As we enter the new year many people set new year resolutions as a way to have something to work for and hold themselves accountable. While many say they want to whine less we are wining here… hidden gems of Lancaster County are the wineries in the area, each unique providing patrons wonderful experiences in beautiful atmospheres. Let’s jump into the top 3 wineries in Lancaster County: Waltz Vineyards, Thorn Hill and Moon Dancer.
Waltz Vineyards, a winery that is full of breathtaking views across Lancaster County with three locations. One in Manheim township, Gordonville, and Lititz; each provide a unique and personalized experience. Waltz is owned by a 6th generation Lancaster farmer and his wife who pride themselves on using the land to produce award winning wine. The farm that holds the grapes is located on a hill that holds a micro-climate that is perfect for creating air flow to create mouth watering tastes. The first wine at Waltz was created in 2000 within their garage learning the art of blending and fermenting. Each wine is made from hand-picked fruit…talk about using the local land and produce! The winery opened in 2009 to provide patrons wine tasting experiences within their tasting room. This space provides individuals a space to learn about the history and work that goes into making Waltz wine. One of the major reasons I appreciate this vineyard is all their partnerships with local businesses, there is an entire section on their website where they provide you lists for restaurants, breweries, experiences, hotels, inns, bed & breakfasts, caterers, and grocery stores. Each name is linked to their website, Waltz provides us the opportunity to learn more about local businesses we may not know of and an easy way to find out more about how to support them! Let’s dive into the wines at Waltz, they offer Red, White and Rose. The reds available to enjoy are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dry Red Blend, and Semi-Dry Red Blend. The whites available to enjoy are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Reserve Chardonnay, Semi-Dry Blend, Semi-Sweet White, and Wine Club Exclusive. Wine Club you read that right…Waltz Vineyards offers a wine club membership a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their wine regularly! This membership has so many perks, first you can pick from 3, 6 or 12 bottles quarterly while also having the opportunity to enjoy complimentary tastings, access to pre-released wines, discounts and exclusive events. What is important to note…this membership provides you with award winning wine regularly! Waltz has changed their hours for the upcoming weeks. They are open Thursdays & Fridays from 12-4pm as well as Saturdays from 11-5pm at their Manheim location. Their bottle shop is open the same hours on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays but also Sunday from 11-3pm this shop is located in Lititz. Their wine shop at Kitchen Kettle Village has hours Monday through Thursday 10-4pm and Fridays & Saturdays 10-5pm. What is wonderful about Waltz is they are taking extra precautions for all their patrons you are able to arrange a personal appointment by emailing them or going during their hour of opperation at Kitchen Kettle Village specificially for high risk. Multiple wines made in Waltz have won awards from competitions, showings, and top reviews, enjoy a glass or two soon!
Thorn Hill Vineyards, the second winery I would like to highlight. Thorn Hill is owned by Jack and Amy Thorn, where they create wonderful wine for so many to enjoy! The grapes in their wine come from California vineyards providing patrons the opportunity to taste so many flavors from California fruit to earthy tastes, winemakers creating an experience for their customers unlike any other through not only flavor but with experience as well. Thorn Hill has two tasting locations one in Lake County, California and the other in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This family winery creates award winning wine with flavors for all to enjoy. Learning about winemaking is best done by a winemaker that is passionate and detailed, when looking at Thorn Hill Amy Thorn does just that. There are seven steps in winemaking that are shared in detail on Thorn Hill’s website: One being grapes, cultivating wonderful grapes that are an essence of the terrain, two being harvesting, picking grapes when ready is the next step, three being fermentation, grapes need to be crushed and fermented so they can age properly, four is picking a barrel, this is where the wine will age barrels matters as it affects the flavor and process, five is fermentation again, six is blending to create the flavors a winemaker desires, the final step is bottling, properly bottling the wine so when ready can be enjoyed. This year marks nine year of wines within Thorn Hill to celebrate they are hosting events on February 12th and 19th where attendants are asked to wear silver or black and enjoy plated tapas, friends and wine to celebrate! To RSVP head to their website as they have limited number of guests allowed each night. If you have the opportunity to go to one of the tasting rooms to experience the creations of Amy Thorn I highly suggest that you go, you won’t regret it! Be sure to check out their events page and join Thorn Hill soon for an incredible experience. Enjoy a glass in our backyard of Lancaster County and when the time to travel comes head over to California and experience one of their villa experiences!
The last winery I would like to highlight is Moon Dancer Winery Cider house & Taproom. Moon Dancer is located in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania providing patrons a wonderful experience of not only wine but food, beer and ciders as well. Moon Dancer was established in 2004 located on the Susquehanna River, a beautiful location where you feel like you are transported to another place. They offer wine tastings, tours and space to enjoy time with your friends with fireplaces, live music, patios, and more. The name comes from the Moon Dancer Legend, a man who appears during the harvest late at night providing star-filled nights, rain and appreciation of simpleness. If you are looking to experience this space of tranquility be sure to check their events section of their website because tickets may need to be purchased depending on the day and the event. Moon Dancer offers 5 ciders, two of which are seasonal from their on property cider house. If wine or cider is not your drink of choice don’t worry they offer local PA beers on tap, by bottle, or can…there is something for everyone. While enjoying a drink you most definitely should also get a handmade pizza from their on property wood fired oven, Ta Ta Kua. While Moon Dancer provides an afternoon of relaxation with friends and a space to enjoy local wine, cider, beer, and pizza you also have the ability to host a private event on property. Moon Dancer is known for a dream location for weddings! This year take an afternoon to get lunch and a drink with some friends soaking in the beauty of the river!
As you look to the new year why not make a resolution to try new things and go to new places? Checking out one or all three of these wineries will provide you with wonderful weekend adventures with your friends or family. You will feel like you are away soaking in the landscape while being able to support some of the many wonderful local businesses within Lancaster County! As we continue through the new year take time to find local buisnesses and support them how and when you can, they are working so hard to accomodate all, providing many options and services to ensure not only safety but comfortability to anyone that works with them.
Contact Mary Sue Wolf to look at homes and properties not far from all the wonderful wine trails in Lancaster. You will love it here!
For more information on wonderful homes like: 679 Goose Neck Drive, Lititz PA 17543 overlooking the 13th-hole fareway call Mary Sue at 717-333-9653 or visit her website at www.WolfandWebb.com