Today’s side deal scores you access to a country inside of a country, where wine flows like wine—the rolling hills of Chester County. For $12, you get one Barrels on the Brandywine passport (a $25 value) from the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail encompasses a 50-mile radius in a charming and upcoming wine district between historic Philadelphia and the Amish countryside outside Lancaster.
Your Barrels on the Brandywine passport allows you access to special events that take place every Saturday and Sunday in March from noon to 5.p.m. at eight area wineries (check this map for each one’s location):
- Black Walnut Winery
- Chaddsford Winery
- Kreutz Creek Vineyards
- Patone Cellars
- Paradocx Vineyard
- Penns Woods Winery
- Stargazers Vineyard and Winery
- Twin Brook Winery
Special events (see the bottom of the events page for the full list) include cellar tours, pruning demonstrations, seminars, music and art shows, inaugural tastings of the 2010 wine class, and many more. The first time you use your passport, you’ll receive a commemorative take-home wine glass, which you should bring with you when returning on subsequent weekends. Limiting your visits to a few wineries each day is recommended so that you have ample time to explore each one while avoiding the dizzying effects of over-tasting.
Passport holders must be 21 years old with valid ID.
The Philadelphia Inquirer included the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail’s Harvest Festival in a write-up, and many other publications have featured it. The trail has seven wineries and an eighth opening soon; here is a sampling of what various press and customers are saying: > * Like Paradocx Vineyard just down the road in Landenberg, Pa., Black Walnut Winery (located up near Coatesville) consists of two couples who once made wine in their home on the weekends, studied up on the process, and eventually mustered up the courage to open their own winery…the tasting room looks like something you’d find in Santa Barbara or Long Island, with beautiful hardwood floors, a large fireplace, domed ceiling and two front doors fit for a king’s castle. – Rob Kalesse, Metromix > * Remarkably, the Penns Woods wines held their own quite well - even if they did not have quite the resonance or complexity of those French classics. The Ameritage, mostly cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot (with a splash of nebbiolo), was plush with licorice, cassis and cedar, riper and more balanced than almost any other local red I’ve tasted. The chardonnay was touched with butterscotch and zesty tangerine, but also braced with a long and flinty, mineral finish. Other Penns Woods wines, such as the lively sauvignon blanc and rich gold pinot grigio, were also impressive. – Craig LaBan, Philadelphia Inquirer >* Chaddsford Winery is a nice way to spend part of your day. They have a tasting area where you can pay a certain price to wine taste. So far, I haven’t had a bad wine. – A B., Judy’s Book >* Stargazers Winery, one of several wineries of Southern Chester County, is probably the least frilly while being the most interesting. Stargazers crafts their wine with a high degree of focus on sustainability. – James W., Yelp