Helping You Find Your NEXT Favorite Wine!

Shade Mountain Winery

I visited a winery vicariously through Tiff yesterday. She and Kristy stopped at the Shade Mountain Winery which is in Middleburg, PA on Route 104. She came home with a bunch of wine, nearly too much to drink but the New Year’s Eve guests gave it a shot! She brought home Blueberry, Peach and Strawberry. Now as you can tell from that wine list, Tiff is a fruit wine lover! Nothing wrong with that! Honestly I like just about all fruit wines!! The group at the unofficial tasting party seemed to like the Strawberry the best. So, the next time you’re headed north toward Route 80, take a side trip to the Shade Mountain Vineyards. You won’t be sorry!!

Yeah, I have to admit. I am definitely a summer kind of gal. But Winter has some advantages when it comes to wine. For instance, when you visit a winery in the Winter, it’s not nearly as crowded as it is usually in the Summer. Most wineries offer special pricing for folks willing to brave the snow and ice and January and February will bring a host of wine festivals. So, check out your local winery and see where the next available festival will be held. I plan to attend the ground Hog Wine Festival held the first Saturday after Ground Hog’s Day in Clearfield. Yes the next day is the Super Bowl so, if you go to the festival you’ll have something to drink with your friends during the game : )

Gettysburg Wine

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful in Central PA. The kids were all home so we decided to go for a ride. The back roads led us to Cashtown, PA just outside of Gettysburg. Much to our delight there are two wonderful wineries within just a couple of miles of each other. the Adams County Winery and the Houser Estate Winery.

Both establishments have fine wines and very different styles and approaches to the experience. Lets start with Adams County Winery. These folks really embrace the proximity to Gettysburg and the Civil War. They have labels that signify their Civil War heritage like “Tears of Gettysburg”, “Rebel Red” and “Yankee Blue.”

This winery experience brings you into their tasting barn that has a very well stocked tasting room and a couple of really nice dogs. one of their wines is named after their baby puppy Golden Retriever, Rusty. “Rusty’s Red” is a yummy, sweet red wine that is the wineries newest red wine.

Adams County offers wine making classes, wine tours and does a concert series throughout the summer. You’ll feel right at home in this country setting. Stop in and pet one of the dogs, and if you’re like me and travel with your furry friends, they’re welcome too – just not in the tasting room : ).

After we were finished at the Adams County Winery, we made our way up the hill to the Houser Estate Winery. There is one word that describes the view from their patio…AMAZING!!! These folks are fairly new to the winery biz. Polly opened it a few years ago so she could be with her kids. Way to go Polly!!!! This place has a very mature palette and in addition to some very upscale wines they sell hard cider!!!  I ask, how cool is that??? LOVED IT!!! Even though one of the brands is named after grandma Helen, this really isn’t your grandma’s cider. Jack’s Hard Cider, named after Father Jack comes in a few different flavors, including Helen’s Blend and Rome (named after the apple its made from.) Now here’s the cool part. The apples are grown right there outside the winery. Adams County, PA is known for its apples and now it will be known for its cider! Yes, we bought a lot of cider and plan to use it for our Thanksgiving feast.

We loved this place, the owner is VERY friendly and I highly recommend checking out their wine also. We tasted the 2008 Reserve Chambourcin, the 2008 Reserve Cabernet Franc and the 2008 Meritage. Wow, these are all very fine wines made for the most mature palette. I have to say my favorite was the Meritage that reminded me of maraschino cherries. I couldn’t help but think how good it would be with chocolate – YUM!!!!

The next time you’re in Gettysburg checking out the battlefield make sure you save some time to check out these wonderful wineries. You will NOT be disappointed.

As I mentioned earlier we visited these wonderful wineries during the third weekend of November, just before Thanksgiving. Now it should have been cold, it usually is this time of the year but this year it was not. Like I said earlier, all of my kids were home, something that doesn’t happen all that often anymore. We came home from visiting these wineries that night and built a fire on the patio and drank wine under the November sky. What a wonderful weekend. Hope you can have one just like it really soon. Cheers!

Seven Mountains Winery

Hi gang!

Pam, Rose and I took a drive this past weekend and found ourselves at 7 Mountains Winery. I took some video, but had some sound problems.  Anyway, its a great place nestled between State College and Lewistown. You turn right where the four lane ends, US Route 322.

They have been open for business just a year and already have a tremendous following. They are even hosting a Wine Cruise in Feb 2011!  We brought home four new friends. Our favorite of the day was the Strawberry! It reminds you of cotton candy and has the best color resting in your glass.

