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A Robust Selection Of Wineries Entice Visitors To Philadelphia's Countryside
With geography, climate and growing conditions that mirror those of the Bordeaux Region in France, southeastern Pennsylvania continues to emerge as a major force in America’s wine industry. In fact, Pennsylvania wines as a whole are making steady gains in quality, quantity and recognition.
The Commonwealth ranks seventh in the nation for number of wineries—more than 220—and produces more than one million gallons of wine per year. Pennsylvania vintners have won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, International Women’s Wine Competition, San Diego International Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, Florida State Fair International Wine Competition, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Consumer Wine Awards, proving Pennsylvania can craft wines worthy of any table.
Philadelphia and The Countryside® is ideally suited for winemaking. The temperate climate, paired with gently rolling hills and large bodies of water, make for warmer soil that nurtures a long growing season. The soil itself is flecked with limestone and gravel—qualities that enhance the fertility of a range of grapes. This means wine lovers find many of their favorites around Philadelphia, and local winemakers point to the popularity and flavor of their Chardonnays, Chambourcins, Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignons and even sparkling wines.
Many of the area’s wineries grow their own grapes; others buy them locally, resulting in a tremendous spirit of cooperation among vintners. Several vintners have joined together to establish three wine trails in Philadelphia’s countryside: The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail bridges Chester County wineries; the Bucks County Wine Trail unites wineries just north of Philadelphia; the Montgomery County Wine Trail runs northwest of the city. Visitors can spend an afternoon or weekend touring the trails. They’re situated in the middle of historic and lush landscapes, near dozens of quaint bed and breakfasts and close to attractions in Center City Philadelphia, New Hope, Washington Crossing, Valley Forge National Historical Park and Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
Brandywine Valley Wine Trail:
Sprinkled across the beautiful and historic area that lies between the cities of Philadelphia, Wilmington, Lancaster and West Chester, the wineries along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail are generally located in Chester County within an easy drive of one another. Each of the wineries/vineyards hosts regular tastings, concerts, craft fairs, wine dinners and joint trail-wide festivals that provide perfect excuses to spend an afternoon or evening sipping in the sunlight or under the stars.
- Founded by two couples who turned a hobby into a career by refurbishing a 198-year-old bank barn, Black Walnut Winery uses grapes from neighboring vineyards to produce 18 varietals and blends, including Syrah, Semillon and a blend called Tryst, a 50/50 Pinot Noir/Merlot blend. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. A variety of events, including live music, take place throughout the year at the winery and its off-site tasting room in downtown Phoenixville. 3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, (610) 857-5566; Tasting Room, 260 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, (484) 924-8740, blackwalnutwinery.com
- In 2006, Kurt Kalb began revitalizing the agricultural areas of the farm that his parents purchased in 1946. In 2008, he planted the first grapevines and has slowly expanded Borderland Vineyard with the help of family and friends. Tastings run on weekends. 332 Indiantown Road, Landenberg, (215) 436-9154, borderlandvineyard.com
- Jim Kirkpatrick began his winemaking journey in 1989 after his wife Carole gave him an at-home kit for his birthday. Soon, Kreutz Creek Vineyards was born, and today the couple produces a dozen varieties, including two dessert wines and a holiday wassail. This pet-friendly winery’s tasting room is open on weekends and features an almost year-round concert and movie series. The party continues at the vineyard’s pooch-welcoming tasting room in West Chester, which hosts live music every weekend. 553 S. Guernsey Road, West Grove, (610) 869-4412; 44 E. Gay Street, West Chester, (610) 436-5006, kreutzcreekvineyards.com
- Nestled among rolling hills, Paradocx Vineyard uses almost exclusively homegrown grapes in its three-dozen wines. Though shoppers can buy Paradocx wines at two retail shops, two farmers’ markets and through a mail order wine club, at the winery they can sample wine, hard ciders out of pouches, special “paint” cans or flights. The winery is open on weekends, with happy hour on Fridays. Tasting Room, 1833 Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, (610) 255-5684; Shops: 148 W. State Street, Kennett Square, (610) 255-5684; Pinot Boutique, 227 Market Street, (215) 627-WINE; Booths Corner Farmers Market, 1362 Naamans Creek Road, Garnet Valley; Westtown Farmers Market, Route 926 & Route 202, Westtown; paradocx.com
Bucks County Wine Trail:
The Bucks County Wine Trail, which clusters its wineries within a few miles of one another, is thriving well past its 10th anniversary. In a true spirit of partnership, the wineries sponsor wine-and-food-pairing festivals and participate in several off-premise fairs that take the wines to the people.
