A practical guide to sustainable cooking

Hidden Gems: Local Wineries

Hidden Gems: Local Wineries

When it comes to wine, origin matters. People know that a wine from France tastes differently than a wine from Italy. That is why some prefer wines from one location over another or may even contest the superiority of one over the other.

Many of us refer to the names “Bordeaux,” “Chianti,” and “Champagne” to guide us at the liquor store because those names carry weight. They are universally esteemed and understood. This way of understanding wines, however, is based on reputation and may cause us to disregard wines from other locations, such as, say, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, itself, has a diverse set of climates and soils, often referred to as terroir, that has allowed several different wine grapes to thrive. The soil types in Pennsylvania include silt, loam, and clay, which have been ideal for both white and red grape varietals. While European varieties have traditionally been used, French-American hybrids are becoming increasingly popular for their success in the Pennsylvanian terroir.

Image: https://www.conclusionwines.com/how-wine-is-made/

The ideal climate and soils have contributed to the success of the wine industry in Pennsylvania, as there are now over 200 wineries open in the state and many wine trails that encourage locals to discover them.

Now, some of you may be asking, “But why should I choose a Pennsylvanian (or local) wine over my favorite French or Italian [or insert whatever] wine?” The short answer: you shouldn’t.

The long answer: at least not all of the time. As Eric Asimov writes in an article for the New York Times, “If New York were to drink nothing but Long Island wine, it might consume the region’s annual production in a week.” While variety and moderation are key always, visiting a local winery or choosing a wine from your neighborhood’s liquor store’s selection of local wines can expand your own repertoire and support your local community.

Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery
Image: https://kazzit.com/winery/mount-nittany-vineyard-winery.html

Purchasing locally sourced and produced goods not only supports local businesses, but also has benefits for the environment, as those products have not needed to be shipped and, therefore, have resulted in the emission of less greenhouse gases than alternative products. Local wineries can also create a sense of community and provide an interesting meeting place.

Benefits to the community and environment aside, you might actually like it. 🙂 


Below are the winners of the 2018 Pennsylvania Wine Competition.

Best White Sweet Wine
Black Dog Wine Company, 2017 Trophy Wife

Best Red Sweet Wine
Cherry Valley Vineyards, NV Arancia Rossa

Best Sweet Wine in Competition
Cherry Valley Vineyards, NV Arancia Rossa


Best Fruit Wine
Crossing Vineyards & Winery, NV Peach

Best White Dry Wine
Mount Nittany Vineyards & Winery, 2016 Chardonnay Reserve

Best Red Dry Wine
Presque Isle Wine Cellars, 2016 Dornfelder

Best Dry Wine in Competition
Mount Nittany Vineyards & Winery, 2016 Chardonnay Reserve


***For more information about Pennsylvania wines, visit the Pennsylvania Wine Association website at https://pennsylvaniawine.com.



Asimov, Eric. “Buying Local Wines: Does the Idea Travel Well?” New York Times. May 14, 2012. (Accessed March 21, 2018). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/dining/buying-local-wines-does-the-idea-travel-well.html

Greenwood, Nathan. “Learn How Pennsylvania Grapes are Grown.” Pennsylvania Wines April 19, 2017. (Accessed March 21, 2018). https://pennsylvaniawine.com/2017/04/19/learn-how-pennsylvania-grapes-are-grown/.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *