strawberry gris shortcake recipe at fresh tracks farm, vermont

Strawberry Shortcake

Every year around the end of June, I keep my eyes open for signs of ripening strawberries. The growing season is short in Vermont, and the strawberries are only at their peak for a few short weeks. These ripe, red beauties are delicious in recipes from salads, to pies and everywhere in between.

This strawberry “gris” shortcake recipe is a winemaker’s twist on an old classic—using the delicate bouquet of our Frontenac Gris vintage to add a hint of sweetness and bring out the crisp berry flavors. And if you happen to be dairy-free, the strawberry-gris reduction sauce is delicious on its own. Enjoy!

Strawberry “Gris” Reduction


  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup Frontenac Gris wine
  • ½ cup sugar

The night before you plan to serve the strawberry shortcake, wash and stem one quart of strawberries, slicing them into quarters. Place the slices into a stainless steel bowl, and mix in the Frontenac Gris. Refrigerate, and let it sit overnight.

The next day, transfer the mixture to a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add the sugar, lower the heat and allow it to simmer until the volume is reduce by half (about 1-2 hours.) Wash and stem the remaining quart of strawberries, then slice them into quarters. Set aside.

Once the strawberry-gris reduction has reduced by half, it should have the consistency of a deep red syrup. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool (you can even put it into the fridge at this point.) Once the syrup has cooled, mix in the sliced fresh strawberries.


Buttermilk biscuits

This biscuit recipe has been adapted from Domestifluff’s gluten-free biscuits at


  • 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour, which includes xantham gum. If your mix does not include xantham gum, add one teaspoon to the recipe.)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • Parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 425°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl (including the xantham gum if needed.) Mix thoroughly, then cut in the 4 tablespoons of butter. Mix the butter into the flour mixture with a spoon or your clean hands, until the mixture takes on a consistently crumbly, sandy texture. In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk and the egg whites, whisking gently to combine. The batter should have a slightly wet, sticky texture. Using a pair of spoons, drop tablespoons of the batter onto the baking pan. Combine the nutmeg and brown sugar in a small container, and sprinkle lightly onto the top of each biscuit. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.


Whipped Cream

Many people like whipped cream from a can, but I find it doesn’t take much more effort to make it from scratch, and the flavor is so much better!


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar, or to taste

In a deep, narrow bowl, combine the cream, vanilla extract, and confectioner’s sugar. Using an electric mixer or a hand mixer, beat the cream on high until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overdo it—eventually you will end up with butter! Whipped cream can also be made by hand using a wire whisk, but it takes muscle. It can be fun though—especially when you have a friend to take turns with the whisk!


Slice the biscuits open laterally so that you have a top and bottom piece. Spoon the strawberry sauce generously onto the bottom biscuit and top with whipped cream. Place the top biscuit over the layer of cream, and drizzle strawberry sauce over the top, crowning the confection with final dollop of cream. Serve cold on a warm summer evening, with a perfectly-paired glass of Frontenac Gris. Perfection!

eggs in a bird's nest at fresh tracks farm, vermont

June 2016: Notes From the Field

June is a month of promise at Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard and Winery. The tight clusters of pale green buds auger well for a bountiful grape harvest—just a few short months away. The Vermont growing season is brief, and here in Berlin, Vermont, the pace of cultivation is intense.

So, they move fast. Trimming the vines, pulling weeds, swatting deer flies away from sun-drenched foreheads. Jordan, Mark and Vincent cull unneeded stems from the thick grape vines, opening the leafy canopy to rays of the strong northern sun and encouraging the production of high-quality wine grapes.

“We want the vines to devote their energy to producing grapes, rather than expending it developing unnecessary foliage,” says Jordan, the Vineyard Manager here at Fresh Tracks Farm. “That’s why we thin the vines of secondary shoots. It keeps the plant’s energy focused on growing the best grapes, and lets in the light and air.”

