Harrison Thorp photos
Richard and Anita Carle are enjoying their third year of making wine at their Orrills Hill Road vineyards
At left, Richard Carle stands inside the deer fence overlooking his vineyards on Sunday. Below left, grapes begin to turn, a process known as verasian. Below right, edelwiess grapes on the left, elvira grapes on right.
posted 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8
by Harrison Thorp
Richard Carle is a cabinet maker. He’s used to building cabinets.
Anita Carle is a longtime kindergarten teacher at Hanson School in Lebanon. She’s used to building young minds.
Together the couple are trying to build something new: a world-class winery right here in Lebanon.
Prospect Hill Winery isn’t in the black yet, Richard Carle admits, “but at least if we need a bottle of wine, we know where to get one.”
It’s not all about the money. It’s about the passion in their pursuit of wine perfection, and pride in what the two have accomplished in just three years of operation.
The Carles will harvest the majority of this year’s crop culled from two acres of vineyards on a single day this fall, but the care of those vineyards is a year-round affair.
They have to be cut back, trimmed, kept weedless and watered. The deer fence that surrounds much of their crop has to be maintained. A mechanical bird-caller that blasts a variety of bird distress calls meant to keep away feeding birds and animals pierces the bucolic quiet of their 200-year-old Cape and environs every 15 minutes during daylight hours. “There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” Richard Carle says.
On this Sunday he shows off his vineyards pointing out the peculiarities of each of the 14 variety of grapes they cultivate. Some are bunched tightly, some loosely; others are already turning, a process known as “verasian” in the wine world.
The 14 varieties of grapes are used in the making of 15 different wines.
And they’re all made in a small shed outfitted with a destemmer, presser, carboys (huge glass containers for distilling wine) and other equipment just steps from their house.
This has been a good year for grapes, Richard Carle says. “Some of these vines have roots that reach eight-feet deep. They like it dry, you want to stress them, so the flavor is packed tightly. If it’s too wet, the grape is too big and too full of juice and not as flavorful.”
All of the Carles’ wines are dry to the taste. And unlike many handcrafted wines made across New Hampshire and Maine, they are all made exclusively with grapes grown at the home vineyard.
“A lot of local winemakers – even the small ones like us – use grapes from other parts of the country like California (to supplement their crop),” says Richard Carle. “We don’t, everything we bottle here is grown here.
“That’s the way it should be. Would you come to Maine to buy a California lobster?”
The Carles are now selling about 1,500 bottles a year. “We may go in the black for the first time this year,” Richard Carle says.
And just how good are the wines at Prospect Hill Winery? “We think they’re among the best wines anywhere, in the world,” he says.
If you go: Prospect Hill Winery is open for tastings and sales every Sunday from 1-5 until mid-December. “Some people want to tour the vineyards and ask a lot of questions about the grapes,” Anita Carle says. “Others just want to go straight to the tasting.”
The Carles don’t charge for the tastings like some vineyards.
All of their varieties sell for $12 a bottle.
My favorites: Sunset Red and Prospect Hill White.
- First the grapes go into the destemmer.
- Then into the presser to remove seeds and skin, then into fermentation container.
- Add sulfites, which sterilize the juice.
- Add sugar and yeast. You want to get the right amount of sugar to distill it to about 10 percent alcohol. The yeast eats away the sugar. (There’s no sugar in the finished wine.)
- Then the juice goes into the carboys to ferment and age.
- After three months it is bottled and aged at least another three months.
- First the grapes go into the destemmer.
- Then into container with the seeds and skin (called must). - Add sulfites, sugar, yeast.
- Get the alcohol right and it’s ready for the presser to
remove seeds and skin.
- Then it goes into a container into which wood chips are mixed to give it a slight woodsy taste, then aged for six months.
- After six months it’s bottled to age at least another six months.
For the Carles, wine making
is a passion; a profit, would be nice, too
posted 7 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11
The rare but sometimes fatal mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis virus has been attributed to the death of 30 pheasants at a Lebanon pheasant farm, prompting state and town officials to warn residents of its dangers.
The announcement was made by Doctor Stephen Sears, the State of Maine epidemiologist from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.
Sears did not disclose the location of the farm.
