Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vineyard Tours, Wine Tastings and PA Preferred Partners Highlight Our Annual Harvest Weekend Celebration

On Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9, the members of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail will celebrate the grape harvest with its annual Harvest Weekend event. The eight wineries will welcome wine lovers for tastings, vineyard and winery tours, food and wine pairings, and live entertainment.

The wineries will also proudly promote the state’s “Pennsylvania Preferred” program by partnering with manufacturers of other Pennsylvania products to showcase their high level of quality. Event hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon - 5 p.m.

*Please note: Harvest Weekend is a free event; however, each winery sets its own wine tasting fee policy. Please refer to the Wine Trail’s web site or each winery’s web site for details.

The Lehigh Valley Wine Trail is a non-profit organization of wineries whose mission is to promote agri-tourism and to create a premier wine destination and grape growing region while promoting Pennsylvania wines from the region.

For more information on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, visit www.LehighValleyWineTrail.com.


Amoré Vineyards & Winery, Nazareth - Will pair asiago and risotto bites with Cabaret Amore as well as assorted quiche with Chardonnay. In addition, their fall hardy mums and fresh home grown fruits and vegetables will be available at the roadside market as well as sweet corn, tomatoes, melons and peaches.

Big Creek Vineyard and Winery, Kresgeville - Will offer fresh, tree-ripened fruit from nearby Heckman Orchards.

Blue Mountain Vineyards, New Tripoli – On Saturday enjoy free live music from 1-4 p.m. and take a self-guided vineyard tour. On Sunday, take a self-guided vineyard tour, and join them for Sunday Blues from 2-5 p.m. ($5 admission) with The Large Flowerheads. Reservations are recommended for Sunday Blues.

Both days, try samples of kiffles and rolls including walnut, raspberry, apricot, Nutella, peanut butter and chocolate, and strawberry and chocolate. The samples of rolls will be walnut, apricot, and poppy seed.

Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery, Breinigsville
– Will partner with Unique Pretzel Bakery, Inc., of Reading. Just as the winery is a family-owned and operated business, Unique Pretzel Bakery is family owned since the late 1800’s. Since Unique Pretzel Bakery’s last visit to Clover Hill they have grown and are producing new products that they will be sharing. Pair a Unique chocolate covered pretzel with a glass of Clover Hill Turtle Rock Red. 

Franklin Hill Vineyards, Bangor – Will celebrate the beauty of their rolling countryside and the delectable fruits of their labors along with local favorites McCollian’s Pure Honey, Kachline's apples, Klein’s cheese and an array of snacks and wine. Take a leisurely tour of the winery at noon and 2 p.m., or kick back on the deck or picnic area and enjoy the sounds of Robert Michaels as he serenades guests.

Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery, Andreas – Will feature tractor and wagon tours of the vineyard and cellar, departing each day at 1, 2, 3, & 4 p.m. (weather permitting).  Enjoy lunch or a snack from Love Hot Dog Co (http://lovehotdogco.com) who will be selling gourmet sausages, dogs and chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick from their mobile restaurant.

Pinnacle Ridge, Kutztown - Will hold its annual Blues in the Barn event. On Saturday, the Wallace Brothers Band will perform at 12:30 pm and the Mighty Manatees from Montgomery County will take the stage at 4 p.m.  On Sunday, the James Supra Blues Band entertains at 1 p.m., with the Kelchner Brothers taking the stage at 4:30 p.m.  Chef Ben will have pulled pork sandwiches and other goodies available for sale.

Vynecrest Winery, Breinigsville - Has invited their fellow PA Preferred Macungie Farmers Market vendors to set up booths in the winery’s parking lot both days from noon to 4 p.m. They include Bleiler's Produce Patch (organic produce), Mrs. McNabb’s Baked Beans (beans, macaroni salad, pierogies), and Hereford Country Store (quiches, cakes).

The winery will offer samples of Hereford Country Store’s lemon poppy seed pound cake paired with Blueberry Wine. Art’s Acoustic Oldies will be playing live in the Vyneskeller from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Go on a guided Winemaker’s Tour at 1 p.m. both days. Tours are open to the public and free of charge.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Try a wine cocktail this Labor Day Weekend

If you're a wine lover then you probably already cook with wine. But have you ever used wine to make a cocktail? Maybe all you need is the right recipe in order to give it a try. Here are a few favorites from Clover Hill Winery in Breinigsville and Franklin Hill Vineyards in Bangor to try this Labor Day Weekend.

Clover Hill:

Wicked Turtle
~2 oz. Turtle Rock Red
~1 oz. Passion fruit rum
~2 oz. lemon-lime soda

Pour into a chilled glass for a single serving, or for a crowd pleaser, pour it in your favorite pitcher.

