The professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique, all-inclusive winemaking program takes aspiring vintners through the accessible four-part process in store over the course of eight weeks, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants eventually bring home more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage for a total cost of less than $10 per bottle. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
After graduating from Vassar College in 1997, vintner Tom Carroll Jr. continued his education in California, where he taught himself about viticulture and enology to achieve a lifelong dream of opening a winery. Three years later, he returned to his hometown to found Crossing Vineyards on a plot of land situated a short distance from George Washington’s Delaware River crossing. The winery mingles historic charm and pastoral surroundings with modern technologies, such as a sterile HVAC bottling system and solar-energy panels. Tom and his parents, also co-owners, built the facility around eco-friendly winemaking practices, such as composting waste and using cover crops, a technique that prevents topsoil erosion and helps vintners sing the young grapevines to sleep.
Crossing Vineyards' European-style wines have won more than 115 awards in both national and international competitions over the past 12 years. The winery offers tastings and wine-pairing classes in an onsite educational area and hosts an annual summer wine-and-music series on its sprawling, 15-acre property.
The idyllic surroundings of The Vineyard at Hershey include acres of rolling vineyards and a natural, spring-fed pond. Inside a rustic farmhouse, guided tours take an in-depth look into the winemaking process, and end with tastings of small-batch Pennsylvania wines. Walk across the lawn to find the brewery, where brewmasters pour nearly 20 beers ranging from crisp hefeweizens to hop-heavy IPAs, with different brews crafted at different times of the year. Throughout the year, the Vineyard hosts events such as wine and beer release parties and concerts, including the summertime Decked-Out Live! Entertainment Series.
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.
Pete Giannopoulos dropped a corporate sales job in 1994 in pursuit of his long-held dream of opening a brewpub. Although the beer adventure was originally a family-only endeavor, Pete has enlisted the expertise of various brewers over the years—2002 saw the arrival of head brewmaster Brian O’Reilly, who has been crafting the award-winning beers on tap ever since. Despite its beer-centricity, Slyfox Brewery is equally adept at attracting customers with its spread of juicy eats. The wraps, half-pound burgers, and flatbread pizzas that populate the pub’s menu partner with fresh brews more naturally than two baristas performing a tango. Chefs also add ale to dishes such as the beer-battered onion rings and the Dunkel lager cheese sauce that complements hearty pub pretzels.
Cuisine Type: World cuisine and locally produced wine
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Team building events and cooking demos
Alcohol: Wine Only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Food pairings are gourmet bites specific to the wines selected. Learn how to pick the right wine.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
Owner, Victoria Hanko, first got involved in working in the food industry as a sous chef at an upscale restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA. After this, she embarked on a different career path, but always maintained a high interest in learning and practicing new recipes. In 2012 she decided to offer others opportunities to learn how to prepare different types of food in a fun and entertaining environment.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Our team building events are a great way to have an evening of fun, collaboration, and some friendly competition resulting in a delicious meal that all teams enjoy together.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Cooking Spotlight, along with our associated Village Wine Spot, provides fun and entertaining events with excellent food and wine. Our facility which seats up to 60 people offers a variety of events from cooking classes, chef demonstrations, team building and private parties. Our cafe which we will open in June 2014 offers a fresh health-oriented menu for breakfasts and lunches.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
We offer world cuisine tailored to the specific class, event, or special wine pairing. We source fresh local ingredients whenever possible and uses other high-end ingredients. Our cafe offers breakfast and lunch with a fresh health-oriented menu sourced locally as available with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. The wine we serve in Village Wine Stop is from Crossing Vineyards of Bucks County, PA and is also vegan.