Viticulture is new to me. A life-long cubicle dweller, I spend most of my time hunched over a glowing blue screen, typing frenetically at a plastic keyboard, and I am in no way prepared for today’s adventures in grape cultivation. I’ve even forgotten my gloves.

“How to you know which stems to trim?” I ask, wiping dirt from untrained fingers.

“See this?” says Jordan, gesturing to a lumpy nodule of hard brown wood at the base of the lush foliage. “That’s a node. And deep inside each node is the potential for three shoots—a primary shoot, which is the first to present itself. That same node can then produce a secondary shoot and even a tertiary shoot. This is almost like an insurance policy against a heavy frost—if the primary shoot freezes, the secondary and tertiary shoots spring into action. This year, we had a mild winter and the primary shoots survived in excellent shape. Any extra shoots are being thinned out to give the vines more light and air”

The June sun is uncharacteristically hot on this warm Vermont day. Everyone works quickly—pulling up weeds at the base of each trunk, removing the unwanted shoots, leaving room for sun and wind to filter through the canopy. My soft, pasty hands are a bit sore from pulling up the weeds, but the sun on my back feels glorious—a much needed taste of summer after weeks of cold rain.

As we move along the orderly rows of budding vines, I start to pick up the rhythm, looking for that second, weaker shoot sprouting off a central node. After an hour or so of stilted practice, I can finally keep up with the other workers, thinning my vines with confidence. The conversation slowly turns to cats. Barn cats, we all agree, are a particularly beneficial kind of cat. Mark tells a funny story about a neighbor who dresses up his cat and walks him around the neighborhood on a leash. Everybody laughs. I relate a brief anecdote about a lady who likes to put her cat in a stroller and parade around the suburbs. Chortles all around.

At least surfing the internet is good for something, I think to myself.

More pulling weeds. My hands are sore now and stained green by the long grass. I stop at a cluster of thatch and horsehair that appears to be balled up in the vines.

“A bird’s nest,” I squeal with excitement. After all, when was the last time I saw a bird’s nest? On my screen saver?

“Yep, you’ll find quite a few of those,” says Mark. “Eggs or baby birds?”

I stand on my tiptoes, peering precariously into the light green foliage.

“Eggs,” I report, fascinated by the smooth blue and brown flecked orbs, beautiful as turquoise beads. “They’re so pretty.”

“Little bandits,” says Mark, laughing. “They hatch and eat all the fruit. We even named one of our wines after them.”

Grape vines flower like any other fruit—first producing tight clusters of green buds that will soon blossom into flowers. When the bloom of the grape flowers wane, they fall, drop to the ground and leave behind a cluster of firm, delicate green fruit that ripens to a rich purple or a pale yellow, depending on the varietal.

I pause for a moment to swat at a deer fly and take a swig from my water bottle. Grapes aren’t the only thing bursting into bloom around the farm. The vibrant spines of lupines launch themselves from the mulch like brightly colored rockets, dazzling the landscape with color and fragrance. Luscious heads of lettuce peek their pale leaves through the thatched ground cover, bursting with early summer flavor. And blooming peonies add vibrant baubles of color to the mottled green landscape. It’s a good feeling—working on the land. So much color and richness to be found.

The other workers are moving efficiently along the row of vines, thinning the vines with a practiced motion. I re-cork my water bottle and get back to work, submerging myself in the first steps of making wine by hand.

Radish and Watermelon Salad: Fresh Tracks Farm recipe

And the winner is….. Radish and Watermelon Salad with our Marquette Rosé!

Our radish infestation has abated, thanks to the help of our great friends! We tried a few recipes out and they were all delicious, but we had to highlight this simple, refreshing salad referred to us by the lovely people at the Vermont Country Store. It is a breeze to make and oh so satisfying on a hot summer day with a glass of our thirst-quenching Marquette Rosé. A perfect way to use up the influx of radishes, herbs, and watermelon! If you have other herbs in your garden that you need to use up, go ahead and mix some in as well; parsley and cilantro work well.


