Lake Erie Wine Country
Lake Erie Wine Country consists of the largest grape-growing region east of the Rocky Mountains. Over 30,000 acres of vineyards and 24 wineries are scattered about 50 miles from Silver Creek, New York to Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. With beautiful rolling hills of vineyards, welcoming farms and farm markets, and glimpses of Lake Erie, a drive through Lake Erie Wine Country is quite inviting!
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s grape-growing region is one of the state’s largest and longest established wineries, Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards. Opened in 1970, after being one of two wineries which were granted limited winery licenses issued by the state of Pennsylvania in 1968, Penn Shore now makes over twenty varieties of wine. Visitors are greeted by the friendly staff, enjoy wine tastings (7 tastings for $2), take a self-guided tour of the winery and marvel at the view of what seems like never-ending vineyards from the vineyard patio. From whites, reds, or sparking to dry, semi-sweet or sweet, wine lovers will find a wine to satisfy any palate at Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards!
Initially established in 1864, South Shore Wine Company was the first commercial winery in Lake Erie County. With a beautiful stone wine cavern, originally built in 1860’s, the French-style stone grotto is one of few grottos of its kind in the United States! After prohibition of the 1920’s and the death of the original owner, the wine cellar sat empty for many years. In 2007, Robert Mazza of Mazza Vineyards purchased the property and restored the wine cellar and attached building. Feeling the coolness of the stones throughout the cavern, one can feel the history and heritage of the winery and Pennsylvania. Rumors have circulated that the building and cellar once housed free and runaway-slaves trying to escape on their way to Canada.
A wine tasting in the stone wine cellar is reminiscent of tasting wine in France or Italy. Visitors can sample (6 tastings for $2) over twenty wines from reds, rosé or whites to dry, sweet, dessert and fruit wines. One of my favorites was their Ice Wine of Vidal Blanc, a wonderful and sweet desert wine which would pair perfectly with a fruit cobbler or vanilla bean ice cream! South Shore is certainly one of the most unique wineries in Lake Erie Wine Country!
Above the wine cellar is Vintage Café. This inviting space welcomes you with spectacular vineyard views from the adorable Southern-inspired screened-in porch. We enjoyed our lunch on the patio, marveling at the views and loving the summer breeze!
Since we were on our way to Canada, we only had time to visit two wineries. Although our visit to Lake Erie Wine Country was brief, I can’t wait to return again to explore the beaches of Lake Erie, the quaint towns and villages of Pennsylvania and New York and of course more Lake Erie wineries! To plan your visit to Lake Erie Wine Country, please visit www.lakeeriewinecountry.org.
Have you visited Lake Erie Wine Country? If so, let me know in the comments below which winery is your favorite! Love this post? Please share it!
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