6 Wines to Start Your Pennsylvania Wine Experience

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If you’re looking for an excuse to finally explore local Pennsylvania wines, this time of the year is the perfect opportunity to start on that journey.

Each year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Pennsylvania wine industry is on full display, and a rotating list of vineyards offer tastings of their best wines all week. 

A judged wine competition is also held to determine which vineyards had an exceptional year of winemaking. Here is where you should start the foray into local Pennsylvania wines. Many of the bottles are available for purchase directly from the winery at the Farm Show, at the winery, or at select premium Fine Wine and Spirits locations.

Pennsylvania wines can range from bone-dry and flavorful reds to sweet whites. Dive in and find your favorite.

PA Wine Competition_Governor's Cup_Best of Show Winners_2017

Best of Show 2016

Best dry grape – Sevens Mountain Wine Cellars 2015 Traminette

Sevens Mountain sits just at the top of the mountain before you hit State College. It has stunning views and a great dry wine to enjoy. Traminette is a white wine described as a Gewurztraminer-hybrid with a spicy and dry finish.

Best sweet grape – Fero Vineyards and Winery 2014 Sweet Red

Fero is almost directly north of the greater Harrisburg area with a variety of different wines that include a Sweet Red that is comprised of 60% Lemberger and 40% Pinot Noir grapes for a sweet to semi-sweet flavor throughout.

Best vinifera grape – Waltz Vineyard 2013 Reserve Chardonnay

Vinifera refers to the best use of Old World grapes like this Chardonnay from Waltz Vineyard out of Manheim. This wine was aged for eight months in French Oak barrels and features vanilla and citrus flavors.

Best American grape – Red Shale Ridge Vineyards 2015 Fredonia

This category features American based grapes and Red Shale’s Fredonia sweet red wine has been named the best in this class for this year. Red Shale is located almost right in the middle between Harrisburg and Hazleton.

Best fruit – Arrowhead Wine Cellars 2016 Blueberry

It’s no secret that local vineyards can specialize in these fruit styles of wine. Blueberry wine is one of the most popular versions, and Arrowhead’s stood out from the pack this year. 

Best sparkling – Pinnacle Ridge 2015 Cuvee Chardonnay

Sparkling wines are a specialty of many vineyards and can as flavorful as they are refreshing. Pinnacle’s Cuvee Chardonnay is dry with a crisp and clean taste of apples, honey and citrus.

vineyard at hershey

If you can’t get a hold of these great wines, many other wines earn accolades like double gold, gold, silver and bronze in their respective categories. Three wines earned double gold honors this year, including our local Vineyard at Hershey for their Twisted Kiss. They also grabbed honors for their Merlot, Frostbite, Oaked Chardonnay, Cocoa Di Vezzetti and Moscato.

Check out the full list of winners:

Visit the Pennsylvania Wine area at the PA Farm Show through Saturday, and visit them throughout the year to keep drinking local and supporting Pennsylvania wines.

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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