Spring is upon us, making it the perfect time to explore fresh flavors and new experiences. Fortunately, Pennsylvania wineries are ready to oblige as they prepare to release a slate of wines suited to the season. Read on to hear four of the state’s producers shout out their most anticipated wines and tell us what local wine lovers can expect from the promising 2020 vintage.
Bella Terra Vineyards is prepping an April release of their Bella Piquette. An increasingly popular style among natural wine drinkers, Piquette is the French word for “prickle” and refers to the slight fizz of this sparkling style. Traditionally made from reused wine grapes and reserved for farm and vineyard workers, these zippy, charming low-alcohol wines can now be enjoyed by all.
Overall, the winery’s team is feeling great about last year’s grapes. “The 2020 harvest was fruitful at our vineyards,” says co-owner Joanna Bell. “The vines produced great quality grapes with tons of color from the abundant sunshine we had in 2020. I’m looking forward to what these vintages will have to offer.”
You can get your hands on these wines via their website or pick them up in person at the winery’s tasting rooms in Hunker, PA, and Bedford, PA.
Meanwhile at Binah Winery in Allentown, they used grapes from a small family farm in Berks County to craft their 2020 Grüner Veltliner.
“The wine is made in the traditional Austrian style, with a vein of acidity and a touch of Hungarian Oak to amplify the white pepper aromas of the variety,” says owner and winemaker Kevin Danna. “The wine is a great choice for spring with its bright citrus fruit flavors, and unique green bean and radish notes.”
As for the Lehigh Valley’s 2020 vintage, Danna sees some throughlines across the harvest. “The 2020 vintage was interesting with normal to low acidity, and low brix [sugar levels] across the region,” he explains. “Despite the lower sugar content of the grapes, the flavors are ripe and intense. The 2020 vintage has made for some really nice wines. They are really starting to show their potential now as the whites are going into the bottle. The reds are young still, but are giving the indication that they are solid wines.”
People hoping to get their hands on Binah bottles (which also happen to be kosher) should visit the winery’s website. They ship to 40 states; curbside pick-up is also available at the winery in Allentown. Lastly, some of their wines can be found on KosherWine.com and Giant Food Stores will carry Binah wines at a number of Philadelphia locations starting this spring.
Tis the Season
Founded way back in 1966, Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery is celebrating the season with a special May release. “Spring Wine” is a young, fresh white infused with woodruff — the flowering plant, known for its sweet scent, is used in traditional German May wines. Added bonus: This will be the winery’s first-ever release in a can. The 375 ml size (a smidge larger than your average soda can) is perfect for picnics, boating, and camping. The winery is also releasing their Sparkling Blackberry. Naturally fermented in the bottle using the methode champenoise, it boasts sweet, intense blackberry character, and robust bubbles.
You can purchase these exciting releases directly at the winery (due to COVID, Buckingham Valley is not currently offering tours or tastings). You can also have them shipped via PAWINE.COM, or visit their outlet, Got Wine?, in Bristol, PA. Buy by the case for special pricing.
Rosés are Red(ish)
Meanwhile, out near Lake Erie, Courtyard Winery is excited to be unveiling its 2020 Dry Rosé, ideal for warm-weather afternoons. Fresh and delightful, the wine is made using the French saignée method, in which a bit of red wine is siphoned off after a short time in contact with the skins and seed. According to winemaker Randy Graham, the technique “brings out a wonderful mid-palate of fruit in a very dry wine, light red in color, and perfect for spring!”
“The 2020 growing season was exceptional,” he continues. “The fact that it was a dry summer meant more days of bright sunshine, and more growing-degree-day accumulation. Our dry weather continued right through the end of October and the grapes we use for dry reds reached exceptional maturity levels, this is already evident in lower levels of herbaceous or green notes in our reds, which are now in French Oak barrels.”
Last fall, Courtyard refreshed their website and they have the ability to ship to 37 states — the online side of their business has grown tremendously during this past year. If you prefer to purchase in person, head to one of their five tasting room locations. Their wines are also carried in grocery stores and Fine Wine & Good Spirits.
Let’s all raise a glass to spring!