Peach Sangria
~1 bottle Clover Hill Rose
~1/2 cup peach Schnapps
~1/4-1/2 cup pineapple juice
~6 oz. peach nectar
~Lemon lime soda

~1 lemon
~1 lime
~1 orange
~1/4-1/3 cup orange liqueur (optional)

Cut lemon, lime and orange into think 1/4' slices. Mix together wine, schnapps, pineapple juice, peach nectar, and orange liqueur (optional). Add lemon lime soda to desired taste. Add sliced fruit and enjoy!

Franklin Hill:

Mango Tango Martini
3 parts Franklin Hill Vineyards Desire
1 part vodka
Triple Sec Liqueur (splash)
1/4 lime
Tang drink mix

Rim martini glass with Tang. Pour Desire, vodka, and a splash of Triple Sec liqueur into glass with ice. Squeeze lime into glass. Stir and strain into rimmed martini glass then garnish with an orange slice.

White Sangria Punch
1 bottle Franklin Hill Vineyards White Sangria
1 2 liter bottle of Sprite
1 64 oz container orange pineapple juice
1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
oranges and cherries for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a large punch bowl, add ice. Add sliced oranges and maraschino cherries. Float frozen orange juice concentrate in big scoops in bowl. Invite plenty of friends over and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ya gotta have friends!

Everyone needs friends to help support them, and our Lehigh Valley Wine Trail wineries are no different. We have partners throughout the region that work with us to promote and sell our wines. We consider them to be our Trail Friends. We are happy to be associated with them and encourage you to support them as well.

You can find a complete list on our web site here.

Here is a list of area restaurants that serve some of our wines:

Spectator’s Bar & Grille, Kutztown
John Jeffries, Lancaster
Iron Horse Inn, Strasburg
La Cocina Mexicana, Kutztown
Camillo's, Kutztown
Gibraltar, Lancaster
Kempton Hotel, Kempton
The Farmhouse, Emmaus
Villa Lentini, Coplay
Bricco, Harrisburg
Romano’s Restaurant & Bar, Andreas
Curious Goods at Bake Oven Inn, Germansville
Brew Works on the Green, Allentown
Restaurant at the Station, Tamaqua
Blue Monkey, North Catasauqua
Olde Homestead Golf Course, New Tripoli
West Reading Tavern, West Reading
Allentown Brew Works, Allentown
Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem
Broadway Pub, Bangor
Woody’s, Gaston
Apollo Grill, Bethlehem
Carr's Restaurant, Lancaster

Here is the list of area farmers' markets that some of our wineries participate in:

Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market
Amore Farms and Greenhouses
Bala Cynwyd Farmers’ Market
Emmaus Farmers’ Market
Macungie Farmers’ Market
Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia
Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Clover Hill releases its "Naked" Chardonnay

Grape harvest is just around the corner!

August is one of our favorite times of the year. The vineyards are in great shape and are going through veraison which is the transition from berry growth to berry ripening. This is the final step before harvest. Keep up to date on the 2012 vintage by liking us on Facebook.

We have released the 2010 Generations N~Chard. This is a limited edition of unoaked Chardonnay (naked Chardonnay) and a favorite of our winemaker, John Skrip III. Of course he is bias because the Chardonnay grapes came from Clover Hill’s Sunset Vineyard, which happens to be where his house is located. The wine is rich in flavors of cantaloupe, melon and apricot and bright with fresh, clean acidity. Also, the very popular Strawberry Merlot is nearly sold out, so get it while you can!

Our event schedule features wonderful ways to enjoy your visit to Clover Hill Winery or you can come on a quieter weekday and enjoy a glass of wine on the patio with a picnic. Our Robesonia location in Berks County is now open seven days a week: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Sunday noon - 5 p.m.

Thank you for choosing Clover Hill wines. There is no better month to enjoy locally grown foods with a glass of our locally produced wine than the month of August!

Owner's Selection - Vidal Blanc

A haven of fruit and tropical flavors such as lemon, melon, and pineapple, there is a slight sweetness in this wine that balances the bright, fresh acidity. Vidal Blanc pairs nicely with Mexican, Thai or Asian foods.
Here are our favorite recipes for Vidal Blanc. Receive an additional 10% discount on the Owner's Selection when included in a case purchase.

Dan's Camera City Photo Shoot at Clover Hill Winery - Shoot to Learn
Sunday, August 19 from 10 a.m. - noon

Clover Hill is again partnering with Dan’s Camera City to help broaden your experience and become a well-rounded photographer. Dan's Camera City’s new class series titled “Shoot to Learn” offers many photo shoot opportunities. This series of on-location photo outings are led by knowledgeable and experienced Dan's Camera experts.

So that every student gets plenty of personal attention, each session has a limited number of tickets available. Tickets are $64.99. To learn more about this exciting experience or to register for the class please visit http://www.danscamera.com/shoot-to-learn/.

