Wine in central Pennsylvania? The rolling Autumn hills, the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, the pretzels and… the wine???
We were skeptical about wine in our home state of Pennsylvania. We’ve tasted wine around the world in regions such as Burgundy, Napa and South Africa.
It turns out that Pennsylvania has a long history of wine going back to the 1600’s. In fact, Pennsylvania was the third largest wine-producing state in the USA in 1850. Sadly, this wine history came to an end with prohibition, and wineries weren’t legal again in the state until the 1960’s.
Pennsylvania now has seven wine regions and eleven wine trails. The Hershey Harrisburg wine trail has 15 wineries spread apart over a few different counties including the following wineries that we visited in a whirlwind weekend.
Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate
We were warmly greeted and escorted around the charming estate that has been producing wine for 35 years.
The tasting was fun and generous. We were partial to the Bainbridge wines, perhaps because we live on Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia.
Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate is located at 140 Vintage Dr, Bainbridge, PA 17502, United States.
Tamanend Winery – Permanently Closed
Although their most popular wine is a margarita wine (just say no!), this winery is producing classically styled wines using modern techniques such as micro-oxygenation. Owner Richard Carey honed his skills in California, and his educational tour focused on eco-friendly wine-making.
Tamanend Winery was located in Lancaster, PA. It has permanently closed.
The Vineyard at Hershey
Situated on a lovely plot of land, this winery has an active tasting room with a big screen tv.
Although we found the wines too sweet for our taste, we liked the winery’s beer program a lot. We got to try the American Special Bitter, the Hefeweizen, the Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and some seasonal brews. The highlight for us was the pumpkin beer – a starchy brew with just the right amount of spices.
The Vineyard at Hershey is located at 598 Schoolhouse Rd, Middletown, PA 17057, United States.
Buddy Boy Winery & Vineyard
All the way out in Perry County, we felt like we were in the heart of Pennsyltucky, which is not a bad thing for a weekend getaway. Originally an apple orchard for 40+ years, this winery makes wine with lots of fruits including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and honeydew.
Although we’re not crazy about fruity wine, we would love to hang with owner Bill Warner in his wooden outdoor space and chat about rural life while munching on a massive barbecued rib roast, like the one that was primed and ready for roasting during our visit.
Buddy Boy Winery & Vineyard is located at 111 Barnett Dr, Duncannon, PA 17020, United States.
Armstrong Vineyard & Winery
Situated in a 200-year old bank barn, this winery produces a wide variety of wines and jams. This winery would be a lovely spot for a wedding or perhaps some Friday night music.
As wine lovers, we were not blown away by the wine produced in our home state. We wanted to love the wine, we really did. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the countryside and the wine owners, the wine just wasn’t complex or dry enough for us.
Armstrong Vineyard & Winery is located at 212 Rutter Rd, Halifax, PA 17032, United States.
Beer In Pennsylvania Wine Country
Funny enough since we were on a PA wine country tour, we discovered that the beer in the Hershey Harrisburg area is awesome. We loved the beer at The Vineyard at Hershey and at Tröegs Brewing Company. This is not a total surprise since Troegenator is a staple in the 2foodtrippers refrigerator.
Tröegs has a bustling brewery in Hershey with tours, a tasting room and a restaurant serving lots of beer-friendly food. Trying the different beers was fun, but getting our first glass of Mad Elf of the season was the real treat of the brewery visit.
Tröegs Independent Brewing is located at 200 Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA 17033, United States.
Final Thoughts on the Pennsylvania Wine Country
Going to Hershey and Harrisburg is a perfect get-away distance from Philadelphia since it’s just a two-hour drive or train ride. We went this time for the wine, but we’ll happily go back next time for the beer.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: December 8, 2013
Saturday 3rd of April 2021
No offense to your article, but in my humble opinion you might want to think about researching the winery before going. There are some outstanding wineries producing excellent dry reds and whites in the state of PA, some very close to where you traveled. You missed out!