By PAUL VIGNA, The Patriot-News
Paul Vigna/The Wine Classroom
I'm expecting to see a number of releases from regional wine trails over the next couple weeks touting their activities for 2011. As one Pennsylvania winery owner told me last week, the wine trails have become the primary source of publicity generated for wineries in the state. That lack of a state push, due to funding, is what separates Pennsylvania from Eastern states such as New York and Virginia.
Thanks to Tracey Werner of Blabbermouth Communications in Easton, Pa., here's information on what the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail is planning.
The nine family-owned wineries of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail have announced their 2011 schedule of special events.
March Madness – weekends only in March – Customers purchase a March Madness passport for access to different wine and food pairings at each of the nine wineries each weekend. Passports are stamped during each visit and can then be entered into a drawing for over 20 prizes. Customers also receive a LVWT collectible tile as this year's gift. (Please note: A limited number of passports remain for sale.)
Wine in Bloom – May 21 & 22 – This first-time event replaces last year's AVA Weekend. It takes place mid-Spring as bud break occurs on the vines. It still celebrates the importance that terroir (soil) plays in the development of the grapes, their flavor and the resulting taste of the wine, and stresses the importance of the A.V.A. designation in further legitimizing the area for wine making.
Wine on the Mountain – July 23 & 24 - Held at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, this event includes wine samplings, local artisans displaying their arts and crafts, light fare available for purchase, and live entertainment. Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased at each winery as well as at the door.
Harvest Weekend – The Butcher, The Baker and The Winemaker – September 10 & 11 –The wineries proudly promote the state's "Pennsylvania Preferred" program by partnering with manufacturers of other Pennsylvania products to showcase their high level of quality. Wine pairings, vineyard tours, food, music and other special activities are featured.
Chambourcin Weekend – October 15 & 16 - Taking place after the harvest is over, this event celebrates the "official wine grape of the Lehigh Valley," the Chambourcin.
Nouveau Weekend – November 19 & 20 - This is the earliest chance to sample the first vintages of the new harvest. It's also a great opportunity to purchase wines for the upcoming holiday season to give as gifts or to drink at dinner. March Madness passports also go on sale this weekend.