Put this one on your to do list!

John

Milheim Wine Shop

What a delightful surprise we had yesterday (Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010). We were on our way to Sunbury to catch a Tournament of Bands show. We were traveling up Route 45 and on our way through Milheim we noticed a lonely little sign on the way through town that simply said “Wine Shop.” We had no intentions of finding a wine shop yesterday because we were going to visit some relatives and then attend the show, but geez there it was beckoning us to stop. So we went to the corner, turned around and parked.

It’s set in this old house. Inside we found nothing all that fancy but they were selling NUMEROUS bottles of vino from two local wineries. Brookmere and Shade Mountain Wineries. Brookmere is located in Belleville in Mifflin County and Shade Mountain is  in Middleburg, just west of Selinsgrove, in Snyder County.

This place is a tasting room for these two extraordinary wineries. Brookmere has some really nice selections from their sangria to their newly labeled “Bear-ies gone wild” that has a picture of a big ole black bear on it. John’s favorite from Brookmere is Frog Hollow which is a blush niagara. YUM! And for the dryer pallete at Brookmere they have a good seller called Tears of the Goose.

Now this was the first time I have ever tasted anything from Shade Mountain. Oddly, on the way to Milheim, my cousin Rose said, “Have you ever had wine from Shade Mountain?” Of course we hadn’t, then this wine shop appeared – weird huh? So naturally we tried the Shade Mountain wine. Guys, they have a mint wine – yeah really I said Mint! They included it with a recipe for Mojito’s. That just screams FUN on a warm summer night or a cold winter’s day by the fire!

Shade Mountain also has two Red wines called Jack’s Mountain Red and Rascal Red – both sweet (yep that made me happy) and both full of taste. Shade Mountain offers a dryer selection called Proprietors Red which was also the 2010 Farm Show Bronze Medal Winner.We all know I’m not a super dry wine fan, but honestly this wine was good. Smooth and robust and would pair very well with red meat or cheese.

Check out both of these wineries on their own, or if you’re looking for a nice drive, head north on Route 45, stop at Penn’s Cave, and then make a point to drop by the Wine Shop in Milheim.

Groundhog Wine Trail

We spent our 10/10/10 exploring Clearfield and Elk Counties and wondered into an old favorite and a brand new favorite winery.

First the old favorite –Starr Hill Winery
located just outside of Curwensville, PA they are home to one of my all-time favorite red wines – Bailey Road Red. I first discovered it during the Ground Hog Trail Wine Festival held the weekend before the Super Bowl at the Clearfield Fair Grounds. I bought it initially because my dog’s name at the time was Bailey : ), but the full rich bodied red really catches my taste buds and makes them happy. In case no-one has figured this out yet, I like sweet wine, not that there’s anything wrong with liking dry wine, I just don’t. So if you’re in the mood for a full- bodied red, try Bailey Road Red. Much to my delight they also have a Bailey Road White. Completely different that the red, but still delicious!!!

Check out the picture from the front door of their shop. Beautiful!!!!

Here’s a video John took!, not me, so its a little shaky…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU_uga7ifwQ

We then drove on in search of an elk so one of my kids, Tiffer could see one. She had never seen an elk in the wild and was pretty sure they were fake so we went to Benezette. They just opened their new visitors center this weekend so they place as packed, BUT we were successful!!! We saw two elk, big beautiful creatures.

As we left Benezette we took the shortcut up to St. Mary’s. As we rounded the bend on Route 255 just before the Elk County Capitol we found the Elk Mountain Winery!

These guys are brand new, only been in the business a month and already have a following. Their building is beautiful with a back room to sit and drink your favorite wine. And speaking of my favorite wine, I said I found an old favorite and a new favorite. My new Fav is Jazzy Red from Elk Mountain. Sweet and robust. Really a nice texture and the name is FUN!!! The owner, Jen opened her winery so she could spend time with her kids! Way to go Jen!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxTVPsYa0ek

I highly recommend both of these wineries as well as all the other Ground Hog Trail Wineries and don’t forget the Wine Trail Festival on February 5, 2011!!!

Can’t wait – next week we’re off to one of my most favorite parts of the world, Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The whole place is just like home except with water, lots of water. All that water and warm temps should make the climate perfect for growing grapes. So while we’re at the beach we’ve found a couple of interesting wineries to visit!! Ocean City + Wine = FUN!!!

see ya next week – I’ll tell you all about the new stuff we collect!

Oh and P.S. if you want t check it out before we tell you all about it visit the Chesapeake Wine Trail – http://www.chesapeakewinetrail.com/