Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Jul 27 2017

A Robust Selection Of Wineries Entice Visitors To Philadelphia’s Countryside

Backgrounder

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 Awards:
The Commonwealth ranks seventh in the nation for number of wineries—more than 260—and produces nearly two million gallons of wine per year. Pennsylvania vintners have won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, International Women’s Wine Competition, New York International Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, World Wine Championships, Berlin International Wine Competition, proving Pennsylvania can craft wines worthy of any table.

The Terroir:
The Philadelphia region 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 here, and local winemakers point to the popularity and flavor of their Chardonnays, Chambourcins, Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignons and even sparkling wines.

The Trails:
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; and 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 Artisan Wine Trail (35 miles from Center City):
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. brandywineartisanwinetrail.com

  • Black Walnut Winery – Two couples turned a hobby into a career by refurbishing a 198-year-old bank barn—then using that barn to produce 18 locally grown varietals and blends, including Syrah, Semillon and a blend called Tryst, a Pinot Noir/Merlot blend. Both Black Walnut's winery and their offsite tasting room in downtown Phoenixville (open Wednesday through Sunday) host a variety of events, including live music, throughout the year. Winery, 3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, (610) 857-5566; Tasting Room, 260 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, (484) 924-8740, blackwalnutwinery.com
  • Borderland Vineyard – In 2006, Kurt Kalb began revitalizing the agricultural areas of the family farm that his parents purchased in 1946. In 2008, he planted the first grapevines and has slowly expanded the vineyard with the help of family and friends. Tastings run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 332 Indiantown Road, Landenberg, (215) 436-9154, borderlandvineyard.com
  • Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery – Wines at Galer are hand-produced exclusively from grapes grown locally and at this Chester County 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. The onsite cottage functions as an Airbnb property—perfect for an overnight stay. 700 Folly Hill Road, Kennett Square, Chester County, (484) 899-8013, galerestate.com
  • Kreutz Creek Vineyards – Jim Kirkpatrick began his winemaking journey in 1989 after his wife Carole gave him an at-home kit for his birthday. Soon a full-fledged winery 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
  • Paradocx Vineyard – Nestled among rolling hills, this bucolic vineyard uses almost exclusively homegrown grapes in its dozens of 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, 1165 Wilmington Pike, Westtown; paradocx.com
  • Wayvine Vineyard & Winery – A pair of Penn State alums put their agriculture degrees to good use, hand planting 16 acres of grapes on a Nottingham farm. Their roster of wines leans European in style but does include Carmine, a deep red varietal developed on North American soil. Wayvine hosts causal tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. 4374 Forge Road, Nottingham, (610) 220-0128, wayvine.wine

Bucks County Wine Trail (35 miles from Center City):
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.

  • Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery – Celebrating 50 years in business, Buckingham Valley 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
  • Crossing Vineyards and Winery – 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, this historic 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
  • New Hope Winery – Housed in an 18th-century barn equipped with a robust gift, antique and gourmet food shop, this combination wine bar and music/entertainment venue 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 from Thursday to Sunday. 6123 Lower York Road, New Hope, (215) 794-2331, newhopewinery.com
  • Rose Bank Winery – Situated on a picturesque tract of land originally deeded by William Penn to his daughters, the colonial estate 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
  • Rushland Ridge Vineyard & Winery – 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 their 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
  • Sand Castle Winery – This winery is one of 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
  • Unami Ridge Winery – Open since 2010, this boutique bottle shop and 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, Saturdays and Sundays. 2144 Kumry Road, Quakertown, (215) 804-5445, unamiridge.com
  • Wycombe Vineyards – This winery sits on an estate that has been in Rich Fraser’s family since 1925, first supporting a 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 (25 miles from Center City):
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 – Taking a cue from the Old Country, recipes and methods here 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 and fruity wines, available on the patio and at the wine bar. Live music also plays on weekends. 21 Simmons Road, Perkiomenville, (610) 754-0006, adellowines.com
  • Boyd’s Cardinal Hollow Winery – At this unconventional house of fermentation, guests can sample more than 25 different wines, including varieties made with unusual ingredients such as mango, rhubarb, pumpkin and cranberry. Open-minded oenophiles love the hazelnut port, 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; Pappy’s Orchard Store, 2576 Cassel Road, Coopersburg, (215) 679-3981, cardinalhollowwinery.com
  • Country Creek Vineyard & Winery – Crafting wines from Pennsylvania-grown fruit and French-American hybrid grapes is a family affair at this winery on the border of Bucks and Montgomery counties. Serious production happens here in a circa 1856 dairy barn, but it’s not all business—the site hosts live bands, yoga and other events. 133 Cressman Road, Telford, (215) 723-6516, countrycreekwinery.com
  • Stone & Key Cellars – A bespoke winemaking program brings 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 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.

  • Chaddsford Winery – Awards keep pouring in for this vineyard 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 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
  • Grace Winery and Sweetwater Farm – Sitting on 50 acres along the Brandywine Valley in Montgomery County, this vineyard, winery and inn welcomes overnight guests in its Manor House and Cottages. Daytime visitors explore a renovated 1750 bank barn-turned-winery, tasting room and event space. 50 Sweetwater Road, Glen Mills, Montgomery County, (610) 459-4711, gracewinery.com
  • Karamoor Estate Winery – The wines produced at the elaborate Montgomery County winery have been praised by Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan and benefit from a collaboration of two very educated and experienced winemakers and viticulturalists. Grapes grow on family property that’s been farmed since before the days of William Penn. Private tastings and tours are available. 6118-6120 Butler Pike, Blue Bell/Fort Washington, (215) 641-0233, karamoorwines.com
  • Penns Woods Winery – With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, former wine importer and Abruzzese winemaker Gino Razzi produces internationally award-winning bottles. 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
  • Stargazers Vineyard and Winery – Maintained and operated by owners Alice and John Weygandt, this husband and wife affair 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; Stargazers Wine Shop, 26 Main Street, Litiz, (717) 625-3932, stargazersvineyard.com
  • Va La Vineyards – Lauded three times as one of the country’s best wineries by The Wine Advocate and The Daily Meal, Va La 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
  • Vivat Alfa Winery – Open since 2013 and formerly known as Alpha and Omega, the winery is a simple operation run out of a small fieldstone barn dating back 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, (267) 614-5011, vivatalfawinery.com

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

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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