Cooking with Wine Main Dish Salad Contest
The Great Allentown Fair

Live judging - August 31 at 7 pm

Show off your ability to cook with wine at the Clover Hill sponsored 'Cooking with Wine Main Dish Salad Contest'. With wine moving to the forefront as America's beverage choice use your imagination, and your choice of Clover Hill Wine to create your favorite main dish salad. The competition is judged on: 60% taste appeal, 20% appearance and 20% originality of the recipe.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sangria and Ruby Rose are August wine specials at Blue Mountain

August Specials at Blue Mountain Vineyards

$2 off Sangria - A blend of concord & natural fruit juices of strawberry, red raspberry and cherry-

$1 off Ruby Rose - Produced from Chambourcin grapes, this wine is ripe raspberry and watermelon on the palate. This chillable semi-dry red wine is perfect for picnics-

Sangria Sundays Schedule
2 - 5 p.m.
  • 8/5 Hank Jones
  • 8/12 Wow Brothers
  • 8/19 Rob and Marty
  • 8/26 Jake Kaligis and Mike Rauscher's Dynamic Duo
$5 admission per person includes a wine tasting. Pack a lunch, get together with friends, and enjoy great music while sipping on some award-winning wines! If reservations are made we ask that you arrive by 2:15 p.m. Adults ages 21 and older only please. Call or email us for reservations!

August Events

Seven Springs Wine & Food Festival
August 25 and 26 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Seven Springs Resort

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Veraison comes to Vynecrest

The year is flying by. It is hard to believe we will be picking grapes by the end of the month. We have some great music lined up this month with some of the Vynecrest favorites as well as a couple of new artists.

August Specials

Wine of the Month - Blueberry, additional 10% off
Three Pack of the Month - 3 Autumn Gold for $25
**at winery only; 3 pack can't be combined with other discounts

Upcoming Events
  • August 9 - Macungie Farmer's Market, Memorial Park, 4 -  7pm
  • August 11 - Live music in the Vyneskeller, Jake Kaligis, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • August 16 - Macungie Farmer's Market, Memorial Park, 4 - 7 pm
  • August 18 - Live music in the Vyneskeller, Connie Edinger, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • August 25 - Live music in the Vyneskeller, Valerie Borman, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • August 26
    • Jazz Sunday, Live music in the Vyneskeller, Body & Soul, 12:30-3:30 pm
    • Tour of the vineyard & wine cellar with the winemaker, 1 pm, $5 per person
  • August 30 - Macungie Farmer's Market, Memorial Park, 4 - 7 pm
  • September 1 - Live music in the Vyneskeller, Mallon Hill, 1:30-4:30 pm

In The Vineyard

It's an exciting time in the vineyard. Veraison has started and the grapes are beginning to change color. While this change in color means harvest is getting closer, it is also a signal to the birds that the grapes are ready to eat.

So if you stop by the winery and see someone chasing after the birds on a 4-wheeler and yelling, we aren't crazy (yet), we are just trying to scare the birds away so we have something to pick next month.

Glass Half Empty

By Jan Landis

John and I go to Maine on vacation every year. This year, the sailing camp we go to twisted our arm to do a wine tasting. Usually we don’t mix business and pleasure, but agreed to do it on a small scale by mixing chocolates in to the deal.

As some of you know if you have visited the winery in the past few months, we now have wonderful chocolate bars available from Sweet Indulgence by Christina from Bethlehem. We have developed a flight of five chocolate bars paired with our wines. We took three of these to Maine, including a white chocolate with lemon to pair with our blueberry wine. Maine is known for lobsters and blueberries, so it seemed like a no-brainer to do a wine pairing with blueberry wine in Maine.

Everyone loved the fun idea of pairing the wine and chocolate. People naturally think of red wine paired with red meat and white wine paired with chicken or fish, but the idea of wine and chocolate is more unconventional, but a great treat!

I’m hoping to do a similar type of pairing here at the winery some Friday night this fall. The boys are all very busy in the fall with harvest, but I thought this is something I could do on my own once the weather cools down. So look for an announcement perhaps in the next newsletter about a fun event of a flight of wine and chocolate.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Late-summer at Pinnacle Ridge

Saturday, August 4 from 2 - 5 p.m.

During the Saturday portion of the Berks County Wine Trail's Christmas in August event the third installment of Pinnacle Ridge's Summer Concert Series  will be taking place.  We thank the Wallace Brothers Band for performing last month, but if you missed them, there is still time to sit back and relax with great tunes and cool wine.  

We are happy to have The Hannah Violet Trio performing on August 4th!  This very talented musician, singer-songwriter plays the fiddle, guitar, piano, and sings her heart out!  She has toured through out Europe with the American Music Abroad Choir and sang in Austria and Switzerland.  Hannah has also created a Music Therapy program for Heartland Hospice in Reading.  She is currently back in the studio of Jim Heffernan, dobro player/guitarist who toured with Brad Paisley and Joe Diffie, to record her upoming CD "Violet Sky". Check out Hannah's blog and music schedule at http://www.hannahviolet.com.rom.

