According to an article published by TribLive, Pennsylvania began pioneering efforts to grow European grape varieties in the late 1960’s. Vineyards endured subzero temperatures, spring frosts and moist summers to grow varietals including sauvignon blanc, grüner veltliner and cabernet franc. These efforts were rewarded at the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show when top wine awards were allocated to PA Wineries producing wine made from these varieties.
Second-generation winemaker and grape grower Mario Mazza of Mazza Vineyards said, “When you put in years of effort, it’s satisfying to see recognition of the progress,”, adding that the quality of wines can mostly be attributed to the right location. The Mazza family’s South Shore Wine Co. 2017 Grüner Veltliner took a Double Gold and the Governor’s Cup for Best Dry Wine.
Rick and Sue Lynn’s journey began when when they acquired an abandoned 400-acre farm in Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County. What initially started as a commercial raspberry business named The Sand Hill Farm, became the award-winning Greendance – The Winery at Sand Hill, with their Sauvignon Blanc “Principe” winning a Gold Medal.
When reminiscing, Rick Lynn recalled, “We didn’t even know that sauvignon blanc grapes were available in Pennsylvania until our new winemaker John Levenberg directed us to small area in southeastern Pennsylvania in the Brandywine Valley,” “Warm air from the nearby Delaware Bay influences the climate favorably and enables French varieties to ripen there in most years.”
To learn more about which wines came out on top, click here.