Winery adapts to offer music while social distancing

People enjoy the wine and the view during a Deck Night at Shade Mountain Winery & Vineyards during last year’s Annual Harvest Festival.

MIDDLEBURG — Let the music and the view and a glass of your favorite wine transport you from the stress of the day to a more relaxed place.

Shade Mountain Winery & Vineyards will host Music and Food in the Vines from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“We were very well known for our open deck nights on Friday nights,” said Jenny Nicola, manager at Shade Mountain Winery. “We kind of had to switch gears.”

Their deck offers a nice, intimate setting that just doesn’t work with pandemic social distancing, but with a little tweaking, they’ve found a happy solution.

“We’ve been putting our entertainment out in our parking area adjacent to our vineyard,” Nicola said. “Our patrons are up on the deck, able to enjoy the music down in the vineyard. It’s actually been working well.”

Moving the entertainment allowed for proper social distancing of tables and chairs on the deck. The winery hosted longtime local favorites Tim Latshaw and Kj Reimensnyder-Wagner last week and newcomer Mark Alexander, of Mifflinburg, the week before.

“It was great,” Nicola said of both events. “It was the first time Mark Alexander was here. He wowed the crowds. He played some great tunes.”

The Ryan Carter Trio, based in the Harrisburg area, will provide this Sunday’s entertainment, with John Xanthopoulos on the keyboard, Jason Ufema on drums and Ryan Carter doing vocals and guitar.

“One reason I think we go over so well is that we play such a wide variety of music … old and new,” Carter said. “We do everything from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran, to Kenny Rodgers, to Bon Jovi. A little country, classic rock, modern music. We try to touch on everything. We also do whatever we can to interact, and involve the audience in our performances. Makes it so much more fun for everyone.”

The Ryan Carter Trio has been here before,” Nicola said. “He’s a crowd favorite too.”

Food will be provided by Real Taste (Mexican) Food Truck offering an assortment of dishes that can be consumed on-site or for takeout.

Limited seating capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions makes it necessary for patrons to reserve seating in advance. Tables are available for two-hour time slots, from noon to 2 p.m. and then again from 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., which allows time to clean and sanitize tables per CDC guidelines.

The band will take advantage of that interim time for a quick break before continuing with their performance.

“We also have more of a laid back, acoustic vibe, which works well in an intimate atmosphere,” Carter said, adding with a laugh, “You won’t have to shout across the table if you’re talking to your friend. We are very conscious of our volume.”

Music and Food in the Vines is dependent on the weather. In the event of rain or storms, Shade Mountain will have to cancel. Watch Facebook for updates.

Shade Mountain does not charge an admission fee for their deck performances but, of course, wine will be available by the glass, in chilled bottles, or as slushies, Nicola said. This month’s flavors are Moscato Margarita and Blueberry Blast. And though social distancing prevents traditional wine sampling at the bar, wine is available in flights of five samples for $10.

“Times now are stressful, with the pandemic,” Nicola said. “We offer a beautiful, picturesque view in a place where you can gather with friends, sip on some wine and support local artists and businesses. It’s just a nice, relaxing thing to do.”

For reservations, please call 570-837-3644.

Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at

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