Pennsylvania has a rich wine growing history, and more than 100 wineries make their home in this Eastern State. Merlot, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Chardonnay grapes grow in its vineyards, and the wines from Pennsylvania are as varied as they are delicious. The Lancaster, Lehigh and Cumberland Valleys are all regions of Pennsylvania that produce exceptional wines (the Cumberland Valley also encompasses some of Maryland). Pennsylvania is the fourth largest grape growing state in America, and produces almost one million gallons of wine each year. It is also home to seven wine regions and eleven “wine trails,” where visitors can explore the vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms of this state . For more information on these Pennsylvania wineries and wines, see below.
The Lancaster Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Pennsylvania is over 30 miles long and encompasses over 225,000 acres. It is home to Cullari Vineyards and Winery, a small boutique winery that produces about 5,000 gallons per years. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, their first vineyard was planted in 2000. They produce Merlot, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel wines, among others. To sample one of their outstanding Pennsylvania wines, try their Pinot Grigio. This Italian style white wine has aromas of peaches and flavors that include melon and pear. Also try their Catawba, a very fruity wine with a delicious grapey taste. (Some wine “snobs” look down on Catawba, but this grape actually has a longer history than the Concord and makes for some terrific wines.) Collari Vineyards and Winery is located along the “Uncork York” Wine Trail. For more information on this Pennsylvania winery and its wines, click here.
The Lehigh Valley AVA is located in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, where the fertile farmlands and rich soil are perfect for growing grapes. Clover Hills Vineyards and Winery is located in this AVA, a small, family owned business which produces outstanding wines. Sample their 2006 Pinot Noir, a lovely red wine with aromas of violets and flavors that include strawberries and stone fruits. Their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is also outstanding, a flavorful wine with aromas of vanilla and spice followed by flavors of cherry and blackberry. Clover Hill Vineyards and Winery is located on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail. For more information on this Pennsylvania winery and its wines, click here.
The Cumberland Valley AVA, located in both Pennsylvania and Maryland, has only 100 acres of planted vineyard (the entire AVA encompasses more than 750,000 acres.) This AVA was approved in 2005, and is home to three wineries. Later research into the soil and climate of this 80 mile wide region, which runs from the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to the Potomac River in Pennsylvania and DC, was not ideal for viticulture. This may explain why so little of the land in this huge appellation is planted with grapes.