SUNBURY — Only a couple of patrons had come to hear live music at Iron Vines Winery on Sunday afternoon, but it being Father's Day, staff and musicians did not seem too suprised. 

Live music returns in Sunbury

The duo Merely Players capped off the first weekend of live music at the Raspberry Avenue venue. Iron Vines opened the previous weekend, with the state restrictions such as masks, social distancing and sanitization in place, and it will maintain those practices until they are no longer required.

Owner and winemaker Dave Snyder opened the winery and wine bar in October but had to close in March due to the COVID-19 state shutdown of all non-essential businesses.

General Manager Jess Reichner said the reopening has been slow, though the business, which has seven employees, offered curbside takeouts and delivery during the shutdown and still does.

"We were closed exactly three months," she said. "We were fresh out of the gates, six months open."

Now that they are opened under Northumberland County's green status, they want customers to know the staff follows the guidelines, which also include frequent hand-washing.

"We do the best we can with these regulations," Reichner said. "We clean a lot. We keep the place extremely clean."

She said they cannot yet offer complimentary snacks such as crackers and peanuts, though Assistant Manager Kate Reichenbach said customers can bring their own.

Right now, no more than 40 people can be inside and customers coming in have to wear a mask, until they are sitting down, Reichenbach said.

"We're trying to limit groups to four or less, unless they are from the same household, then (we allow) up to 10," Reichner said.

Reichner said that once the restrictions are lifted, 88 patrons will be able to sit inside and 80 could sit on the patio outside.

Iron Vines also will offer more live entertainment and put out food, she said.

Live music returned on Friday night with Electric Orchard and on Saturday night with Tim Burns. 

Merely Players — vocalist Mackenzie Brouse and acoustic guitarist Jake Schmoyer — who have been together for two years, were playing their first live gig since emerging from the pandemic shutdown.

"We were doing concerts from our living room," said Brouse, 24, of Northumberland.

Schmoyer, 28, of Mount Carmel, described their music as "oldies to Top 40."

"We call it Top 40 from the past and present," Brouse added.

David Laudenslager, 26, who was sitting at a table when the duo wrapped up early, lives with Brouse.

"I follow the band," he said.

"I think he actually enjoys it," Brouse quipped.

"They've been doing recording at our house and livestreaming," Laudenslager said. "It's nice to be back out."

The Iron Vines staff is happy to be back open.

"We rent out the back room for parties," Reichner said. "On the days we're closed (Mondays and Tuesdays), you could rent out the whole building."

The business sells wine and select beers. Reichner said the spring wines are out and they have a spicy wine. 

"It's really good to cook with," said bartender Amanda Pollini.

Reichner is planning to introduce wine slushies into the mix. Iron Vines also will go to festivals. 

She said the winery imports its juice for winemaking from around the world — including California, Italy, South Africa, France and Chile — through a local wholesaler.

"It's a joyful place," Reichner said. 

Pollini added, "Nobody leaves here in a bad mood.

Iron Vines Winery is open from 2 to 8  p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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