A Philadelphian’s Guide to Vineyard Hopping

All the local, sustainable, magical vineyards you should visit this fall, as recommended by five Philadelphia wine professionals.

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Among casual wine drinkers, Pennsylvania doesn’t provoke thoughts of rolling vineyards and long-aged bottles that drink with the complexity of flavors associated with more established wine regions. Among experts though, mention Pennsylvania wine and you’ll get them going with descriptions of an up-and-coming region home to some of the most under appreciated wines in the country. The best part? Many of the most beloved wineries in this region are open to the public, perfect for a socially distant day trip out of the city. We asked some of our favorite wine pros to recommend spots for a day trip. Here’s what they told us.

Va La Vineyards, Avondale
Drive from Philly: ~50 minutes

“Va La Vineyards is my happy place. This small farm near Kennett Square is a true oasis of passion, elegance and hospitality. Owner Anthony Vietri is an incredibly generous and kind seventh generation Italian winemaker, who is also a total genius (read: nerd) at the chess-like long-term strategy required to make wine naturally (sans chemicals or commercial yeasts) in this region. Whether you choose to sit inside and experience a flight of their deliciously complex terroir driven wines (I also highly recommended the local cheese pairing option), or you prefer to sit outside amongst the vines in an adirondack chair enjoying one of their lovely bottles, you will surely leave with same sense of peace and renewed inspiration that I, and the rest of the cult-like followers of this little vineyard, have after every visit.” — Jon Medlinsky, co-owner of Martha in Kensington


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Wayvine Winery & Vineyard, Nottingham
Drive from Philly: ~1 hour 10 minutes

“Wayvine is open to the public and I recommend checking them out. The Wilson family has a gorgeous property out in Chester County and they’ve already supplemented their deck with a big tent and heaters for small group outdoor hangs to get through a chillier season. The drive out is beautiful, the wine is delicious and the people are incredibly nice. It’s a great Saturday or Sunday day trip. They also do live music on certain nights.” — Sande Friedman, beverage director, Di Bruno Bros


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Galer Estate, Kennett Square
Drive from Philly: ~45 minutes

“Galer Estate is a wonderful place to visit, just an hour from Center City. They opened to the public in 2011, and not only did Jet carry their wines, but we organized trips to the Vineyard! It is a beautiful spot set up for warm-weather sipping on the deck, and cozy cold-weather sipping at the indoor bar. I love winemaker Virginia Mitchell’s hand and am a huge fan of her Cab Franc/Petit Verdot Rosé. Her wines are clean, with really clear, defined flavors — not muddied!  Of course, I’m a sucker for a blend of history and wine, and Galer’s Huntress series is a nod to the Roman goddess, Diana (Greek Artemis).” — Jill Weber, owner of Jet Wine Bar


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Vox Vineti, Christiana
Drive from Philly: ~1 hour

“Ed Lazzerini is essentially a one-person show at Vox Vineti, a small winery nestled in the hills of Christiana, PA. Only an hour from Philadelphia, his five-acre vineyard is a beautiful place to visit any time of year. Ed is following down a similar path of Va La Vineyards and Galen Glen, in a sense that he farms sustainably, ferments his wines with native yeasts and is pretty ‘hands off’ with regards to manipulating his wines. Vox Vineti is a young winery but the wines are quite well-made, pure and age-worthy. It is certainly one of the best wineries in our state and we are happy to buy Ed’s wines when we can for production is quite small.” — Tim Kweeder, co-owner of Bloomsday Cafe


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Galen Glen Winery, Andreas
Drive from Philly: ~1 hour 45 minutes

“One of my favorite wineries to visit is Galen Glen Winery. Not only do they make what I would consider the best Grüner Veltliner being made in the United States, but they also make wonderful Rieslings (their 2018 Fossil Vineyard won Best in State last year at the PA Sommelier Judgment Day event), red blends (Red German Bastards is my favorite), and fun sparkling wines (Bubbly White and Bubbly Rosé). The winery has spectacular views, so is great for photos while you’re sipping your wine.” — Alexandra Cherniavsky, former sommelier at The Love


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