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Stomp, smash and sip your way across Pennsylvania this fall during grape harvest season

Pennsylvania’s wineries host dozens of events September–November, from the progressive Wine & Treat along Route 6 to the unveiling of 13 new vintages in the Susquehanna Valley.

HARRISBURG, Pa (Sept. 23, 2013) – September begins grape harvest season in Pennsylvania, and the state’s wineries are preparing to celebrate in a big way—from big band concerts and picnics to organized grape stomps and tastings. The season runs through November and includes dozens of events.

“No matter where you are in Pennsylvania, you’re less than an hour’s drive from at least one winery,” said Jennifer Eckinger, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association. “Heading to a vineyard is a perfect weekend escape, while the leaves are changing and the temperature is cooling off. I can’t think of a better place to be than in the country with a glass of wine in hand.”

Pennsylvania is the fifth-largest grower of grapes in the nation, and picking that many grapes is no small task. So, as the vineyards come alive during the harvest season, winery owners—many of them second- and third-generation owners—invite their neighbors in to help. The resulting gatherings among family and friends have grown into community traditions over the years, and they are now open to the public, with special events such as concerts, tastings and grape stomps planned throughout the season … no picking required, Eckinger added.

A comprehensive list of events is available online at PennsylvaniaWine.com, but here is a selection from across the Commonwealth and its 12 winding wine trails:

• SouthEast Pennsylvania

Sept. 14-15

THE BUTCHER, THE BAKER, AND THE WINE MAKER

At each of eight wineries of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

Wineries in the Lehigh Valley are teaming up with other growers and manufacturers in the Pennsylvania Preferred program to offer tastings and wine pairings, as well as tours of the vineyards and live entertainment. Event times vary by winery between 10am–5pm on Saturday and noon–5pm on Sunday. lehighvalleywinetrail.com

• SouthEast Pennsylvania

Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6

11th ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL

At each of eight wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail

The members of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail have organized grape stomps as a kick-off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Dates and times vary by winery, but visitors can participate for a minimum donation of $5. The monies raised support two local charities: the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Many of the wineries also welcome picnicking, offer hayrides and host events, such as BBQs and live entertainment. bvwinetrail.com

• SouthWest Pennsylvania

Oct. 5

MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER – HALLOWEEN EDITION

Christian W. Klay Winery, 412 Fayette Springs Road, Chalk Hill

A whodunit with wine! Join the Christian W. Klay Winery for one its most popular events of the year—a murder mystery set aside the magnificent fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands. Tickets are $40/person and include a buffet dinner and award-winning wines. For reservations, call 724-439-3424. cwklaywinery.com

• SouthEast Pennsylvania

Oct. 12-13

HARVEST CELEBRATION

At each of nine wineries of the Bucks County Wine Trail

Taste freshly pressed juice and newly fermented wine in the gentle rolling hills of Bucks County. The nine world-class wineries that dot the Bucks County Wine Trail are only minutes apart—a beautiful drive between 200-year-old estates and historic barns. buckscountywinetrail.com

• NorthEast Pennsylvania

Oct. 19-20

WINE & TREAT

At each of eight wineries of the Endless Mountains Wine Trail

A spooky, progressive Halloween-themed weekend along Pennsylvania’s scenic Route 6 corridor! Tickets are $15 for wine tasters (and $7 for designated drivers) and include activities at each of the eight participating wineries, which turn out mostly dry, semi-dry and sweet wines. endlessmountainswinetrail.com

• NorthWest Pennsylvania

Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 8-10

HARVEST WINE WEEKENDS

At each of the 23 wineries of the Lake Erie Wine Country

Explore the rolling hills around Lake Erie with six days of festivities in early November. This ticketed event includes activities at 23 different wineries along the Pennsylvania/New York border—food/wine tastings (with recipes you can make at home), a souvenir gift and a limited edition Lake Erie Wine Country glass. Tickets are $39 (or $22 for designated drivers). There are events at all 23 wineries, eight of which double as official “starting” points. lakeeriewinecountry.org

• North/South Central Pennsylvania

Nov. 9-10

SUSQUEHANNA HEARTLAND NOUVEAU WEEKEND

At each of 13 wineries of the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail

The wineries that dot the north-south Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail will each unveil a new vintage—13 in all—as part of the annual Nouveau Weekend. Events and special programs are planned at each winery, from food pairings to live entertainment. Shade Mountain Vineyards in Middleburg is hosting Johanna Kodlick for a free outdoor concert in their vineyard on Saturday, for example. Actual event times vary by winery between 10am–5pm on Saturday and Sunday. pawinetrail.com

• SouthCentral Pennsylvania

Nov. 9-10 and Nov. 16-17

JUST OFF THE VINE

At each of the 23 wineries of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail

Go behind the scenes for exclusive tastings of Nouveau and the newly pressed wines fresh from the harvest. Uncover the secrets of pressing perfection as the experts open their cellar doors and invite you in for a sneak peek, featuring special presentations and winemaker-selected pairings. Tickets are $15 or $5 for designated drivers. Noon–5pm daily. masondixonwinetrail.com

 

ABOUT THE PENNSYLVANIA WINERY ASSOCIATION

The Pennsylvania Winery Association is a trade association representing more than 100 member wineries and an advocate on behalf of the state’s growing multi-billion dollar wine industry. With some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the East Coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in the amount of grapes grown, seventh in wine production, and seventh in the number of licensed wineries. The climate and sheer size of the state also allow for dozens of varietals to be grown—more than any other state. There are wineries in every region, and many of them are family-owned and -operated, continuing a centuries-old tradition that began in 1683 when William Penn planted the first vineyard in Philadelphia. Today, Pennsylvania’s wineries host events year-round, and most sell their vintages directly through their own tasting rooms. Most are also part of 12 organized wine trails that weave across the state—in fact, visitors to Pennsylvania are always within a 45-minute drive of a winery. To learn more about Pennsylvania wine or to plan your trip, visit PennsylvaniaWine.com.

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