Wine country in Pennsylvania and New Jersey may not be as well known as say, Napa, California, but there are many area wineries offering a cozy fall tasting experience. Arindam Basu, educator at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, recently shared his recommendations for hitting up wineries near Philadelphia on City Cast Philly. Here they are (with some of our own research, too).
In 1682, William Penn planted grapes to make wine in what is now Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, according to the Pennsylvania Winery Association. By 1900, wine production had spread to every county in the commonwealth. Today, there are more than 400 vineyards in Pennsylvania, while neighboring New Jersey is home to 50 licensed wineries.
What To Expect
Area vineyards offer a wide variety of experiences. Some invite food trucks or bands to perform on the weekend, while others specialize in low-key tastings with cheese and crackers. Basu recommends calling ahead if you’re planning to visit on a busy fall weekend, to make sure you can get in. Ask if the winery has rules about bringing kids, or bringing a dog, if you are planning an excursion for the whole family. Some wineries allow outside food, but many do not, so it’s best to do your research before visiting.
What Kinds of Wine You’ll Find
Most local wineries make a broad range of wines, said Basu. Rosés and blushes are popular, as are sweeter wines like moscato. Hybrid varieties such as Vidal Blanc, a white grape, or Chambourcin, made from red grapes, abound in our area. Vidal is often used to make a sweet, dessert wine, which Chambourcin is often pressed to make dry red wines, or blended with other reds, according to Basu.
Here are his picks for wineries to visit, all within a couple hours of Philly.
- Penns Woods Winery
- Chaddsford Winery
- Karamoor Estate Vineyard and Winery
- Va La Vineyards
- Vox Vineti
- Wayvine Winery & Vineyard
In New Jersey:
- William Heritage Winery
- Auburn Road
- Stokelan Estate Winery
- White Horse Winery
- Amalthea Cellars
- Valenzano Family Winery
🍇 For more wine tour ideas, check out Pennsylvania's Wine Trails.