Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Get to know... Chantelle Gendron of Big Creek Vineyard

Which winery do you work for and how long have you worked there?

I work for Big Creek Vineyard - specifically, I manage the Jim Thorpe storefront. Between initially working at the vineyard and then Jim Thorpe, I’ve been with Big Creek for over two years.

What is your favorite wine that your winery makes, and why? What do you like to pair it with?

I’m extremely fond of the Dulcinea. I tend toward semi-sweet aromatic whites, and the balance of the semi-sweet Seyval at 3% residual sugar is just what my palate loves. I also love our semi-sweet Muscat, which is available later in the summer. I pair both with a big wine glass.

What is the most popular question you get asked by visitors about Lehigh Valley wine or wineries, and how do you answer it?

I have heard, “you can grow grapes around here?” a few times now. Yes, we can! It’s all about the region and the terroir of the vineyard - we personally love vines of Seyval, Regent, Frontenac, etc in our vineyard because they are less finicky, while producing superb wines, but we do grow a few “noble," more high maintenance grapes (e.g. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Muscat) that can handle the growing season and survive harsh winters.

What do you like most about local, Lehigh Valley wine and wineries?

It's hard to pick just one thing. I certainly like the diversity that we all offer to anyone living in or visiting the region. Each one of our vineyards is different and unique, which is a fabulous experience, but I also love being part of a vineyard on the Trail because of the camaraderie between us all. It’s always enjoyable meeting other staff members to swap stories and talk shop. I also love when I get the time to visit other vineyards to do tasting and not be the one pouring wine!

What is the one piece of advice you offer to wine lovers traveling along the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail?

Drink what you like. Certainly it’s important to keep an open mind and try wines out of your comfort zone to fully experience what a winery has to offer. I personally like to try a little bit of everything at a winery to get a true sense of what they do. But when purchasing a bottle, enjoy what tastes best to you, and not what you’ve heard you should be drinking.

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