Triple-E can also cause disease in horses and captive birds such as the emu, ostriches, quail and ducks. Triple-E infection and disease can occasionally occur in other livestock, deer, dogs, other mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
This is not the first time that eastern equine encephalitis has been found in animals in Lebanon, but is the first for this year. It has also been reported in the past few years. Triple-E has never been reported in a Maine resident to date. However, in 2008 there was a fatal case of Triple-E diagnosed in a Massachusetts resident who may have acquired the infection while vacationing in Cumberland County.
die of triple-E
30 pheasants kept on farm perish of mosquito-borne illness
Several years ago, Lebanon schools were closed for a day when a horse near the school died of triple-E.
Selectmen said in a statement on Monday, “There is no need for alarm, we simply want to ensure the residents have the information that we have been provided so they can make the appropriate safety measures.”
Selectman Jason Cole announced that for those who cannot afford the repellant DEET, widely effective as a mosquito repellant, he has purchased a large supply to help ensure residents who want some can have access to it.
Residents can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (207) 608-5615 to get a bottle while supplies last.
At this time the state is not recommending spraying for the mosquitos, the town release stated.
People over 50, under
16 most at risk for EEE
posted 11:45 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11
About a third of the people who display distinct symptoms of eastern equine encephalitis will develop its acutest form, in which inflammation of the brain occurs, and for about a third of them, the disease is fatal, said Maine epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears today.
And even though the virus only presents symptoms in about four to five percent of infections, according to the CDC, health officials are deeply concerned about the threat of triple-E.
“There’s no question that we’re more concerned with triple-E (than West Nile),” Sears said today. “It’s a higher degree of mortality.”
The most susceptible to triple-E include humans, horses and game birds, which is why the death of 30 pheasants in Lebanon attributed to triple-E got state health officials’ attention.
Sears said the location of the private farm on which the pheasants were kept will not be disclosed, but the important thing to note is that mosquitoes can travel several miles during their life span, so everyone should be concerned and take precautions.
He said cool temperatures dipping into the 30s last night in Lebanon are helpful to slowing down mosquito activity, but a couple of hard frosts are needed to really corral the infection risk.
A slight warming trend is expected for Lebanon, York County and Seacoast New Hampshire for the remainder of the week.
Sears said we likely won’t be out of the woods until the end of the month.
In humans, the most at risk for developing the acutest form of triple-E include adults over 50 and children under 15, he added.
He said while the original news release seemed to indicate that all of the pheasant infected died of the disease, the figure was closer to a half. He said some of the flock will peck and bother infected birds, so that not all the deaths at the Lebanon farm were caused by the virus.
Earlier this month a man from Vermont died from triple-E, and another man from the state is hospitalized. There have also been several human infections of triple-E in Massachusetts this summer, but not have proved fatal.
While West Nile Virus is a relatively new mosquito-borne disease - first detected in the United States in 1999 - triple-E has been around for about a century. There are no human vaccines for either West Nile Virus or triple-E.
Meanwhile, Interim MSAD 60 Schools Superintendent Jim Ashe said school district officials are monitoriing developments and if it's found to be an emergency situation, "we will take action." He added that might be more aggresive spraying with insecticides near Lebanon schools.
Earlier this month a nontoxic spray was used to address West Nile concerns after a mosquito recovered from a test trap tested positive for the disease.
Harrison Thorp photos
Jason Mowry, right, of Acton and his lawyer, Darren Locke, appear before York County Superior Court Judge John O'Neil on Wednesday during a plea hearing in Alfred.
Victim's statement puts
plea bargain on hold
posted 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12
ALFRED - An emotional victim’s statement by the man injured in a beating outside Trains Tavern in January prompted a delay in a plea agreement worked out for an Acton man who took part in the assault so the judge in the case can personally review a videotape of the incident.
Jason Mowry, 33, of Acton pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and was about to accept a one-year probation period during which time he would be subject to an automatic year in prison if specific conditions were violated.
Before the agreement was to be officially approved by the court, however, Jason Moreland, 45, of Berwick, called the plea deal, “a slap on the wrist” for all the pain he has suffered.
“I don’t agree with what’s happening,” Moreland said. “He trashed my life, with my kids, my work. I’ve had two surgeries trying to get my face fixed.
“I have no front teeth, no back teeth, I have plates, screws, headaches.”
Mowry, along with Gilbert Perez, of Acton, are both suspects in the beating that occurred the night of Jan. 27 outside Trains Tavern on Route 202 in Lebanon.
