Stories are told by personnel at PA wineries of couples who had their first date in their tasting room over a glass of wine, who months later became engaged at the winery and who then staged their weddings outside with the vineyards as backdrops.
Increasingly, wineries are becoming popular venues for weddings and other personal celebrations, as well as places to hold business meetings and outings. And while vineyards can be beautiful venues for outside events, tasting rooms can be a great change of pace for business meetings.
“We usually limit weddings to a dozen or so a year,” says Farrell Kramer, who is in charge of Grace Winery near Glen Mills. “We mainly have them in the winery. We may begin with cocktails in the winery, then have the ceremony on the top floor, then dinner and dancing in the tasting room.”
“We have done a lot of ceremonies at the deck on the hill that overlooks the vineyard,” says Carole Kirkpatrick, co-owner of Kreutz Creek Winery in West Grove. “It's a great setting. Since some couples will rent a tent, we could do weddings anytime, but usually they are in May, June and September.”
Oak Spring Winery in Altoona rents out its facilities for many private events, boasting of the largest tasting room in Pennsylvania that is “capable of handling any size group.”
Some wineries who rent their facilities can do their own catering, while others will allow food to be brought in or be made available through local restaurants. For example, Briar Valley Vineyards and Winery in Bedford has rental facilities available 9 to 5 during weekdays with food available through the Bird’s Nest Café.
Regardless of the event or the winery, there are some rules of thumb that should be considered. For example, make sure the winery facilities will accommodate your number of guests comfortably. Clear all planned activities well in advance to comply with local ordinances. Decide what the winery will provide, and what you have to furnish. Not surprisingly, most wineries will not allow outside alcoholic beverages to be brought in.
If the event is to be held outside, do you have a “plan B” in case of bad weather? Who cleans up? Finally, be certain that all contingencies and costs have been covered in a signed contract.
To find out more about individual wineries and the 12 wine trails located throughout Pennsylvania, log onto www.PAWineLand.com. The site also has maps and contact information for the more than 150 wineries spread across the state as well as wine tips and wine information. And if you’re on the road, find nearby wineries by using the mobile website at m.pennsylvaniawine.com.