There is no cover charge for this event.  Chef Ben Underwood will again have his delicous creations for sale and of course there will be Pinnacle Ridge wine available for purchase.

Upcoming Music:

September 8 from noon -5 p.m. - Blues in the Barn - The Wallace Brothers Band - Mighty Manatees - www.themightymanatees.com

September 9 from noon - 5 p.m. - Blues in the Barn - James Supra Blues Band - Kelchner Brothers Band - www.kelchnerbrothers.com

October 6 from 2 - 5 p.m. - Jack Murray and the Midnight Creeps


We recently released a variety of new wines in the past month including our 2010 Chambourcin and 2010 Syrah. The new 2011 white offerings are crisp and fruity. The 2010 Veritas and 2010 Chambourcin Reserve will be released in either late August or early September. These are exciting wines and are definitely worth the trip to the winery.


As the summer lumbers along, the days get shorter, the nights longer, those lazy afternoons with sweltering heat, katydids, cicadas, frog sounds. A delicious melody indeed. During this time of year activity in the vineyard also starts to slow down. The vines begin the process of focusing on ripening fruit. The green shoots start to turn brown and harden. The shoot tips stop growing. Canopy management activities stop. Basically we wait for the vines to ripen their crop. So it’s a time for the winemaker and other winery personnel to kick back and relax, right? Wrong!

This is the time of year that we start to think very hard about the upcoming harvest. Harvest, of course, is the most active time of the year at any winery. Everything has to be operational - the destemmer, crusher, press, clarification equipment, pumps, refrigeration equipment, hoses, tractors, etc. Everything has to be clean and ready for the receipt of this year's vintage. Do we have enough tank space for the whites? Are there enough bins for fermentation of the red grapes? Do we have enough barrels? Have we bottled everything that we have to in order to get through the fall without running out of wine? Do we have enough supplies, yeast, enzymes, and bacteria? It's a complex process planning for a small winery that produces over 20 types of wines. There are many small lots of grapes that are treated as individual batches until it is time to blend. We will be processing something like 80 tons of grapes and most of the batches are no larger than four tons. So we will end up with over 30 "batches" of wine in the cellar during harvest. It can get very confusing remembering what is what and where everything is. If you get behind on record keeping, it's a lost cause.  What yeast strain for Dry Vidal? What enzymes for the new Chambourcin?

It is also the most exciting time of the year. Every vintage is optimistic at this point in time and, as a winemaker, looking at the New Year is always a glass half-full (half-full of what you might add). I personally get very optimistic and fired up to tackle any problem thrown at me. I can't allow myself to get beaten down by the sheer magnitude of the harvest. I have to keep going, I have to get up, spread the lugs, meet the pickers, and orchestrate the picking so everybody is harvesting the right vines, in the right way. If there is rot, it must be picked out in the field. It all just has to be done - no excuses, just get it done.

Oh, and some of you might have noticed a rather large (6' 2"), young man running around the winery the last few weeks. My son is visiting while on break from his studies in enology (winemaking) at California Polytechnic State University (otherwise known as Cal Poly) at San Luis Obispo. He has to head back soon so I don't get to abuse him this harvest. Two years down and two to go.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Plan ahead for three fall Wine Trail events

If you didn't make it to last weekend's Wine on the Mountain event at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, don't worry. There are still three more opportunities this fall to participate in a Lehigh Valley Wine Trail event. Here's a quick overview. Be sure to check our web site for more event details when each event gets closer.

Harvest Weekend - The Butcher, The Baker and The Winemaker
September 8 and 9

When fall rolls around, it’s time to celebrate the kick-off of harvest season! At this event, the wineries proudly promote the state’s Pennsylvania Preferred program by partnering with manufacturers of other Pennsylvania products to showcase their high level of quality. Wine pairings, vineyard tours, food, music and other special activities are featured.

Chambourcin Weekend
October 20 and 21

Taking place after the harvest is over, this event celebrates the official wine grape of the Lehigh Valley, the Chambourcin. This versatile wine is available in Nouveau, Rose, Semi-Sweet, Sweet, Dry Barrel Aged, Sparkling, and Port.

As you explore the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail during this event, be sure to taste each winery’s Chambourcin and see how the flavors vary within the same region. Or better yet, buy a bottle of each to take home with you a conduct a formal tasting of your own.

Nouveau Weekend
November 17 and 18

This is the earliest chance to sample the first vintages of the new harvest. Nouveau wines are light, fruity and semi-dry to dry red wines. It’s also a great opportunity to purchase wines for the upcoming holiday season to give as gifts or to drink at dinner. March Madness passports also go on sale this weekend, so get them before they sell out.