The first virtual Camp Pennawine is in the books!
On Thursday, September 24, 2020, ten Campers from up and down the East Coast “met” for a three and half hour interactive and immersive experience set in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley wine region. Through a series of pre-produced video segments and two live, hosted tastings, the Campers got to know the wines and winemakers of the region.
Siblings, Bill and Jenny Zimmerman kicked things off with a walking tour of Shade Mountain Winery & Vineyards’ expansive vineyard, taking special care to point out the Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay vines that bore the fruit that the Campers would soon have the opportunity to sample. They provided a behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to grow wine in Pennsylvania, including hard work, a passion for agriculture, and a series of well-placed air cannons.
Following the tour, Campers uncorked two of the six wines they were sent prior to Camp: Shade Mountain’s 2017 Cabernet Franc and 2017 Chardonnay, as Bill and Jenny hosted an interactive tasting and fielded questions about the wines, their family winery, and the local wine industry in general.
In addition to the wines, Campers also received a Care Package including Camp gear and gifts, and a Provisions Package with a locally-prepared lunch from Lewisburg’s Elizabeth’s Bistro. The lunch was crafted to highlight two more of the region’s wines: Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery’s 2015 Chambourcin and Armstrong Valley Winery’s 2019 Riesling.
We then “moved” to Fero Vineyard & Winery, where Chuck Zaleski treated Campers to a peek into his winery’s production area – and his own winemaking philosophy. They followed the grapes from the vineyard to the to tanks and ultimately into their glasses as the segment concluded with the final wine tasting of the day – Fero Vineyards 2019 Dry Rosé and 2019 Grüner Veltliner.
Campers ended their virtual experience with a final sweet treat from Elizabeth’s and a flurry of thanks to their hosts.
Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wine Writer and Contributor
freelance writer (Wine Enthusiast and more)
wine writer at Drink What You Like
Executive Editor, No Walls Media (Vintner Mag/The Brewer Magazine)
contributor to WHERE Traveler, Fortune, Food & Wine
Founder, The Cork Report; writer + podcaster
Shade Mountain Winery & Vineyard
Jenny and Bill Zimmerman, Owners
Fero Vineyards & Winery
Chuck and Daneen Zaleski, Owners
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Laura England, Director, Bureau of Market Development
ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA WINES
The Pennsylvania Winery Association is a non-profit trade association representing more than 125 member wineries and an advocate on behalf of the state’s growing multibillion-dollar wine industry. With 14,000+ acres of vineyards across some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the East Coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in wine production. Pennsylvania wineries produce more than two million gallons of wine annually. Pennsylvania boasts a legacy of winemaking that has grown into a dynamic wine industry fueled by the desire to drink locally, grow sustainably, and innovate in the footsteps of William Penn. Pennsylvania winemakers continue a centuries-old tradition that began in 1683 when William Penn planted the first vineyard in Philadelphia in what is now Fairmount Park. Today, Pennsylvania wineries are the home to multi-generational winemakers, international winemakers, emerging winemakers under the age of 30, and winemakers who have embraced wine production as a second career.
ABOUT THE SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY
The Susquehanna Valley is home to nearly two dozen wineries scattered throughout central Pennsylvania, just north of the state’s capital. The location is a real find for wine lovers, as the region’s climate yields hardy native grapes, premium hybrids, and delicate Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir varieties. As you travel among the wineries on the Susquehanna Heartland wine trail, plan your day to include visits to the charming downtowns of its many small towns.