A ceremony among the vines, a toast in the tank room, portraits in front of wine barrels: there are lots of reasons to get married at a Pennsylvania winery. Fortunately, an increasing number of the state’s wineries are opening their doors to betrothed couples.
For some, it was part of the business plan from day one. For others, it was something that developed organically. At Tolino Vineyards in Bangor, PA, it started with the daughters. The first wedding that ever took place at the property was for Mandy Tolino, who now heads up business development and marketing for the family business. In 2009, she wed under a tent near the young vines. A few years later, her sister was also married at the winery, but this time inside the new tank room.
“I think that taking the leap to do weddings at a winery is a pretty big one,” says Mandy Tolino. “We eased into it. The weddings we first started offering for family and friends were on the smaller size. Eighty people is the max for our indoor facility. It makes it easier for us to be able to provide very high-quality personalized service.”
Tolino Vineyards is also popular for bridal showers and other private events. The winery specializes in traditional European-style wines such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, but they also offer sweet wines. The family is currently considering an expansion of the space and hiring an on-site coordinator just for weddings. One reason for their optimism is the growing popularity of vineyard weddings.
“We get a lot of younger people — they want something unique,” says Tolino. “You’re not in a hall or a restaurant, you’re in a tank room. It’s where we make our wine and it’s where we store our wine. I think that’s one of our biggest draws.”
This enduring trend has led some Pennsylvania wineries to embark on major capital improvements to boost their wedding business. That includes Juniata Valley Winery in Mifflin, which has been hosting weddings for about three years.
“It started because customers would come in and say, ‘This is a beautiful venue. Can we get married here?” recalls event coordinator Pam Welsh.
When they first started hosting events, the winery would simply rent a tent, but as the number of requests grew, they decided to create something more permanent. In September, they opened Aisling Hall, a beautiful wood-and-stone building that can host up to 225 people for dancing, dining, and wine slushies.
The winery benefits from its location between Harrisburg and State College, making Juniata Valley a convenient choice for mid-staters with loved ones in both places. And according to Welsh, the same holds for couples with guests traveling from Philadelphia — it’s smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania.
The winery’s other (not so) secret weapon is the on-site Wilson House B&B. The charming historic inn features five guest rooms and offers discounted prices for the wedding party.
“We have an amazing innkeeper,” says Welsh. “She really makes our brides feel special.”
Of course that’s also a major part of Welsh’s job.
“I love working with brides,” she says. “Every bride wants it to be special. To hear that vision and to be able to make that happen for them is a joy to me.”
Of course, every winery has something different to offer the inquiring couple.
Black Dog Wine Company in Oakdale boasts a beautiful historic mansion right outside of Pittsburgh.
Broad Mountain Vineyard in Elizabethville also extols their outdoor views, which include vines, mountain scenery, and exquisite sunsets.
Crossing Vineyards & Winery in Newtown hosts about 20 weddings per year. In 2013, they upgraded their tented space and are currently expanding again to accommodate larger events. The property boasts a full-service bar, all-season garden room, and large patio. According to the winery, they welcome special requests such as s’mores pits, lawn games, or having a beloved pup as ring bearer.
Deer Creek Winery in Shippenville features an on-site attached eight-room inn. While the quaint countryside winery does not host actual weddings, they welcome wedding receptions, showers, and rehearsal dinners.
Folino Estate in Kutztown is another winery that has done weddings since day one, and they now host up to 70 per year. They are currently under construction on a new barrel room, which will allow for smaller, more intimate weddings, in addition to their regular space which can accommodate up to 250 guests for a party with Italian flair.
Greenhouse Winery in Irwin started out hosting small bridal showers, but then customers began asking about the availability for weddings. They pride themselves on their picturesque grounds, which produce lovely pictures.
Maiolatesi Wine Cellars in Olyphant hosts approximately 10 weddings per year and have expanded their building twice in the last eight years to accommodate larger events.
Mount Hope Estate & Winery in Manheim is home to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. In 2016, the winery began the process of repurposing a Victorian-era barn as both a new production facility and a two-story event space called the Barn & Barrel. They began hosting weddings in the swanky new digs — wood floors, wine-bottle chandeliers, wooden beams — in 2018.
Nissley Vineyards in Bainbridge attracts romantic couples with its secluded location, rustic buildings, and outdoor dance patios lit by strands of Edison bulbs.
Old Stone Cider in Lewisville hosts five-plus weddings per year, and gives lovebirds the chance to wed in a thoughtfully restored PA bank barn. Another perk: Clients get the run of the property for the entire day.
The Vineyard at Hershey makes it easy for couples with a full-time wedding coordinator and ceremonies by their spring-fed pond. They’ve fielded all sorts of special requests over the years — fireworks, hot air balloons, pets — and always work to make it happen.
Whispering Oaks Vineyard in Sunbury designed their space with event-hosting in mind. The winery features a large deck, a luxurious bridal suite, and a lower-level bar perfect for cocktail hour. According to the winery, married couples routinely return to keep them abreast of what’s going on in their lives, whether it’s a new house, a new pet, or a new baby.
So whether you’re planning a low-key lunch for 20 or an all-night dance party for 200, there’s a Pennsylvania winery ready to accommodate you — and to raise a glass in your honor.
Have you gotten married in PA Wine Land? Send your photos to [email protected] so we can share them.