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Getaway: Pennsylvania Wine Land

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Most of the world’s great winegrowing regions have one or two major cities nearby that serve as jumping off points for those who want to see and to taste. Napa Valley has San Francisco, Rioja has Bilbao and Champagne has Paris.

Pennsylvania as a wine region is much more fortunate. Although most of the state is rural – a great countryside to grow grapes and make wines – Pennsylvania wineries and wine trails are within easy driving distance of at least seven “major league” cities, a claim no other wine region anywhere can make. Within the state, there are, of course, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. To the east is New York City. To the south are Baltimore and Washington. To the west is Cleveland, and to the north, Buffalo.

Include slightly smaller Wilmington, and Pennsylvania has eight large cities whose residents are quite often lured to take a weekend or a week to explore one of 12 wine trails and their wineries. And these getaways destinations are as varied in their charms and attractions as are the many varieties of grapes that are grown here.

For example, Lake Erie Wine Country Trail offers all the attractions of being located along one of the world-famous Great Lakes. The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail is in the middle of horse country and counts historical gardens and America’s largest mushroom production among its offerings. The Groundhog Wine Trail has all the charms of small-town America set among rolling hills and mountains. Four trails are in or near the Poconos, and two are in Amish farm country.

Over the next several weeks, we will be exploring these Pennsylvania wine trails, walking through the vineyards, talking with the winemakers, tasting the huge variety of wines produced in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, if you live in Pennsylvania Wine Land, take a few hours off this weekend to go explore your local wineries. If you live in one of those big cities, which surround us, jump into the SUV and come visit. They’re just next door.

Start your visit by going to www.PAWineLand.com. There you will find information on Pennsylvania’s 12 wine trails, its more than 150 wineries, upcoming wine events and tips on getting the most out of wine tastings. While you’re traveling, find nearby wineries by using PA Wineries’ mobile website at m.pennsylvaniawine.com.

Check us out: Our wine glass is always more than halfway full.