- Celebrating 50 years in business, family-owned Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery is one of the state’s oldest farm wineries—and Bucks Country’s sole winery producing naturally fermented sparkling wine using the Champagne method. There’s a folksy atmosphere on the 40-acre site, with a sculpture garden and picnic areas. Self-guided tours and tastings run every day but Monday. On weekends, the winery charges a $5 per person tasting fee, refundable with the purchase of a case. 1521 Route 413, Buckingham, (215) 794-7188, pawine.com
- With a facility and grounds on a 200-year-old estate less than a mile from where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776, Crossing Vineyards and Winery prides itself on making restrained, European-style wines that have won more than 120 awards. To reduce the need for pesticides and other environmentally harmful or inefficient farming practices, the solar-powered winery uses lasers to evenly plant vines and employs a computerized weather station to gather useful data on the vineyard’s microclimates. The winery hosts private events, summer concerts, wine education events and special happenings for singles, wine novices and others. 1853 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, (215) 493-6500, crossingvineyards.com
- Housed in an 18th-century barn equipped with a robust gift, antique and gourmet food shop, wine bar and music/entertainment venue, New Hope Winery sells various fruit wines, a rosé and a wide variety of reds and whites. The winery doesn’t offer tours, as its vineyard is off-site, but there’s more than enough other activity to keep even casual visitors entertained every day except Monday and Tuesday. 6123 Lower York Road, New Hope, (215) 794-2331, newhopewinery.com
- Grapes have been planted at Peace Valley Winery since 1968, with the winery opening in 1984. Since then, the winery that overlooks Peace Valley Park has evolved into a full-scale operation producing two dozen (mostly medal-winning) wines, including a Traminette and Fredonia. In season, visitors of all ages can pick their own fruits and veggies. Year-round, they can peruse the gift shop and order custom labels for their bottles. 300 Old Limekiln Road, Chalfont, (215) 249-9058, peacevalleywinery.com
- Situated on a picturesque tract of land originally deeded by William Penn to his daughters,
Rose Bank Winery captures the history of Bucks County with its 1719 stone manor house and 1835 barn, both overlooking lush pasture. Visitors to the estate are encouraged to savor the winery’s red, white, fruit and specialty wines such as chocolate orange port and coffee-like Cappavino. 258 Durham Road, Newtown, (215) 860-5899, rosebankwinery.com
- In the late 1960s, the Ullmans made their first wine on Kings Oak Farm in Huntingdon Valley. In 1985, husband-and-wife team Ed and Lisa purchased 22 acres in central Bucks County and planted an acre of French-American hybrids and native grapes. In 1991, they officially opened Rushland Ridge Vineyard and Winery and built a tasting room, open Thursdays through Sundays. Today, more than a dozen different varietals—including a traditionally crafted port—support the winery. 2665 Rushland Road, Rushland, (215) 598-0251, rushlandridge.com
- Winemakers at Sand Castle Winery are among the few on the East Coast to produce wines grown exclusively from vinis vinfera—cloned European vines, in this case from Germany and France. Overlooking the Delaware River, the property features a cliff-side castle that houses a 30-foot deep cellar where all of the vinification takes place. It’s open for various levels of tastings, from casual sips to extensive food pairings; public classes round out the experience. Winery: 755 River Road, Erwinna, (800) 722-9463; Taste Phoenixville, 236 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, (484) 924-9530; Taste Warrington, 711 Easton Road, Valley Square Shopping Center, Warrington, (215) 343-4528, sandcastlewinery.com
- Open since 2010, Unami Ridge Winery specializes in European whites and premium reds. Owners Jim and Kathy Jenks produce just nine wines, with a white German called Scheurebe as the premier offering. The tasting room is open on Fridays and Saturdays. 2144 Kumry Road, Quakertown, (215) 804-5445, unamiridge.com
- The Wycombe Vineyards estate has been in Rich Fraser’s family since 1925, first supporting the family pork businesses, later, in 1965, producing sod. Now, 10 of the 65 acres of fertile farmland are devoted to growing classic vinifera and French-Hybrid varietals in various stages of maturity. 1391 Forest Grove Road, Furlong, (215) 598-WINE, wycombevineyards.com
Montgomery County Wine Trail:
As the state’s smallest wine trail and the region’s newest, the Montgomery County Wine Trail includes four wineries that coexist alongside old stone houses, 18th-century taverns and lush golf courses.
