Who knew Philadelphia has a wine region that’s accessible in a day trip (with a DD)? I sure didn’t, even though I’ve lived here for over a year and spent five years here previously. It’s something the true locals know, and something they’re proud of but don’t have to brag about.
Below, you’ll find five wineries with very distinct personalities, but with two important things in common: they are great for group visits–whether you’re having a Staycation Saturday or bringing visitors out for a good time–AND they have great wine!
Sand Castle Winery (Erwinna, PA): They weren’t kidding when they named this place “Sand Castle.” While it isn’t made of sand, it is most definitely a castle. As we drove up the winding drive, wondering if we were going the right direction, we saw two castle battlements peeking up over the trees — Guess we’d found it! Parking was easy, and approaching the building, you might get the feeling you’re there for a fancy garden party or tea time. Enter into a sprawling, high-ceilinged tasting room flanked by a pretty bar where you can get a glass or a gift. They have a gorgeous upstairs gallery as well. Even though I don’t normally choose chardonnay, I absolutely loved their classic — the blend of flavors was intricate, but not intense, and refreshing, but robust.
- Notable reds: Claret
- Notable whites/pinks: Cuvee Blush, Chardonnay
Rushland Ridge Winery: If there was such thing as a dive winery, Rushland Ridge would be it. But its rustic cuteness, charming presentation, and fantastic wines quickly wash away any misgivings one might have upon rolling up into their gravel driveway, making it fun for hipsters, preps, hippies, city slickers, and more. What looks like a tiny cabin is actually the tasting room, where a precious black lab sometimes lounges outside, waiting for somebody to throw her stick for her. The cabin sits snugly among fields where grapes grow, and there is plenty of space inside for two or three groups at a time. When you enter, you’ll get to listen to the spiel about the winery, then taste the selection on your own time from their pour-your-own bar. There is nowhere to sit, but a little standing is good for the soul, and for mingling with people who aren’t part of your group. Compare favorites, discuss your ties to the area, and compliment the small winery on their exquisite selection!
- Notable reds: Port, Chambourcin
- Notable whites: Country White, Rosette
Chaddsford Winery Tasting Room (20 Merchant Row, Lahaska, PA): The Chaddsford tasting room in Peddler’s Village is their secondary location, but I’ve included it on this list because it is a great way to mix up the stops a little bit if you’re doing a tour. This tasting room is nestled among over 65 cute-as-heck shops that are perfect for vacationers and gift-lovers alike. Not only is the location worthy of a tour, the wine selection is vast and varied, giving tasting room visitors plenty of things to shop for right there in the store. Chaddsford is also known for their Phillies wines and memorabilia, adding a another touch of local pride to what they’ve got to offer.
- Notable reds: Niagara, Philadelphia Phillies Club Red Series
- Notable whites: Sunset Blush, 2013 Pinot Grigio
Crossing Vineyards and Winery (1853 Wrightstown Road; Newtown, PA 18940): This is a beautiful space with a great wine selection — I would definitely visit it again. Simply driving up to the venue has a grandiose feel, as it sits on a small hillside and has a pastoral entryway: a stone pathway surrounded by gardens. You walk into a pretty gift room and are brought upstairs to the tasting room. The tasting room is quaint and beautiful, holding onto the rustic feel while still managing to look modern. After learning a little bit of history about the winery, we had delicately paired and generous wine and cheese tasting. The hostesses were charming, and the tasting was an informative tour of versatile wines. The venue was extremely accommodating, even letting my friend host a paint nite in their event space for her birthday party, which we did in their downstairs event room with a few bottles of wine in tow.
- Notable reds: Merlot
- Notable whites/pinks: Viognier