Sunday, October 5, 2008

My goals, motives for writing on regional wines

Welcome to those of you visiting this Web site and reading about Pennsylvania wines for the first time. Happy to have you poking around in here.

I started this site six months ago as a way to spotlight wines and wineries within driving distance of where I live in central Pennsylvania. It’s been a labor of love and an education to cover this diverse region that occupies the rolling terrain east of the Appalachian range. And I’ve met a number of proprietors, winemakers and those connected to the business who not only have been great instructors but become acquaintances whom I respect and admire for what they do and the passion with which they farm the land.

I consider this a beat, covering more than 50 wineries in parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. But with a couple other folks covering Maryland wineries, it made no sense to overlap. So I’ll stick with Pennsylvania wineries, at least the ones I know in southcentral, southeastern and eastern parts of the states. Officially, they make up three Pennsylvania wine regions – Lower Susquehanna, Philadelphia countryside and Lehigh Valley/Berks – and four wine trails – Uncork York, Brandywine Valley, Bucks County and Lehigh Valley.

While the wineries in those three regions account for more than half of the wineries in the state, the other four are spread out across a much larger footprint of the state. Jennifer Eckinger is the spokesperson for the
Pennsylvania Wine Association and has been a big help to me in getting my blog, if you will, off the ground.

Dave McIntyre, who helped create this ambitious project at, didn’t give the group of us specific parameters on how to go about publicizing what’s in our state. He just laid out the mission: expose what’s out there to people who think that American wine begins with California and ends with . . . California and Oregon and Washington. To do that, I’ll write thumbnails on six wineries representing the four wine trails. All have got out of their way to field my calls and welcome me into their winery. Others have, too. But these guys and gals have gone above and beyond, perhaps no more so than now, sitting through interviews during the busiest weeks on their calendar, better known as harvest.

But while six wineries and two of their best wines will fall under the spotlight during the next six days, you can read bit and pieces on at least 25 to 30 others by just perusing my archive. All should give you a sense of who these people are and why they've chosen winemaking.

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