Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lehigh Valley ahead of curve on trail bags

A couple of shots taken Sunday of Pinnacle Ridge Winery, located no more than a couple minute's drive off Route 78, near Kutztown, Pa.
Before I bag it for the night, wanted to mention that we left Pinnacle Ridge on Sunday night with a couple bottles of wine, one of which was tucked into a Lehigh Valley Wine Trail bag that had the Web site on one side and all the pertinent contact information about the nine members on the other. Just thought this was a great idea and a good way to spread the word about the trail.

Asked by e-mail how long the trail has been using the bags, owner/winermaker Brad Knapp replied: "The LVWT has been doing the wine trail bag for at least 3-4 years now. Some of the wineries on the trail have their own bag, but about 1/2 of us use the wine trail bag. I like the bag since it looks a little nicer than your typical brown bag."

Might be worth an idea for other wine trails to copy.

Brandywine trail posts February choco-vents

Karen Cline of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail passed along this release on what's planned for February in relation to wines, cheeses and chocolates:

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s time to start planning that romantic getaway to the Brandywine Valley. Our wine trail members are offering various events in February with romance in mind. Create an experience they’ll never forget with these Valentine’s specials!

CHADDSFORD WINERY, 632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA (610)388-6221; www.chaddsford.com
WINE & CHOCOLATE RESERVE TASTINGS – Every Weekend in February!
February 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 & 28
Each day at 1:00, 2:30 or 4:00 p.m.
February is the month of romance, so pick up your sweetie and indulge your love in decadent wine & chocolate tastings every weekend in February at Chaddsford Winery. Our team of wine educators will lead you through a sit-down tasting of premium Chaddsford wines paired with premium gourmet chocolates from award-winning Éclat Chocolate in West Chester. Master chocolatier Chris Curtin of Éclat has been piling up national accolades for what Philadelphia Inquirer food columnist Rick Nichols recently called "his obscenely luscious" chocolates!
$25; by reservation only at 1:00, 2:30 or 4 p.m. Call Chaddsford Winery at 610-388-6221 to reserve your space.

KREUTZ CREEK VINEYARDS, 553 S. Guernsey Rd., West Grove, PA; (610)869-4412; www.kreutzcreekvineyards.com
February 14 & 15
Decadent Chocolate Fondue and Wine Pairings. No reservations necessary.

PARADOCX VINEYARD, 1833 Flint Hill Rd., Landenberg, PA (610)255-5684; www.paradocx.com
Saturday, February 14th and Sunday, February 15th, 1:00, 2:30 and 4:00 p.m.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Chester County’s Paradocx Vineyard will host an exclusive wine, cheese and chocolate tasting, coupled with tours of the winery by our head winemaker. Cheese will be provided by Town Clock Cheeses of Gap, PA and chocolate by Neuchatel Chocolates of Oxford, PA. Each guest will receive a complimentary Paradocx Vineyard engraved Riedel wine glass. $20 in advance. $25 day of the event. Limited space available.

PENNS WOODS WINERY, 124 Beaver Valley Rd., Chadds Ford, PA; (610)459-0808 www.pennswoodswinery.com
Saturday, February 14th
~Two for the price of One Tastings
~Penns Woods wines paired with decadent chocolate treats
~Soothing music playing in the tasting room to set the mood for romance
~Holiday gift basket will be available for purchase

TWIN BROOK WINERY, 5697 Strasburg Rd., Gap, PA; (717)442-4915; www.twinbrookwinery.com
Saturday, February 14, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Valentine’s Day Evening Concert: "Sound of Roses", Admission charged.
Saturday, February 14, 10a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, February 15, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Complimentary tastings

Lehigh Valley wineries sweep Governors Cups

The Governors Cup (right) had a prominent place on the Pinnacle Ridge tasting bar Sunday, with bottles of the winning 2007 Chambourcin on either side of it. Accepting their Cups on Saturday were Mary Sorenti of Cherry Valley Vineyards and Brad Knapp of Pinnacle Ridge. These two photos are courtesy of Emily Caldwell of Penn State, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

Results are out from the 2009 Farm Show competition for Pennsylvania wines, and two Lehigh Valley Wine Trail wineries won Governors Cups. Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown took one in the grape wine category for its 2007 Chambourcin, and Cherry Valley Vineyards in Saylorsburg won in the fruit wine category with its sparkling Blueberry Spumante.

The awards marked the eighth time int he last nine years that members of the wine trail have won at least one Governors Cup. Pinnacle Ridge won with its Chambourcin in 2003, one year after Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery won for its Chambourcin. A total of 237 varieties were entered from 35 wineries across the state.

Here's the list of top winners:
Pinnacle Ridge Winery, 2007 Chambourcin: Best of Show, and Best Hybrid

Heritage Wine Cellars, 2007 Elderberry: Tie- Best of Show Fruit
Cherry Valley Vineyard, Blueberry Spumante: Tie- Best of Show Fruit
Shade Mountain Winery, 2006 Lemberger: Best Vinifera
Antler Ridge Winery, 2007 Red Vixen: Best American, and Best Dessert
Pinnacle Ridge Winery, Curvee Chardonnay: Best Sparkling

Gold medal winners include:
Vynecrest Winery, 2007 First Blush

Benignas Creek Vineyard & Winery, 2007 Traminette
Pickering Winery, 2007 Vignoles
Benignas Creek Vineyard & Winery, 2007 Benignas Tears
West Hanover Winery, Sour Cherry
Antler Ridge Winery, 2007 Diamond
Clover Hill Vineyards, Vignoles
Winfield Winery, 2007 Concord
Clover Hill Vineyards, Concord
Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate, 2007 Seyval Blanc
Clover Hill Vineyards, 2006 Merlot
Greendance the Winery at Sand Hill, 2007 Black Currant
Greendance the Winery at Sand Hill, 2007 Red Raspberry
Heritage Wine Cellars, 2007 Peach Fuzz
Pinnacle Ridge Winery, 2005 Veritas
Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate, 2007 Vignoles

You can find the other recognized wines and wineries at this link.

One label that doesn't bother with alcohol content

Brad Knapp serves up some of his wine behind the tasting bar.

One thing I learned Sunday after visiting Pinnacle Ridge on Sunday, besides the fact that it DID snow somewhere in the region, is that not every winery puts the alcohol content on its labels. I asked owner and winemaker Brad Knapp why he chooses to leave the alcohol percentage off his label, and he later wrote back this explanation.

"If a wine is labeled as 'table wine' then legally the alcohol must fall between 7% and 14%. This is a federal regulation and it is a way around not putting the alcohol content on the label. I try and avoid alcohol content for several reasons. One - it requires extra lab work (either in-house or external). Two - it means the label will have to be changed every year which invokes extra printing costs (new screens/plates etc). For our non-vintage wines (like the naked=2 0chardonnay) we typically print three years of labels at a time to help reduce costs by increasing label printing numbers and avoiding the alcohol percent content makes this easier to do."