About Tina Weyant
Tina Weyant, 58, started growing grapes with her husband, Jeff, more than 30 years ago as a hobby. They then began experimenting with making small batches of wine and opened The Winery at the Long Shot Farm in March 2019. She also continues her “day job” as executive director of the World Trade Center Harrisburg.
Weyant has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Penn State University and has done graduate work in international relations. She also earned an associates degree in enology and viticulture from Harrisburg Area Community College.
She and Jeff live in Lower Frankford Township. They have five children and eight grandchildren, all of whom contribute to the winery in some way.
Q: Tell us how The Winery at the Long Shot Farm came to be.
A: We’ve always made wine as a hobby, and once all of our kids left for college, we decided to buy a little farm and start a vineyard. We started the vineyard with the hopes of someday having a winery, and it took a while for the grapes to grow and for us to figure out how to make large batches of wine. We finally opened last March. We did receive one of the tourism grants to help speed us up and finish our tasting room.
Q: Cumberland County has seen a lot of growth in the craft beverage business, with several breweries and distilleries opening as well. What makes it a good place for such business?
A: For one thing they’re a very fast-growing county, and the county has a lot of diversity in everything, in interests. We’re bordering Harrisburg and there’s also very rural areas. We have a lot of agriculture but a lot of other industries also. In Carlisle, we have the Army War College, Dickinson College and Penn State Law, just a lot of different segments of the population. And we have a really good restaurant scene, catering to all these different interests, the college crowd vs. the professional crowd vs. the hometown crowd. We have the farmers markets, a lot of CSAs, Dickinson College has their own CSA farm. I think a community that is into that kind of local food scene also embraces the local brewery and winery scene. They’re more adventurous and interested in trying different things. Carlisle has always had a strong community like that.
Q: What resources are available to help Cumberland County businesses thrive?
A; There’s lots of different resources. At the local level, we have the CAEDC and chamber and downtown associations, all these groups. You network and learn from others. At the state level there’s things like small business development centers, and Cumberland County is covered by the Shippensburg University SBDC. For the more farming-related businesses, there’s the agriculture extension service. At the federal level you have the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and all of those have resources. For the ag sector right now, especially, there’s a big push to get value-added products rather than just quantity production. If you already grow a commodity and want to add value to it, like grapes to wine, apples to cider, grain to bread, milk to cheese, there are programs available to help with the marketing and packaging and things like that.
Q: What ingredient would you like to experiment with to make wine?
A: We are playing around with blending some fruit wines with grape wines, we have two of those already but we are experimenting with different combinations. Our vineyard is still growing so we are adding different grape varieties. As far as something crazy goes, we’re trying to make a pumpkin wine for Halloween. We bought pumpkins in fall and cut them all up, and they’re in the freezer right now, so we hope to thaw them out and ferment them and see what happens. No guarantees. You have to experiment and just play around, which is a lot of fun.