Wine Tasting In Chester County, PA! A Little Old And A Lot New!
As you know if you read my blog, I love wine! There are dozens of famous wine regions around the world, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of them.
I’m also lucky, because if I want to visit some really nice wineries, I don’t have to drive too far. Pennsylvania has over 200 wineries across the state, and a number of those are within an hour drive of Philadelphia.
I regularly visit a number of wineries in Bucks and Chester Counties. You can read about those wineries here:
Wine Tasting in Pennsylvania! Wineries to Visit in Bucks and Chester Counties!
A couple of weeks ago, I realized there were some newer wineries in the area that I hadn’t visited yet, as well as a couple of older wineries that I hadn’t visited in a while. It was time to change that!
Keep reading to discover a few wineries in Chester County that you should check out!
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WAYVINE WINERY & VINEYARD
ABOUT THE WINERY
Like many small wineries, WAYVINE is family owned and operated. Zachary Wilson heads up the operation and is the main winemaker. However, he has plenty of help from younger brother James. Mom Nancy runs the tasting room (she gave us our tasting when we visited) and Dad Dave is the vineyard manager.
WAYVINE has a charming tasting room along with an outdoor patio area in the back.
What is probably most impressive about WAYVINE and the quality of their wines, is that Zach is self-taught. He attended Penn State for agricultural business, but was never formally educated in the art (and science) of wine making.
Their first vines were planted in April of 2010, followed by a second planting in April of 2011. At the end of that second growing season, they found themselves with a decent crop of grapes. So, they sold them to another local winery – Borderland Vineyard.
After this successful first crop, Zach decided it was time to learn to make wine and bottle it himself. There was a lot of trial and error, but eventually the WAYVINE brand was born!
According to Nancy, WAYVINE doesn’t add any chemicals to their wines, other than a small amount of sulfites to help make sure the wine can last a few years. I had a chance to try several of the wines, and they were so good that I went home with a case!
2017 Gruner Veltliner: This was one of the wines I ended up taking home. It’s a young wine and has a bit of effervescence. It reminds me a lot of the green wine that I had in Portugal. Very light and refreshing.
2018 Riesling: This Riesling has the floral nose that you want on a Riesling. It’s dry and a little acidic.
2017 Chardonnay (unoaked): I am not a big fan of Chardonnay because I usually find they have too much oak. So, I’m always happy to see an unoaked version on a wine list. This one is nice and light and really shows off the grape’s flavor.
2018 Carmine Rose’: This was one of my favorites! It’s a very dry Rose’. Great chilled for that summer barbecue.
2018 Barbera Rose’: I wasn’t as big of a fan of this one. I got a lot of strawberry on the nose and in the taste.
2016 Barbera: I am a huge fan of this wine! It’s nice and smooth, but has some pepper on the nose. It’s a great light red wine.
2016 Cabernet Franc: Nancy told us that they don’t taste this one often and only sell it by the bottle because it sells so fast. I can definitely see why! Very jammy. Lots of berries. Absolutely delicious!
2016 Merlot: I’m also not a huge fan of Merlot, but I really enjoyed this one. Lots of berry and again, very smooth.
2016 Carmine: This is one of the more interesting reds I’ve tasted. This is known as WAYVINE’s “mystery wine”. After planting these particular vines, they expected them to produce a white grape, but the grape was red. Somehow, they got a different varietal than expected. After doing some research, they determined it was the Carmine grape. I’m glad they decided to stick with the mystery grape and not rip the vines out! This wine is nice and dry with lots of fruit. It’s a winner!
VISITING THE WINERY
The WAYVINE tasting room is located on their property and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You are welcome to bring your own food to enjoy with the wine. You can taste inside their tasting room, or enjoy their outside deck. Pets are not allowed, but children are welcome.
You can find more details on their location, tasting room hours and wines on their website.
ABOUT THE WINERY
1723 Vineyards is a new winery in Chester County. Owners Sarah and Ben Cody purchased 36 acres of the historic McMaster farm in 2014. By purchasing the land, they saved it from high density development. The land has now been placed in the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation program.
