Gallop through the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail grapevines this fall

Marie Gullard

What do CrossWinds in Hershey, Pa., Four Springs in Seven Valleys, Pa., High Rock in Hanover, Pa., and Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, Md., have in common?

The answer is a tasty one. These are four of 17 wineries in two states participating in the annual Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s “Wine Just Off The Vine” fall event. It takes place over two consecutive weekends, Nov. 12–13 and 19–20.

“For just $20, visitors will sample hand-selected wines and hear about the results of this year’s harvests firsthand from 17 family-owned wineries across Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland,” said Louise Heine, who promotes the trail and the York, Pa., area. “Food samples and snacks will also be available during the event.”

Visitors enjoy a cellar tasting at Naylor Wine Cellars along the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.
Visitors enjoy a cellar tasting at Naylor Wine Cellars along the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.

Ticket holders also receive a souvenir wine glass and a 10 percent discount on purchases. Visitors must be 21 years or older to purchase a ticket and the wineries strongly suggest the use of a designated driver when exploring the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.

“The wine will be the star,” Heine continued, “but guests will surely enjoy the scenery as they visit quaint wineries in rustic country settings, as well as vineyards with ample grounds to explore.”

Fiore Winery, in Pylesville, Md., certainly fits that description.  In operation since 1986, the views from the arched porticos atop the rolling hills offer superb vistas, while delightful gardens beckon long walks.

A former vineyard owner in Italy and co-founder of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, winery owner Mike Fiore’s 2007 Sangiovese was the recipient of the 2010 Maryland Governor’s Cup, the top prize for a Maryland wine, as well as numerous international silver and bronze medals. In addition to this award-winner, Fiore carries six other red wines, dry whites, sparkling wines, and semi-sweet and sweet and fruity wines.

“When I left Italy in 1962, the last words I said to my mother (were) ‘I never want to see another vineyard as long as I live,’” Fiore said, laughing. “But, I felt it was very uncivilized to have a meal without a glass of wine.”

First-time participants

A freshman player in the November event, Galloping Goose Vineyards, in Hampstead, Md., is one of four wineries participating in the “Wine Just Off The Vine” event for the first time.

“A friend of mine, Jeff, from Thunder Ridge said he had a good experience and thought I should try it,” said owner Diane Hale.

Her winery began growing grapes in 1995 solely to sell to other area vineyards. However, in 2000, the operation began to focus on winemaking, too.

And while they still grow 80-plus tons of grapes to sell commercially, they keep 20 tons for their own use.

“This year, we have a really nice petite verdot, which is excellent with steak,” Hale said. “And, we’re going to show off (our) Rose’ of Cabernet, which goes nicely with salmon.”

As a special feature of the wine weekends, Galloping Goose Vineyards will be offering samples from three or four of its barrels and have each customer choose a favorite. “We’ll bottle that one and have it ready for Tour de Tanks (another trail event) in the spring,” she said.

Tour tickets can be purchased at masondixonwinetrail.com, where you can find more information on each winery. The website also lists lodging packages connected with the wine trail.

For more information:

Mason-Dixon Wine Trail: masondixonwinetrail.com

York Co. Tourism: yorkpa.org

 

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