Guided by wine connoisseurs-turned-creators, Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery bottles a passionate appreciation for fine wine into every vintage made on its secluded countryside property. Tours gather at The Enoteca, the vineyard's wine bar, before venturing out into the fields to see the green and purple bunches that start the oenophilic life cycle. Journeys continue to the barrel room, where rows of sealed oak casks rest and gradually transform their liquid stores into wine and corks into monarch butterflies. Tour-goers rest their feet and test their palates during the wine tasting back at The Enoteca as they comb the depths of varietals, such as the merlot reserve 2008, with velvety flavors of toasted vanilla and cherry, or the White Bottle chardonnay, a green-apple- and oak-infused drink named after the Beatles' White Album.
Amid a 22-acre estate, Heritage Vineyards's grape grapplers craft award-winning wines and pair them with sumptuous finger foods. Visiting pairs can choose a lunch dish and a glass apiece from the grandiose wine list. Sip the 2007 cabernet sauvignon, which comes tinged with a deep crimson hue and flavors of cherry and currant, or the Jersey blush, a semisweet concoction that can be smeared on the cheeks to express embarrassment. Meanwhile, the newly released 2009 chambourcin has been aged for 14 months in French-oak barrels and brandishes a complex bouquet of tastes. Or find matches for your wines without filling out 30-page questionnaires by scanning the lunch menu, which pairs the wines with compatible cheese-laden fare such as the warm pepperoni-and-cheese bread or the baked brie, formed with a fig spread and served with sesame crackers.
Herds of buffalo and cows graze between hundreds of fruit-bearing trees. But it’s the grapes sprouting throughout Cassinelli Winery & Vineyards' 110 wooded and open acres that matter most. Each hand-selected and sustainably farmed grape emerges from the earth to take its first step toward becoming one of 12 wines produced at the vineyard. Those include a 2009 barbera reserve and a 2009 merlot, bronze- and gold-medal winners, respectively, at the Maryland Governor’s Cup, a cup always filled with wine or melted cheese. Five total medals have distinguished Cassinelli wines, which the company’s sommeliers share at their tasting room, events, and a quartet of outlets throughout the state.
Blue Mountain Vineyards owners, Joe and Vickie, are pinot pioneers. Beginning with a 5-acre experiment in 1986, they discovered that the soil of the Lehigh Valley does a fine impression of French terrain, making it suitable for growing the grapes of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and other European varietals. Since then, they've expanded to a 50-acre plot, where they now produce wines that have won awards from the Fingerlake International Wine Competition and Appellation America.
Panoramic views of the Blue Mountains overlook scenic terraces at the vineyards, where grapes spring from soil that soldiers roamed during the Revolutionary War. Tastings, concerts, and other events fill the winery's glass-flanked deck, spilling onto an outdoor patio surrounded by ponds as tranquil as a silent lullaby. Visitors admire the vines during tours, and they can also adopt their favorites to preserve the vines' flavorful histories.
Gather your coven around the cauldron with today's side deal to romantic fondue feasting at Boordy Vineyards. For $9, you'll get an adult ticket to Fond of Your Fondue and a wine glass for tasting, an $18 value. Relax among the 19th century farm buildings on the Boordy estate, nestled in the hills of the Long Green Valley, just a short drive north of the beltway. This event runs from 1–5 p.m. on February 7, making this a game-changing way to mentally prepare for the Super Bowl.