1723 Vineyards has a brand new tasting room facility with plenty of outdoor space as well.
The Cody’s started by planting 3 acres of grapes in 2015, and by 2018 that had grown to 11 acres. The tasting room opened in 2018.
1723 Vineyards has a number of wines they produce. The wines featured on their tastings change every month, so every time you visit you are likely to get to taste something different. On this particular Sunday in May, there were 5 wines on their tasting list.
2018 Sparkling Blanc de Blancs: This is 1723 Vineyards’ version of Champagne. They use the chardonel grape to make the wine, and produce it in the same manner the French make Champagne. Very dry and lots of flavor.
2018 Muscat Ottonel: This grape is a bit sweeter. The nose is very floral, while the taste has a lot of honey on it.
2017 Rose’: Rather than producing a Rose’ from all red grapes, this Rose’ is a blend of the white chardonel grape and the red chambourcin grape. I got a lot of cherry on this wine. I thought the chambourcin taste was dominant, which gave it a bit of an earthy flavor.
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon: This was a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon, although a bit on the light side. Lots of flavors of currants.
2017 Chambourcin Reserve: This wine was very smoky. Again, I got a lot of cherry on the wine, which is similar to the flavor I got on the Rose’.
VISITING THE WINERY
1723 Vineyards is open for tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tastings are $12 per person. You are invited to bring your own food. There is ample seating inside the tasting room (including inside the barrel room), as well as outside on the grounds. Visit their website for more information.
VA LA VINEYARDS
ABOUT THE WINERY
Va La Vineyards is owned by the Vietri family with Anthony being the winemaker and head of the operation. The wines are purposefully made in smaller productions to keep the quality high.
Va La Vineyards has their tasting room inside this rustic barn.
What’s nice about Va La Vineyards is you won’t find any crazy bachelorette or birthday party groups there. Doing a wine tasting at Va La Vineyards is meant to be an experience, rather than just a way to drink on a Saturday afternoon. Tastings are $20, but they are generous pours and are paired with some delicious local cheeses. You will also get your tasting from someone who is very knowledgeable about the wines and can answer all of your questions.
I have been to Va La Vineyards several times, but it had been a few years since my last visit. I was anxious to taste what was new!
2016 Zafferona: This wine was made with the Pinot Grigio grape. The wine was made in a style where the wine is allowed to have more contact with the skins, which gave the wine a bronze color. The wine is very dry and delicious!
2015 Prima Donna: This wine is made of the malvasia bianca grape. During the tasting, it was paired with a lovely goat cheese. The wine is very floral on the nose, but very dry.
2016 Silk: This is one of Va La’s most popular wines. A rosato, the wine is made of multiple red grapes and oaked. Paired with a chevre cheese as well as a tomato topping with bread, the tomato cuts down on the acidity of the wine and makes it taste totally different.
2105 Mahogany: Another red blend, this wine was aged in Pennsylvania oak barrels. I tried this wine with a Gouda cheese as well as chocolate. Very dry and smooth.
2015 Cedar: This wine is 90-95% of the nebbiola grape, which is a brown grape. Pairing this wine with a “funky” cheese brought more of the “funk” out in the cheese. I also tried it with chocolate. I felt the chocolate made the wine taste too much like cough syrup, but it was delicious with the cheese.
VISITING THE WINERY
Va La Vineyards is open for tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Due to their size, they do not allow groups larger than 6. Tastings are done inside the tasting room. They also have an outdoor area where you can enjoy a glass or a bottle. Check their website for more information, along with regular music and other activities taking place at the vineyard.
VISIT CHESTER COUNTRY WINERIES
There are plenty of other great wineries in Chester County including Kreutz Creek Vineyards, Penns Woods Winery, and Borderland Vineyard to name just a few. Be sure to check them out and discover some of the amazing local wines that are being produced right outside of Philadelphia!
Have you visited any of the wineries mentioned in this article? How about others in Chester County, PA? Let us know about your favorites and we might just visit them next! Please comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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