- A’Dello Vineyard and Winery’s recipes come from hundreds of years of family winemaking in Italy. Visitors bring their own food to enjoy on weekend days while tasting signature reds and whites, semi-sweet whites, blushes and “fun and fruity” wines, available on both the patio and at the wine bar. Live music also plays on weekends. 21 Simmons Road, Perkiomenville, (610) 754-0006, adellowines.com
- At Boyd’s Cardinal Hollow Winery, guests can sample more than 25 different wines, including varieties with unusual ingredients such as mango, rhubarb, pumpkin and cranberry. Open-minded oenophiles love the hazelnut port (one of three ports), the award-winning jalapeño wine and the whiskey mead. The family-owned winery hosts wine classes and sells at stores and markets throughout the area. Winery, 1830 West Point Pike, West Point, (215) 801-2227; stores, 4010 Skippack Pike, Skippack, (215) 527-4689; 5860 Lower York Road, Lahaska; Flourtown Farmers Market, 1800 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown; cardinalhollowwinery.com
- In a circa 1856 dairy barn, family-owned Country Creek Vineyard & Winery creates wines from Pennsylvania-grown fruit and French-American hybrid grapes. Serious production happens here, but it’s not all business—the site hosts live bands, group meditations and other events. 133 Cressman Road, Telford, (215) 723-6516, countrycreekwinery.com
- Stone & Key Cellars specializes in bringing visitors the full experience of creating their own wine—from the design, based on a grape-tasting session with professional winemakers, to crushing, pressing, blending, bottling and, of course, drinking. If that sounds like too much work, visitors can sample and purchase premade house wines and ciders in the tasting room or participate in the Quarter Barrel Club, through which 24 participants meet at a series of pressings, barrel tastings and bottling events to create six wines, all with a focus on fun and making new friends. 435 Doylestown Road, Montgomeryville, (215) 855-4567, stoneandkeycellars.com
Notable Nearby Vintners:
Though not part of the local wine trails, these Southeast Pennsylvania wineries each offer memorable experiences for patrons and guests.
- Awards keep pouring in for Chaddsford Winery, whose owners turned an 18th-century barn into a premium wine operation in 1982, eventually expanding to their current 30,000-cases-a-year output of dry reds and whites, as well as sweet seasonal favorites. Set amid the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley, between Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Delaware County winery hosts wine-and-food pairings and live music events, in addition to tastings and tours. 632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-6221; Peddler’s Village Shop, 20 Merchants Row, Lahaska; chaddsford.com
- Chester County’s Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery hand-produces wine exclusively from grapes grown locally and in its own vineyard. The winemakers let the terroir express itself and take a mostly hands-off approach once the grapes are harvested in order to generate different characteristics for each vintage. For sampling, there’s a tasting room just off the fermentation room and a deck overlooking the Chardonnay vineyard. 700 Folly Hill Road, Kennett Square, Chester County, (484) 899-8013, galerestate.com
- Grace Winery and Sweetwater Farm sits on 50 acres along the Brandywine Valley in Montgomery County. A vineyard, winery and inn, the bucolic venue hosts overnight guests in its Manor House and Cottages and welcomes visitors into a renovated 1750 bank barn-turned-winery, tasting room and event space. 50 Sweetwater Road, Glen Mills, Montgomery County, (610) 459-4711, gracewinery.com
- The wines produced at the elaborate Montgomery County Karamoor Estate Wines have been praised by Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan, and benefit from a collaboration between two very educated and experienced winemakers and viticulturalists. Grapes grow on family property that’s been farmed since before the days of William Penn. A tasting room is opening in 2016. 6118-6120 Butler Pike, Blue Bell/Fort Washington, (215) 641-0233, karamoorwines.com
- When the Patones founded their fledgling Patone Cellars in the summer of 2006, they continued a family tradition they trace back to Abruzzo, Italy, where their ancestors harvested wine grapes for trade. When it opens in the summer of 2016, the winery building itself will house tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Vino Novello, Barbera, Sangiovese and a Meritage blend called Elegante. 1051 Wickerton Road, Landenberg, (302) 545-7388, patonecellars.com
- With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, former wine importer and Abruzzese winemaker Gino Razzi produces internationally award-winning wines at Penns Woods Winery. Visitors savor his creations at the tasting room, buy locally made honey, chocolate and candles in the gift shop and do yoga in the vineyard. The actual winery, located offsite, is not open to the public. 124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 459-0808, pennswoodsevents.com
- Maintained and operated by owners Alice and John Weygandt, Stargazers Vineyard and Winery is situated on the Brandywine River near the Stargazers Stone, where Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon used celestial navigation to survey the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Visitors to Stargazers can wander through the bucolic vineyards to inspect the grapes or visit the winery to see the production process. A tasting of five samples for $5 is available every Saturday and Sunday. 1024 Wheatland Drive, Coatesville, (610) 486-0422; West Chester Growers Market, Chestnut & Church Streets, West Chester, stargazersvineyard.com
- Lauded three times as one of the country’s best wineries by The Wine Advocate and The Daily Meal, Va La Vineyards prides itself on individuality. Winemaker Anthony Vietri sections his tiny vineyard into four plots where he co-cultivates vines and lets the soil determine what they turn into. 8822 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, (610) 268-2702, valavineyards.com
- Open since 2013, Vivat Alfa Winery (formerly Alpha and Omega) is a simple operation running out of a small fieldstone barn dating to 1750. Winemaker Richard Adamek went to winemaking school in the former Czechoslovakia and grows his European grapes on plot of land next to the barn. 3612 Stump Road, Doylestown, Bucks County, (267) 614-5011, vivatalfawinery.com
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On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
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