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Unwinding from your week with wine tasting

By , - Last modified: June 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM
A wine tasting flight at Zia’s at Red Door in Harrisburg. Photo/Erica Streisfeld
A wine tasting flight at Zia’s at Red Door in Harrisburg. Photo/Erica Streisfeld

I’ve come to the conclusion that Beethoven was not only a musical genius but also a wino. Or at least that’s what it sounds like from this famous quote: “A glass of wine is great refreshment after a hard day’s work.”

I love it! The quote, I mean. Well, the wine, too. He’s right — it is nice to relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day. But it’s even better to enjoy a glass in good company.

My friends and I have taken to a particular style of wine tasting happy hour hosted on Thursdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., by Zia’s at Red Door in Harrisburg. The weekly event features a themed wine flight paired with hors d’oeuvres, and a wine expert is on hand to answer any questions. The $15 price tag includes three 3-ounce pours and an appetizer buffet that can easily serve as dinner. Outdoor seating is lovely if the weather cooperates, and the intriguing “wine cellar room” inside is worth reserving ahead of time.

I recently discovered that The Gas Station, a gastro-pub in Hummelstown, has a similar wine tasting every other Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m. Again, $15 gets you three pours of featured wines as well as appetizers. Plus, Chris (aka The Wine Guy) will visit your table to brief you on the wines and answer even your most probing questions. I’ll be headed to The Gas Station for the June 20 wine tasting, which will feature chardonnay, petite sirah and zinfandel from California-based Ravenswood Winery.

We’re very fortunate that many local wineries also have wine tastings and happy hours on a regular basis. These wineries can be found throughout the nearby Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail and the new Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country. Naturally, I have a few recommendations.

Do happy hour Hauser-style near Gettysburg at Hauser Estate Winery’s weekly Thirsty Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. The evening includes live music, with light food, wine and their Jack’s hard cider available for purchase. Come back on Friday for Hauser After Hours, a weekly celebration of the winery’s spectacular views and delicious wines. Admission is free, as is the acoustic music, and pay-per-plate dinners are offered on site.

Sip happens every Friday, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Allegro Wine Gallery in York. This happy hour features live music with no cover charge. You’ll see wine specials, as well as the rest of the Allegro Winery lineup offered by the glass or the bottle. The Riesling and Susquehanna White are super-crisp and light.

In Lancaster, Tamanend Winery hosts Wine & Music Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and include wine tasting, a glass of wine, an etched wine glass, light hors d'oeuvres and live music. The Velvet Ruby in one of my favorites.

Every day is BYOF (bring your own food) day at Cullari Vineyards and Winery in Hershey. Camp out on the deck or in the café-like tasting room with your picnic and Cullari’s wine. The refreshing traminette is especially suited for summer fare.

Where’s your favorite place to wine down?

Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal, but she moonlights as a foodie and wino. Many people also know her as founder of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that benefits the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and owner of Little Ditty Pops. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.

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