Monday, December 29, 2008
Have spent plenty of time writing about three of the Pennsylvania wine trails, not intentionally ignoring a fourth one, the Berks County Wine Trail. These eight wineries fill in the gap between the Leigh Valley trail to the east and what would informally be called the Uncork York trail that encompasses wineries in and around York and Gettysburg.
Kog Hill Winery, located in Morgantown, Pa., is among those eight members. And for every Chaddsford and Black Ankle and Crossing Vineyards that has poured big sums of time and money into their operation, there are probably twice as many wineries that while scaled down by comparison have carved their own niche in the regional market.
This winery has no vineyard; it contracts with other grape producers and then turns that juice into 21 wines, a line that’s predominantly sweet. Brad Jordan, a member of the Kog Hill “family,” was at the winery Sunday afternoon when I called. He said that the business has come through this year pretty well, crediting much of that because of their prices. “We only have one bottle over $25; that’s our ice wine,” he said. “Other than that that all of them below $20 [one or two bottoming out below $10]. I think that’s the reason we’re doing so well. You get really good value . . . and the prices are so low compared to other wines.”
Jordan said the tastes of the region dictate a line heavy on sweet wines. Their best-seller is a Sunset Blush, which he compared to rose or a blush. The Kog Hill blueberry wine also has been a big seller. Perhaps the next release will match those others in sales, a blueberry Merlot. Jordan said that should be in the bottled in the next two weeks. To his knowledge, the only other winery that sells something similar is in Alaska. It should be available for sale by Valentine’s Day.
Tastings at the winery are $3, and allow visitors to sample as many of Kog Hill’s wines as they care to. Among some of the other additions to the business in 2009 will be an upgraded Web site, at www.koghillwinery.com, which is expected to be up and running in the next week or two. And that will facilitate a more vigorous program of Internet sales.
Jordan said the winery is hoping to add a weekly happy hour that might run 4 to 8 p.m. on Fridays or Saturdays starting in the late spring, which would include live acoustic music. By that time, visitors should be able to sample some new “concoctions” the winery is planning to introduce, a blend of some of the wines that Kog Hill already produces.