Radish and Watermelon Salad with Mint & Feta

1 bunch fresh radishes, about 8 medium

1 small watermelon or half of a large one

1 bunch fresh mint

1 lime

4 oz feta cheese,crumbled (sheep or goat)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Remove the stems from the radishes, leaving 1″ to use as a handle while cutting. Slice each radish into paper thin slices, or as thin as you reasonable can, and add them to a medium sized mixing bowl. Juice the lime and add to the radishes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Sliver enough mint leaves to loosely fill a 1/4 measuring cup and add to the radish mixture along with 1/2 of the feta. De-rind the watermelon and cut into 3/4″-1″ pieces. Gently stir the watermelon into the radish mixture, garnish with remaining feta and a few mint leaves. Serve chilled with our Marquette Rosé!




image of fresh tracks farm vineyard

Our Story

Our story takes place within the picturesque hills of Central Vermont. Fresh Tracks Farm was founded in 2002 with the goal of crafting authentic Vermont wine in a beautiful yet challenging climate. Owner and winemaker Christina Castegren sought to build upon her knowledge of agriculture, and fulfill her passion for working with the environment around her. She and a team of colleagues and friends spent years preparing fields, constructing trellises, gathering equipment, and planting vines.

sustainable farming


Sustainable Farming is at the heart of everything we do at Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery

Sustainable Farming is at the heart of everything we do at Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery. Sustainable farming is important – especially in Vermont. We believe that how we live on the land has a direct impact on what we receive from it. That’s why we use renewable sources like geothermal and solar energy to heat, cool, and power our wine facility. We also draw on a variety of natural farming principles, and work the land with a respect for both science and tradition to foster healthy growth.

Vineyard and Winery

Vineyard & Winery

Since 2002, we have been planting, removing, and retraining countless grapevines on our three vineyards. These sites subsist of different soil and geological profiles, in addition to varying elevations and orientations. These factors give us a diverse range of characteristics to work with in the winery.

Our approach to winemaking at Fresh Tracks Farm is dynamic, and attempts to reflect and respect the many nuances of each unique vintage, resulting in wine profiles that shift from year to year. Originally, our winery was located in a red barn up on the hillside, where a small basket press and a few stainless steel tanks was all we needed to turn our grapes into wine. Now, in our more expansive winery, we have a range of modern equipment and a robust lab with which we closely monitor our wines throughout the process.

Tour the Vineyard

Watch a tour of our tasting room & vineyard.

We’re Hiring!

Are you interested in pursuing a career in wine? Fresh Tracks Farm has the following positions open for hire:

Tasting Room Host/Hostess  | Part Time Position

POSITION SUMMARY: This position is responsible for ensuring that customers have a positive and memorable experience at Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery. They must have a passion for wine and be open to learning the details of the wines we produce and our general operations. Responsibilities include: Greeting customers promptly and courteously; guiding customers to wines they enjoy; setting up and cleaning up daily operations and special events; stocking wine and retail merchandise in the tasting room; accurately performing daily wine inventory and money handling procedures. This position requires you to be at least 21 years of age. WEEKENDS REQUIRED. Please email the tasting room manager if you are interested.

Events/Social Media Coordinator | Full Time Position

POSITION SUMMARY:Events/Social Media.    Full time position
Our events/social media professional works in conjunction with the Fresh Tracks Farm
team to facilitate, organize and execute both Fresh Tracks Farm events
and private events at the winery, works in the tasting room, has
technical proficiency, engages the world at large via Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter, and email and directly through outreach to our
local community.

Please send a cover letter statement of interest and resume to [email protected]

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Welcome to the Porsche Club of America at Fresh Tracks June 21-25th!

We’re excited to welcome the Porsche Club of America to Fresh Tracks Farm this June! We are looking forward to welcoming them to Fresh Tracks Farm and have them experience our small portion of Vermont.