It’s no secret that San Francisco has Napa Valley and that New York City has the North Fork, but Philadelphia’s delicious wine country has carried on delightfully under the radar for quite some time. A 45-minute drive from Philly, the Bucks County Wine Trail is truly a hidden gem among the 130, or so, wineries scattered throughout the state. The easily navigable trail is comprised of nine wineries, which produce many delectable varieties including French hybrids, Native American varieties and classic reds. (For those who prefer not to drive, a private bus tour can be arranged from several locations.)
Proximity to Philadelphia and award winning wines are not the only things the Bucks County Wine Trail has to offer. The vast Washington Crossing Historic Park and the popular towns of New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ are in easy reach from many of the wineries. Most of the vineyards are family owned and are situated on beautiful properties overlooking the tranquil countryside. Each tasting is unique, but every experience is personal and memorable.
Exploring the Wine Trail (as seen on the Bucks County Wine Trail homepage):
Buckingham Valley Vineyards:
“Buckingham Valley Vineyards can be found in Buckingham, the heart of Bucks County, along Route 413. Founded in 1966 and owned in full by the Forest family in 1970, this is one of Pennsylvania’s first farm wineries as well as one the Commonwealth’s largest at 40 acres, producing over 40,000 gallons of wine a year.
Using traditional old world methods aided by the most modern techniques and equipment, the French-hybrids, vinifera and native American vines contribute to the offering of two dozen varieties of wine, including for the first time in 2011 ruby and white port. A seasonal outdoor sculpture exhibit is a fun addition to these vineyards.”
** Our Pick** Crossing Vineyards and Winery:
“Established in 2000 by the Carroll Family, Crossing Vineyards and Winery is tucked away on a 200 year old estate in the heart of historic Washington Crossing. The property was part of the original land grant from the King of England to William Penn in the 1600s and is currently listed on the Bucks County Registry of Historic Places.
In addition to its internationally acclaimed wines, Crossing offers wine education, winemaker’s dinners, summer concerts and a unique venue for hosting private celebrations and corporate events.”
New Hope Winery:
“Located in the central-eastern part of Bucks County near the Delaware River, New Hope Winery was founded in 1993 and offers quick access to the funky and popular tourist destinations of New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ, also near family tourist attraction Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA.
Along with their many award-winning wines, the winery offers gifts, gourmet food, glassware, wine racks and accessories (including gourmet gift baskets and custom labeling available while you wait). Private wine tasting parties can be arranged in the intimate setting in the loft of the historic barn on site from the late 1800s.”
Peace Valley Winery:
“Closer to the northwestern part of Bucks County in Chalfont, this winery started out as Susan’s Vineyard in 1968, named after founder Susan Gross, and officially became Peace Valley Winery in 1984 with the addition of partner Robert Kolmus.
Initially comprised of 3 acres of experimental plot of new hybrid varieties from France and Germany, the 20 acres produce an average of 17 varieties of seasonal wine. Located on a ridge overlooking Peace Valley Park, come see beautiful Lake Galena and partake in the many activities the park offers.”
Rose Bank Winery:
“On a tract of land originally deeded by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, to his daughters hundreds of years ago, Rose Bank Winery is in southcentral Bucks County’s Newtown. Overlooking lush pastures with Baby Doll sheep, the land also features a Manor House from 1719 and a 3-story barn circa 1835.
French-American hybrid and Viniferous grape varieties make crisp, fruity, French-style wines, while cheeses and other gourmet food items are also offered. A second-story deck provides a sweeping view of the vineyard.”
Rushland Ridge Vineyards:
“Rushland Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1986 by the Ullman family, who has owned vineyards since 1968. The 22-acre farm and 6 acres of vineyards sits center-west in Bucks County in Rushland.
The 18 varieties of grapes grown contribute to at least 12 different hand-crafted wines each year. Located near so many historical destinations, but set in the peaceful countryside, the options for recreation are many.”
Sand Castle Winery:
“The easternmost winery on the Trail, along the Delaware River, the Sand Castle Winery is nestled in Erwinna. Founders Joseph and Paul Maxian purchased the original property in 1974, adding land in 1987 to total 72 acres on the estate. The first vines were planted in 1985, and the first vintage sold publicly in 1988.
Featuring 100% vinifera grapes, the winery offers VIP and barrel tours including the 7,000 square foot, 30-foot deep wine cellar blasted into the hillside, and a stunning 17-mile view of the valley may be enjoyed along with the wine.”
“Centrally located in both Bucks County and in the members of the Trail, Wycombe Vineyards was founded by the Fraser family in 1999, opening its doors to the public in 2006. The estate has been in the family since 1925, and served many uses providing its bounty to country stores for decades, comprised in part by 9 acres of classic vinifera and French-hybrid vines.
Averaging 15 red, white and sweet wine offerings yearly, the lovely tasting room features both limited indoor seating, and outdoor seating with a sweeping view of the vineyard.”
Unami Ridge Winery:
“As the winery on the Trail both northernmost and westernmost in Bucks County, Unami Ridge Winery sites above the Unami Creek in Quakertown. Owned by Jim and Kathy Jenks, it is also the newest member of the Trail, with the first vines planted in 2005 and a tasting room that just opened in 2010.
Featured are European-style white wines and finely-crafted reds. Quakertown was originally settled by the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, and has much history to offer from the American Revolution onward.”
Photo by: base10/flickr