Perez, who was arrested shortly after the incident, is serving a one to three-year sentence in a New Hampshire prison in connection with a police chase in Milton last year that resulted in a crash in which former Milton Police Officer Andy Crone was seriously injured.
Mowry voluntarily surrendered to police about a week after the Trains incident.
Much of the altercation is on surveillance videotape recorded on cameras installed in and around the tavern, but York County District Attorney Kent Avery said the evidentiary value of the videotape is dubious and that the state would have “problems prosecuting an aggravated assault (charge).”
At an earlier bail hearing it was revealed that Perez was the suspect who kicked Moreland when he was lying on the ground defenseless.
York Superior Court Judge John O’Neil continued the case until next week so he could view the videotape himself before finalizing the plea agreement with Mowry.
Under the negotiated plea agreement, Mowry, among other stipulations, could have no contact with the victim and also would make payments on some $7,500 in restitution.
Mowry would also have to pay about $800 in fines.
Perez is scheduled to be arraigned on his charges in the incident later this month.
Jason Mowry sits in the courtroom awaiting his plea hearing on Wednesday.
Jason Moreland, left, of Berwick addresses the court during a victim's statement on Wednesday. It was Moreland's first public comments on the incident at Trains Tavern in which he was severely injured.
posted 9:15 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 20
In case you hadn’t noticed, Noble High School football is back.
Tomorrow night, the Knights could win their third game of the season, and if they do, they will have won more games than they had any of the last three years.
And it’s Homecoming, the perfect time for Lebanon as well as Berwick and North Berwick folk to show their community spirit and support these student-athletes who give it their all week in and week out.
No million dollar prima donnas like in the pros, no recruiting violations like in college. This is purist football.
The hitting is crisp, the play calling is dynamic and yes, there are some exciting players to watch. Players like hard running tailback Derek Schute, playmaker quarterback Ethan Beaulier, and an exciting tight end, David Thibeau.
They're all seniors and returners and playing inspiring defense as well for head coach Tom Daubney, who years ago coached successfully at Portsmouth High School.
You’ll see trick plays, misdirection and other innovative play calling.
The Knight defense is outstanding, too. They’ve given up the third fewest points of any team in the state in Class A thus far this season.
Overall, they’re ranked fifth in Class A high school football. Figures weren’t readily available, but one could hazard a guess it’s been a long time indeed since they were ranked so high.
Noble officials are hoping for a big fan turnout.
“We’d love to have a lot of people come out,” said Blair Marelli, a first-year athletic director at Noble High. “It’d be great.”
Besides the game against Biddeford, there will be a halftime parade with floats, and cheerleaders will perform a halftime show. The highlight of halftime will be the crowning of the Homecoming court.
Friday Homecoming sees
Knights on playoff crusade
In addition the Class of 1972 is having its reunion to coincide with Homecoming. About 60 from the class will be in attendance.
The Knights football squad has surprised many this young season, beating Gorham in a blowout and shutting out Sanford. Their only loss was to powerhouse Windham.
The game starts at 7 p.m., but get there early to get a good seat and soak up the atmosphere. The cost is $4 for adults and $2 for students.
This year is a special year for Noble football. There’s hopes for the playoffs. It’s been a while since we’ve whispered such words.
Come out and shout them tomorrow night.
GUILTY: Bus driver
may get 160 years
posted 7 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12
Former town resident John Allen Wright pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to sexual exploitation of children.
The guilty plea for all intents and purposes ends the prosecution of the case as Wright now faces up to 160 years in prison at his December sentencing.
Wright, 46, who formerly resided at 52A Charles St., admitted to six counts of child sex abuse in connection with three assaults against disabled students when he worked as a bus driver in Milton-area towns.
Wright was working for The Provider bus company at the time of his arrest a year ago.
The announcement was made in a press release by John Kacavas, U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire.
Tom Velardi of the Strafford County Attorney’s Office had said on Friday he had a status review on the case scheduled with federal prosecutors for October when he would decide if the county would continue its own prosecution in the case. At the time, he had said if Wright’s sentence was stiff enough the state would likely discontinue the case.
Wright was indicted in Oct. 2011.
Wright’s sentencing is set for Dec. 20. He will remain in custody until sentencing.
