Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A wine blogger visits the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

Our friend and wine blogger Paul Vigna recently visited the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail which he has been writing about for years but not really visited.

On a recent Saturday in June, Paul informed us that he would be driving through our region of eastern Pennsylvania on his way to visit family in New Jersey and would have a limited amount of time for winery visits, tours and tastings.

So he chose to visit Clover Hill and Vynecrest wineries which are located just a mile apart from each other in Breinigsville. At Clover Hill he joined a group on a walking tour of the vineyard and winery followed by tastings with co-owner Kari Skrip.

Then he visited with Jan and John Landis of Vynecrest for a peek downstairs in their Vyneskeller, followed by a round of wine tastings at the upstairs tasting bar and a little soccer match watching in the background. All-in-all we think Paul enjoyed his visit and will come back as soon as possible to visit the other seven wineries on the trail.

Paul's main profession is as the sports editor for Harrisburg's Patriot-News daily newspaper. But his love is wine. So his blog, The Wine Classroom, has its home on the web site of his employer. Here's a link to his first blog post about his recent visit, one on Vynecrest entitled "It's the battle of the Chardonnays at Vynecrest Winery." Give it a read and tell us what you think of it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

An update from Vynecrest Winery

Here's the latest from Vynecrest in Breinigsville, as borrowed from their newest e-newsletter.

Did you receive it in your inbox today? If not, then sign up for it here.

New Releases - The 2009 Pinot Noir and Riesling where released this week.

In the Vineyard - Lemberger 6/24/10
2010 continues to be a great year in the vineyard. The weather seems to be cooperating this far.
Currently, we are pulling some leaves from around the grape clusters. This exposes the clusters to sunlight and increases the airflow around the grapes. Next, we will go through and remove some of the grape clusters. This will allow the remaining clusters to ripen properly. We will also hedge the top of the vines that have grown a little too much.

Competition Results - The results for the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition are in and Vynecrest received three medals:
  • 2009 Chardonnay - Silver Medal
  • 2009 Dry Riesling - Silver Medal
  • 2008 Chambourcin - Bronze Medal
  • June Wine of the Month: Riesling (10% off)
  • June Three Pack of the Month: 3 Autumn Gold for $25
  • July Wine of the Month: Late Harvest Vidal (10% off)
  • July Three Pack of the Month: All American Three Pack - Any combination of Niagara or DiVyne Red for $25
There are few additional places to find Vynecrest wine in the region:
  • Cab Frye's Restaurant - Palm, PA
  • Spectators Bar & Grill - Kutztown, PA
  • Macungie Farmers Market - Macungie Memorial Park, every Thursday, June through October from 4pm to 7pm.

Upcoming Events

  • June 26 - Music in the Vyneskeller with Rob & Marty
  • July 10 & 11 - Christmas in July - 25% off a case or more. This special is usually only offered once at the end of the year. Come out and enjoy music both Saturday and Sunday (Art on Saturday; Arianne on Sunday). After enjoying an afternoon of live music, come upstairs and take advantage of the 25% discount off a case or more.
  • July 17 - Music in the Vyneskeller with Rob & Marty
  • July 24 & 25 - Wine on the Mountain - The 9 wineries of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail will again be holding their annual festival at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe. This event will include wine tastings, local artisans displaying their arts and crafts, light fare available for purchase, and live entertainment. Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased in advance at each winery for $10 or at door for $12. This wine festival is inside will be held rain or shine!
For more information Visit
Open 7 days a week. 11 am - 5 pm. Vynecrest will be open July 4 from 10 am - 2 pm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be part of history with The Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast

Want to be part of a history-making event right here in the Lehigh Valley? Then mark your calendars for Saturday, August 14 and plan to attend the "The Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast!" Coordinated by the Pennsylvania Winery Association, this first-time event will attempt to set a world record for the largest wine toast in history. Wineries across the state have been invited to participate and several of our own wineries here in the Valley will be taking part.

But first and foremost, the Winery Association needs a toast to be recited at the big event. They're holding a competition for the best toast,which is no longer than 100 words, on their web site. All entries must be received by Tuesday, July 6, just two weeks away! Then on July 7, the Winery Association will choose the five best toasts and a public poll will be used to determine the Ultimate Pennsylvania Wine Toast.

Each finalist will receive a passport to a wine trail of their choice or a free ticket to a winery event if that wine trail doesn’t have a passport program in place. Each finalist will also receive a PWA t-shirt, corkscrew and wine bag. The Grand Prize will be a 2-night stay in a wine region of choice, dinner with a winemaker and private tour of a winery. This prize will be for two people – the winner and his/her guest. (The grand prize does not include travel costs.)

During the big celebration on August 14, the winning toast will be read by lifelong Pennsylvanian, winery owner, and auto racing legend Mario Andretti, and aired simultaneously at wineries across the Commonwealth!

So if you decide to enter a toast into the contest, please let us know by posting a reply comment on this blog post or on our Facebook fan page.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Have you been watching the "Making of a Vineyard" video series?

