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.
Though many vintners refer to their winemaking techniques as "old country," those of the Loews are older than most. The family's first forays into the drinkable craft began in the 19th century, in an area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire known as Galicia, now part of Ukraine. There, they brewed honey wines and distributed them throughout Europe. The Loews continued in the business well into the 20th century, but their enterprise was disrupted by the outbreak of World War II. The Loew name wouldn't appear on another bottle until nearly a half-century later, in a vineyard an ocean away.
The modern iteration of Loew Vineyards was established in 1982, and today stretches across 37 lush acres in Frederick County. Here, the gravelly soil sprouts flavorful grapes ideal for both red and white wines. The Loews tend to the vines throughout the year, harvesting the grapes in the fall and pruning them and fitting leaves with tiny mittens in the winter. Their crops are transformed into more than a dozen varieties of wine, ranging from the citrus-y, semi-sweet Serendipity to a balanced Cabernet Franc. The family even bottles a honey wine in a nod to their European past.
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Underneath the same big, country sky that blankets Frederick County's dairy farms and horse ranches, the winery building at Elk Run Vineyards, built in 1756, overlooks rolling hills that were originally a land grant to Lord Baltimore from the King of England. Though this land has seen many uses, today Fred and Carol Wilson and Neill Bassford tend its soil to produce a range of Gold, Double Gold, and Best of Maryland award-winning wines such as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and Cold Friday chardonnay. Winemakers craft these libations using a blend of contemporary equipment and Old-World winemaking techniques. They harvest grapes from plots planted in schist and shale soil designed to follow sustainable agricultural practices.
Helmed by chef Jim Benson, Eleven Courses’ multifaceted team of chefs, artists, and organizers embraces the art of the party with elegant catering and event services ranging from in-home tastings to multicourse wedding feasts. Top-notch chefs curate nuanced tasting menus as well as wine and artisan-beer tastings that tease out the complementary tastes of bacon and beer or wine and truffles.
In addition to keeping kitchens alive and cooking, Jim’s team also handles the whys and wherefores of event planning. Resident visual artists contribute to cake and floral designs, and professional planners orchestrate happenings ranging from weddings and business meetings to black-tie fantasy-baseball drafts. Eleven Courses' staff members hone their skills at a range of regional events such as the Capital Bacon and Beer Bash, the Baltimore Bridal Show, the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival, and the 3rd Anniversary Hippodrome Foodie Experience with Andrew Zimmerman of Travel Channel fame. Eleven Courses has been featured on WTTG FOX 5 and WBAL 11.