Two weeks ago when I went to the Super Sweet 30th Birthday I used my persuasive methods on Allie. With the charm of a springtime sauvignon, I talked her into pregaming at local wineries. Allie enjoys wine too, so it didn't take much convincing (just don't tell her personal trainer).
The first winery we went to was Oak Spring. We arrived at the snow covered driveway and into the tasting room. There's not much scenery here; the vineyard itself is a few miles away and isn't open to the public.
The tasting room was empty and the carpet was simply dreadful. We pulled up to the tasting bench, met our wine host/winemaker John, and started tasting.
There is no fee for the tastes and seemingly no limits on quantities. All of the wines are fermented in stainless steel; only the Cab Sauv gets oak chips. I believe only one of the grapes is grown at the vineyard (the vidal blanc reserve I believe), the rest are bought in Erie.
We tried the cab, chambourcin, merlot, gewurztraminer, white cin, riesling, steuben, bluesberry, and the cherry/chocolate (their bestseller!). And that was only 39% of their available wines.
To be honest I judged a book by its cover and was about to disregard this winery. No grapes, an unimpressive tasting room, and a website that is sorely outdated. Boy was I wrong. These award winning wines were incredibly flavorful and unique. Bluesberry? Watch out, Garden State. White Cin? A chambourcin blush that is incredibly refreshing. The chambourcin? Sour with hints of dill so unique that I brought a bottle home with me for only ten greenbacks. (Although John said he is clueless why people pick this bottle up over the Cab. I'll admit- the cab was awesome, but this was half the price.)
Allie and I left the 25-year old winery to head to the tasting room of Brookmere Winery. I'd passed this vineyard on my way to town, but they had a local tasting room that we opted for instead. Driving by the winery is simply stunning. There is a backdrop of gorgeous hills; it is so peaceful. I didn't get a picture but I will definitely go back for a summertime tasting.
The local room is very small but very welcoming. Similar to Oak Ridge, you can try as many as you'd like at no charge.
All of the wines are served cold, even the reds. We tried the Alexander Red, Cab Franc, Railroad, Chambourcin, and the Sangria. The wines were vastly different; the Alexander red was heavy, the Railroad tasted like cough syrup, and the sangria was heavenly. "I could drink this by the bucketful," I commented, and Allie agreed.
My only regret is neither place sold wines by the glass. Definitely something to revisit in the summer, though! Cheers!