds of you-pick vegetables and fruit, so adding another two products and a production facility shouldn’t be a big deal. But when one of the new products is grapes, it isn’t just a matter of dropping seeds in the ground each spring. And adding a winery brings in another layer of complexity.

Gary and Pam Mount bought the farm outside Princeton, N.J., that became Terhune Orchards in 1975, and they decided to add grapes to their product mix in 2006. They planted 4.5 acres to 12 varieties of grapes and made their first wine in 2010. The next year the Mounts began to plan a new facility to house both wine production and a tasting room.

After five years of regulatory and construction hassles, delays and problems, the new Terhune “wine barn” officially opened Dec. 10. Three generations of the Mount family and David Maffei, mayor of Lawrence Township, were on hand to welcome visitors. The Mounts’ daughter, Reuwai Hanewald, is winemaker (along with her dad), and Tannwen Mount handles public relations and marketing.

Gary Mount said that with both daughters now working full-time in the business, there are more mouths to feed, and wine sales and events can help boost revenues. (Their daughters’ husbands help out in the vineyard and winery, and Gary and Pam Mounts’ six grandchildren are learning about viticulture and winemaking by growing up in the business.)

“The new building can be used for a lot of functions,” Gary Mount said. “We have a lot of plans for hospitality events—corporate events, requests by individuals for parties (but we’re not doing weddings). Because the building has both heat and air conditioning, we’ll be able to use it in the summer for Friday night events when it’s too hot outside.”

Local Amish contractors built the 3,500-square-foot building with beams and ceilings high enough to accommodate 11 Albrigi jacketed tanks in a variety of sizes. The eight-spout Borelli bottling line is at one end of the large room in front of big picture windows that allow passersby to watch what’s happening inside the winery on their way to the other barns and the farm stand. Overhead under the beams, hoses on two large reels can deliver 180° F water anywhere it is needed in the production area. A second room is a refrigerated storage area that can be used for case goods or to store wine in plastic totes. The utilities for the building and more storage space are on the second floor of the wine barn.

One more project remains to be completed on the wine barn: the addition of solar panels. The new array will supply enough power for the wine barn and some of the other farm buildings as well. Installation is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2016.

The construction of the wine barn had more than the usual number of challenges. Mount told Wines & Vines, “In 2011 I went for the permit and was told that you couldn’t have wineries in the township because wine would catch fire! We worked that out and got a variance so that we could have a winery if we put in a robust fire alarm system. Then we had problems with wastewater and had to develop a nutrient-management plan.” While Terhune Orchards already had a system for handling wash water from its apple cider facility, the Mounts finally put in a system to use the wastewater from both the cider and winemaking buildings to irrigate their crops.

The Mounts have several advantages over other wineries just opening their wine-production facilities. While the original farm grew apples, peaches and pears on 53 acres, Terhune Orchards has grown to include four farms with more than 200 acres. Consequently, they have a permanent staff that is available to prune or spray or pick grapes, when appropriate. And as a “you-pick” farm and farm stand with events year-round, they already have more than 500,000 visitors per year.

Gary Mount is already thinking about the next project for the Terhune Winery. The building beside the wine barn is currently a repair shop, and Mount says that at some point, the winery will probably expand into that space.

 
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