Happy Trails: With passport programs, winery hopping has never been easier

One winery isn’t always enough, which is why many of Pennsylvania’s beautiful wine trails organize “passport” programs — a single ticket gets you tasting at a raft of participating wineries and vineyards.

For an affordable price (usually $15-$35), wine lovers earn access to a cluster of regional wineries, along with perks, snacks, and sometimes souvenirs. Depending on the program, you have anything from a couple weeks to a whole year to take advantage of your special status.

Here are a few passport programs to inspire you this spring. You must be 21 or older to purchase tickets and/or attend these events.

Tour de Tanks, Mason-Dixon Wine Trail

Weekends March 3 – 25, $30

The Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, which runs through York County, features more than a dozen wineries. Your ticket entitles you to special tours of wine production areas, educational presentations such as tank and barrel tastings, plus light food items, a souvenir Mason-Dixon Wine Trail glass, and a 10 percent discount on all wine purchases. (Designated driver/non-alcoholic wristbands are available for free.) Click here to purchase tickets.

A Ticket to Good Taste, Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail

March 1-31, $15

This pass is available for purchase at each of the wine trail’s 16 member wineries (you can also buy online via Brown Paper Tickets). Privileges include a souvenir wine glass, 10 percent off wine purchases, light snacks, and entry into a contest to be one of 100 winners of a $50 Wine Gift Certificate to any member winery. Participants who visit all 16 wineries during the month of March will qualify for three Grand Prizes. Don’t forget to get your ticket stamped!

Visit Visa, Lake Erie Wine Country

Valid for one year from purchase date, $20

This booklet contains over $1,000 in discounts and coupons for local wineries, restaurants, limo services, bed and breakfasts, and other shops and attractions. There’s also space for your tasting notes, so you can remember your favorite vintages. Since its perks last all year long, this makes a great gift for the wine lover in your life. Order online or purchase at any member winery.

Vino in the Valley, Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

Weekends March 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, and 24 & 25; $35

Your Vino in the Valley ticket earns you access to eight member wineries — they will be offering food and wine pairings along with traditional tastings. Get your passport stamped at all eight and be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing for a chance to win $250 in Wine Trail Bucks. This year, each winery will also be awarding 25 $50 restaurant gift certificates at random. That’s 200 instant winners! Purchase online here or at any of the member wineries.

Passport to Bucks, Bucks County Wine Trail

Through April 30, $30

This passport gives purchasers complimentary tastings at all eight of the wine trail’s wineries. Visit every one and be entered to win one of five Bucks County prizes. The passport is available at any of the wineries, at the Visit Bucks County office (3207 Street Road, Bensalem) or online ($5 surcharge).

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