HAPPY NATIONAL AG DAY! It only seems fitting that on National Ag Day, I celebrate by talking about my favorite PA agricultural industry. . .
So, if you’ve read this blog before, you know I like wine. A lot. In fact, tonight I met up with some of the “Real Farm Wives of Berks County” for wine and dinner. I had to stop at Sheetz on the way home to buy dinner for Farmer Lee, of course. (God forbid he eat the leftover pulled pork I pulled out of the freezer for him! New wife fail. Should’ve made him eat it so as to not set expectations so high for the next 20 years or so. . . )
Did you know I love local wine?
Pennsylvania has a booming wine industry. The state has had a growing wine industry for over a decade, really. More wineries pop up every year. To date, there are over 150 wineries in PA. Some of them are mass producing wine and direct marketing it well so they are profitable even though they don’t make good wine. Many, though, make some fabulous, affordable wine!
Some wineries in PA grow their own grapes. Many do not though. They buy grapes from growers within the state and region. Props to those who grow their own grapes. Grapes like hot, dry weather. When our field crops like corn and soybeans do well because of warm, wet weather, grapes don’t do quite as well. They like it dry and they like it hot! (Texas grows some great grapes, for example. I could do a whole other blog on fabulous Texas wineries. I’ll save that for another day, though.)
Three of my favorite PA wineries happen to be right here in Berks County. If you know me, you know there isn’t much I admit to liking about Berks County. But, I have to admit, there are some GREAT growers and winemakers in Berks County!
Some of the greatest advice I’ve ever heard about wine came from Brad, owner of Pinnacle Ridge Winery, my favorite winery. “You know what you like. Drink and enjoy what you like.” It’s true! If you like sweet wine, drink sweet wine! Some snobs may tell you you don’t like wine if you only drink sweet wine. However, the industry is counting on you to drink and enjoy what you like so you have a good experience and continue to purchase their product, and support their industry.
The same can be said for most, if not all, agricultural industries.
Here are some of my favorite PA Wineries, and my favorite wines:
Pinnacle Ridge Winery – http://pinridge.com/
Brad makes the best wine. Truly. And the friendly atmosphere in their tasting room is unmatched. I haven’t had a wine I didn’t like, but I really enjoy the Trio (with Manatawny Creek and Allegro Wineries), Veritas, Quaff, and Sweet Seduction. These are all awesome red wines. You may pick up on a trend – I REALLY like red wine. As mentioned, though, DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE!
Manatawny Creek Winery – http://manatawnycreekwinery.com/
Really enjoy their Chambourcin, the official wine of the Lehigh Valley. It’s really a balanced wine. Not too dry, not too sweet. The tannins of this red wine aren’t really strong. It’s a great wine.
Blair Vineyard – http://www.blairvineyards.com/
I really like their Three Sisters, named for Richard’s three daughters, a blend of three grapes to make this tasty red.
Need a delicious red summer sipping wine for your back porch sittin’? Vynecrest’s Summertime Red is definitely your go-to. http://vynecrest.com/ Their First Blush is great, too, if you’re a white zin lover.
Other wineries I enjoy: Stone Villa in Westmoreland County, Franklin Hill Vineyard on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail. I’m sure I’ll add to this list as time goes on.
So, happy National Ag Day, and CHEERS! 🙂