Updated 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18
More than $14,000 was raised Sunday during a bike run to benefit Milton Police Officer Marc Cilley, who is battling cancer.
Milton Police Chief Mark McGowan said some 200 motorcycles took part in the event, which started at the Lee Safety Complex around 10 a.m. The cavalcade then made their run through Rochester, Dover and Madbury before returning to the Lee Safety Complex for a fund-raising barbecue.
“Everything went great,” said McGowan on Monday. “The weather was beautiful for the ride.”
T-shirts commemorating the event will be on sale at the Milton Police Department later this week for $20 apiece.
Cilley was diagnosed recently with stage two testicular cancer, has already undergone one surgery and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
He has been an officer with the Milton Police since 2009. He is married, has one 4-year-old son and another child on the way.
Milton Officer Marc Cilley
...fund-raiser a major success
Brothers in Blue come out in force
to aid Milton Officer battling cancer
From left, Sgt. Thomas Dronsfield of the Lee Police Department, fund-raiser auctioneer Wayne Chaloux, and from the Milton Police Department, Officer Melissa Curtin, Chief Mark McGowan, Officer Andrew Magargee and Cpl. Evan Favorite present a check to Marc Cilley, right, at the conclusion of his fund-raiser on Sunday.
Bikes and riders congregate at the Lee Safety Complex for the ride on Sunday. Some 200 bikes made the trek to benefit Milton Police Officer Marc Cilley.
speed played role
Updated 10 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18
Excessive speed and alcohol played a role in a fatal motor vehicle accident on Sunday that claimed the lives of two Lebanon natives.
James Ham and Bill Barker, who both grew up in Lebanon and were lifelong friends, died early Sunday morning when the pickup they were driving in slammed into a stone wall and trees at the intersection of Center and Upper Cross roads in Lebanon.
James Ham was 54, had two grown children and loved to hunt, fish and play with his grandchildren, his wife, Peggy Ham, said on Monday.
He also loved riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
He had been employed at Pratt & Whitney, and earlier in his career had worked at Spaulding Fiber and Converse.
“He was a great guy,” Peggy Ham said. “He loved Lebanon.”
Barker, who had lived in Somersworth, and Ham were lifelong buddies, Peggy Ham said. Barker was 44.
Both men grew up in Lebanon and attended MSAD 60 schools.
Ham, who lived on Upper Guinea Road and was just a short distance from home, was the driver.
"He knew those roads like the back of his hand," Peggy Ham said. Barker died on impact, Ham a few hours later at Maine Medical Center in Portland after being Lifeflighted.
The vehicle they were driving in has been identified as a green 2000 Chevrolet 4x4 pickup.
The impact of the crash knocked boulders from a stone wall some 50 feet. There didn’t appear to be any skid marks.
“We heard a crash, very loud. It sounded like a shotgun,” said Conway Cone, who owns the property where the truck crashed. Conway’s wife, Danielle, who was the first person out to check on the crash, said the driver was conscious when she first arrived.
From the sound of the impact and wreckage that occurred, Cone estimated the truck was moving at a very high rate of speed,
Meanwhile, Major Bill King of the York County Sheriff's Office confirmed today that alcohol and speed were factors in the deadly crash.
James Ham and Bill Barker were lifelong friends; Barker memorial set for Friday
A makeshift shrine at the site of a weekend crash that claimed the lives of two Lebanon natives who died when the truck they were riding in crashed into a stone wall and trees at the intersection of Center and Upper Cross roads.
Must be a 'smart' bus
Runaway vehicle avoids kids, parents,
teachers, crashes harmlessly into tree
posted 1:45 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19
A unattended school bus at Milton Elementary School somehow malfunctioned today, losing its brakes and coasting across School Street into a tree.
The incident occurred at 8:22 this morning as buses and parents were dropping off children for classes.
The driver of the bus had been out of the vehicle for a few minutes,” according to Milton Police Chief Mark McGowan.
State Police are now inspecting the vehicle to try to
determine what went wrong, McGowan added.
SAU #64 Superintendent Jay McIntire said the front end of the bus sustained what seemed minor damage.
Fortunately, despite the heavy foot and vehicle traffic outside the school at the time of the incident, no one was injured.
The bus was parked at the lower end of the school parking lot, so it didn’t have much time to gather speed before it struck a tree, McIntire said today.