You heard me right — I'm asking you to wine. You know, drink the stuff that starts out tasting just like Welch's finest but then turns into a much more mature drink. While Labor Day may mark the unofficial end of summer, it also means grape harvest time is right around the corner.
Fall weekends in Central Pennsylvania are packed with events to help you celebrate this time of abundance. So let the wining begin!
Sept. 8-9: Jazz & Wine Festival, Fort Hunter Park, Harrisburg
Mellow out with the sounds of smooth jazz and the smooth wines of Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country. Enjoy wine sampling as well as wine education activities.
Sept. 8-9: Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival, Gateway Gettysburg Complex, Gettysburg
Spend a little time in historic Adams County in honor of the grape harvest and you’ll have hundreds of Pennsylvania wines at your fingertips. There will also be food, live music and artisans selling their wares.
Sept. 15: Merlot Release Party, The Vineyard at Hershey
Merlot is a big deal for this winery, which will fly in the inaugural bottle by helicopter to kick off the festivities. Its red raspberry wine will also be debuted, and the vineyard’s entire line of wines will be available for tasting. The evening includes music, a pig roast and a bonfire by the pond.
Sept. 22: Harvest Festival, Adams County Winery, Orrtanna
The star of this free event is undoubtedly the grape stomp. There’s even a Lucy look-alike contest for you “I Love Lucy” fans, along with a home wine-making contest.
Sept. 22: Wine in the Woods, Conewago Chapel Picnic Woods, Hanover
Hosted by the Sacred Heart School, several local wineries and a slew of craft vendors will congregate for a celebration on these storied picnic grounds.
Sept. 30: Grape Stomping, Hauser Estate Winery, Biglerville
As they say at the winery, “What started at Hauser's continues at Hauser's.” They claim to be the first winery in the area to squish and squeeze their grapes the old-fashioned way. The tradition continues, and you’re invited.
Oct. 6-7: Harvest Music & Wine Festival, Naylor Wine Cellars, Stewartstown
If you’re competitive, why not try your hand (or, um, foot) at the grape stomping competition? Even if you’re terrible, it’ll be lots of fun, and the local musicians, wagon tours and food will distract the onlookers.
Oct. 6-7: Wine Harvest Weekend, Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Mount Hope Estate & Winery, Manheim
In the spirit of Wine Harvest Weekend at the fair, come crush grapes from the Queen’s vineyard until there’s nothing left. It’s good, clean (dirty) fun!
Oct. 27-28: Yorktoberfest, Sovereign Bank Stadium, York
Yorktoberfest starts with Pennsylvania wines and then moves on the regional and international craft brews, so you have your pick of poison.
Oct. 27-28: Fall Festival, Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country
Come learn about harvest straight from the winemakers. Taste the just-pressed juice, then visit the tasting rooms to compare it to the final product.
Nov. 9-10: PA Gourmet, Toyota Arena, York Expo Center, York
As a food, wine and entertaining show, wine tasting is just a portion of this event, but it’s clearly an important one! Plenty of wine will be present from local wineries and beyond.
Nov. 10-11, 17-18: Wine Just Off the Vine, Mason-Dixon Wine Trail
For two weekends, winemakers from the 20-plus wineries along the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail open their doors so you can sample the newly bottled wines. It’s the perfect group excursion.
Where will you be wining this fall?
Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Multimedia, 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.