When one thinks of wines from the east coast, they typically think of New York. Even Philadelphia natives often associate Pennsylvania wines with the Bucks County Wine Trail. It is unfortunate for them because they are missing out on all the amazing wines of the Brandywine Valley. Spanning scenic southeastern Pennsylvania between historic Philadelphia and the Amish countryside, the wineries located in the Brandywine Valley are easy drive of one another as well as several nationally known attractions such as Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum.
The Brandywine Valley’s most popular and oldest winery, by far, is the Chaddsford Winery. The winery is housed in a renovated colonial barn just two miles away from the world renowned Longwood Gardens and the Wyeth family’s Brandywine River Museum. Chaddsford has a vast array of wines and truly has something for everyone. One of their most remarkable wines and a personal favorite is the Merican. This full-bodied red is not usually available during their typical tastings but if you love Bordeaux style wines from France, you must try the Merican. If sweet is more your thing, their Riesling, Sangria and Spring wines are sweet and refreshing. For those of you who like drier white wines, the Naked Chardonnay, which is aged in steel, not oak, is a nice change from the typical Chardonnays.
Not currently part of the Brandywine Wine Trail, Va La Vineyards of Avondale is not your typical vineyard. Named one of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s favorite U.S. tasting rooms, Va La produces 4 Italian styles wines named for the fields that they are grown in. They produce about 500 to 740 cases each vintage and they are available to taste and purchase in a rustic, old barn. The place has an arts feel to it without being pretentious and I have had the pleasure of experiencing a tasting with the owner, who was funny as well as charming. The wines are all very unique, created from blends of grapes found in France and Italy. Often the wines are paired with cheese and other produce from area farms. You have to go to Va La to experience it for yourself.
Paradocx Vineyard is another veteran to the Brandywine Trail. They have a large variety of wines but two things about them really stood out. Their T Wine–a white wine blend enlaced with subtle natural tea flavors. One a hot summer day it is quite the thirst quencher but be careful because it goes down real easy. I believe a non-wine drinker would really enjoy it. The second notable is that they sell many of their wines in “paint cans” instead of bottles, which is great for outdoor parties.
In addition to Chaddsford, Va La and Paradocx, there are several other wineries and vineyards along the trail that are worth visiting including Twin Brooks, Kreutz Creek and Penn’s Woods. If you’re planning on visiting the Brandywine Valley you should make a weekend out of it where you can visit all the attractions, shopping and eating the area has to offer.