Two of my aunts and I have discovered a great way to spend a day out in the Laurel Highlands. Winery Hopping! We had gone up for the weekend to our condo at Hidden Valley for a little getaway. The plan had been to hit the Ohiopyle Wine and Art fest with two of my aunts and one of my uncles. It was bound to be a great day until we woke up to rainy skies and a “sold out” sign on the ticket booth. Not be deterred, we decided our day of alcohol tasting would still happen. We pulled out our trusty smart phones and went to Google for the answer. After running a quick search we found several wineries in the area that boasted tasting menus. We didn’t really make a plan; we just hopped in the car and drove to the closest winery.
Interestingly, our group’s tasting preferences ran the gamut. I prefer sweet wines, but am venturing into slightly dryer territory. One of my aunts hadn’t had a whole lot of experience with wine, but was sure she only liked sweet. My other aunt liked that mid range of sweet and dry, and her husband, my uncle, believes the dryer the better! We had a lot of fun finding and touring all of these wineries, hitting 5 in 5 hours. My aunt that had been driving eventually started handing her tasting cups to me, so she could continue driving safely. I, however, was pretty toasty by the time we made it to dinner (at a wine bar! Ha!) We left that weekend with 27 bottles between the 4 of us.
In no particular order, here are the spots we visited.
While the actual winery is located in Chalk Hill, PA we found a satellite shop on I-40 on our way from the wine festival. There may have been reckless driving involved when I pointed out that the small building was a winery. One sharp turn later, we were sampling all they had to offer.
I bought a sparkling white wine called “Lavendar Mist”. It was adorably packaged with a purple mesh bag and ribbon. The flavor wasn’t very heavy on the lavender, but it was quite floral and sweet. I liked the sparkle. At this stage in our winery touring, I was still trying to buy things I couldn’t get at home or wouldn’t normally buy.
We found Greenhouse Winery while we were actually looking for GreenDance Winery. They were pretty close together in name and location. This was my favorite stop because of their HUGE selection of sweet or fruit wines. The location was just a small satellite store in Connellsvile, PA. The storefront was cute and the ladies pouring our samples were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. The main winery is in Irwin, PA. I’m already making plans for a trip just to that site alone because of how much I loved their wine list. It was beautiful.
I bought their Tramp In The Weeds table wine. It was a delicious blush, but I couldn’t tell you more than that. I drank it already.
The grounds of Greendance Winery, tucked away in the rolling hills of Sandhill, PA, were absolutely beautiful. There was live music, orchards to walk through, a country store, and picnic tables everywhere. Had it not been a dreary day, I could have spent hours exploring and relaxing on their grounds. Their tasting bar felt very professional. It was fancy and super busy. Their list was pretty good. All the standard fares were there plus a few fun flavors I hadn’t seen before. The real let down at that point in the day was that the ladies pouring the samples were so overrun with customers at the bar, they didn’t have time to be talkative or sociable at all.
I purchased their Bella Rose. It was a sweet pink wine that was very fruity. The bottle labels were adorable. Their little frog logo is classy and quaint. As a Graphic Designer, I notice and appreciate these things.
4. Stone Villa
Stone Villa Cellars was also an incredibly beautiful venue. The wines here were so good that I spent 15 minutes holding three bottles telling myself I could only take home one! (Always go with a budget in mind.) The grounds were beautiful, and according to the bartender, they have live music every weekend drawing crowds of up to 400 people.
The Pink Catawba is what I ended up bringing home that night. It was so good! The Stonegria was another crowd favorite.
5. Glades Pike
Glades Pike had been on our list all along because it is so conveniently close to our condo, so we had been there before. Their selection was smaller than everyone else’s, but the service was great. The bartender kept filling my tasting glass with different things he thought I might like. I might have upset him when I didn’t like their house favorite, but he was a great host.
I came home with their Bicentennial Blush that I then shared with friends.
Dinner at Main Street Wine Bar
By the time we made it to dinner, I was feeling PRETTY toasty and I had the telltale red cheeks of a drunk ginger. The food was amazing and unfortunately I had already hit my public alcohol consumption limit for the day so I did not sample any of their wonderful looking cocktails. Their Margherita pizza is to die for if you’re stopping by.
This was such a fun day. I’m looking forward to doing it again with a few of my cousins in a few weeks. The only thing I would change is maybe a picnic lunch for one of the pretty gardens at Greendance and having a DD who doesn’t drink, is too young to drink, or is an Uber.