Have you been following the series of videos that Franklin Hill Vineyards in Bangor has been making and posting to their YouTube account to document their new vineyard?

They've entitled the video series "Making of a Vineyard" and it documents their process of installing a new vineyard where they will grown the region's signature Chambourcin grape.

So far there are seven videos in the series as well as a few others in the YouTube channel. Most of them averages 2- 3 minutes long and are set to music.

You can also watch a short interview on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail's YouTube Channel with Adam from Franklin Hill taken during AVA Weekend in April in which he talks about the winery's plans for the new vineyard.

You can also follow the winery on Twitter and become a member of their group on Facebook.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Taste Lehigh Valley wines in the Poconos this weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend? Want to get out of town?

Then head north to the Poconos for Split Rock Resort's Great Tastes of Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival. Several of our wineries will have booths there and would love for you to stop by and visit them.

The event runs June 12 & 13 from noon - 6 p.m. both days.

Lehigh Valley WIne Trail wineries in attendance include:
  • Amore
  • Blue Mountain
  • Clover Hill
  • Franklin Hill
  • Sorrenti Cherry Valley
  • Vynerest

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you prefer to go naked?

This post is written by guest blogger and wine aficionado Jim Hutchings.

At Vynecrest Winery’s first Chardonnay Weekend event last weekend, they had two versions of their new Chardonnay: oaked and un-oaked (also called naked Chardonnay). Events like this showcase the versatility of grapes and how such different results can come from a single grape.

The winemakers at each winery craft their wine in different fashions, leaving more residual sugar in the final product or letting it ferment more fully to create a drier wine. We see this with Riesling, Vidal, and Chambourcin at many of the wineries.

A difference in sugar levels makes wildly different wines from the same grape, but so does the introduction of oak to the wine-making process. The addition of oak to a white wine makes a completely different wine.

Personally, I prefer an oaked Chardonnay because of the toasty, buttery taste. This is in stark contrast to the crisp, more fruit-forward unoaked Chardonnay. Naked Chardonnay is still delicious, but with unoaked dry Riesling, Vidal, Seyval, GrĂ¼ner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris wines on the trail, I particularly enjoy how an oaked Chardonnay stands out from the pack.

What are your tastes?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Get the latest from us and our wineries with free e-newsletters

Did you know that we have a free informational e-newsletter that you can sign up for?

Just visit the homepage of our web site. and plug your e-mail into the field at the very bottom of the page and hit submit. It's that easy!

By the way, several of our wineries have free e-newsletters also. Here's a quick rundown with hyperlinks to the pages on their sites where you can register to receive their e-newsletter too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The lastest on what's happening at Pinnacle Ridge

The June e-newsletter from Pinnacle Ridge in Kutztown came out this week and they had some exciting news to share about their newest vintages and this season's growth in the vineyard. See what owners Brad and Christy had to say below.

2008 CABERNET FRANC: 2008 was a very good vintage and we're proud to release this intense example of Cabernet Franc. This Cabernet Franc shows great structure and fruit layered with some toast elements from aging in American oak barrels. We feel this is the BEST VARIETAL CABERNET FRANC we've ever released.

2008 SYRAH: We're trying something a little different with the 2008 Syrah. Based on the number of great, dry barrel-aged reds we have in our line up of wines, we decided to do something different. We aged part of our Syrah in older American oak barrels and the rest of the wine in stainless steel tank. This approach allows the fruit to come through without the influence of wood flavors. Additionally, we finished the wine with just a hint of sweetness.  It is not as sweet as our Quaff but it does come across a little softer than some of our other red wines. If you are starting to enjoy red wines, but find some of them too dry, try our new 2008 SYRAH.
Warning: Vineyard exploding!  As the heat turns up, the vineyard responds with explosive growth.  June is the most exciting time of year in the vineyard.  Every year I am amazed at the tremendous growth that occurs in the vineyard in June. The shoots of the vine grow at such a rate that the change can be seen on a daily basis.  The young flower clusters that form during April and May begin to bloom.  Bloom is when the flowers open, become pollinated and transform into tiny grapes. 

The vineyard workload in June can be very difficult to manage.  The growing shoots have a tendency to flop out of the trellis and need to be placed back into the trellis.  As the shoots climb over the top of the trellis they need to be hedged so that they do not flop over and shade the fruit zone.
2010 started out with a bang with very, very hot weather in early April. We experienced the earliest bud-break since we started growing grapes in 1991. With the early bud-break comes risk from frost damage. We did have some frost damage in the vineyards in Kempton but we feel that the damage will have a minimal impact on our yields this year. The good side to the early bud-break is the growing season started early and should finish early.

Bloom started on May 28, the earliest we have ever seen in our vineyards.  Based on this early bud-break and early bloom, we anticipate having an early harvest. This situation is very advantageous for grape growing.  Early harvest means that there is an increased probability of harvesting before the hurricane rains start. It means the harvest occurs when the weather is warmer resulting in very ripe fruit and concurrent ripe flavors.

We’re excited about the way vintage 2010 is unfolding. Stay tuned.