As I’ve tried to become healthier and more aware of what I’m putting into my body, I’ve become a big fan of buying local. I love swinging by the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings to get produce for the week. It tends to be cheaper, they have better selection, and you’re usually getting it directly from the source.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to enjoy my wine locally as well. My boyfriend, Tim, and I attended the Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country’s ValenWine’s Day Celebration. The weekend-long event allowed attendees to enjoy wine tastings and chocolate pairings from any of the 15 local participating wineries. It cost $10 per couple, or $7.50 per person, and we also received 10 percent off wine purchases and a complimentary souvenir glass.
We started at Armstrong Valley Vineyard and Winery, located in Halifax. This beautiful old barn is huge and spacious, offering visitors the opportunity to sample their wide variety of wines, and on Saturday, a variety of chocolates.
I’m a fan of sweet wines, and my favorite wine here was the apple wine, which was perfectly sweet. Here, I choose to pair my wines with a few chocolate chips, allowing me to notice the change in taste before and after the chocolate. I definitely plan to return here, they have a great deck that would be wonderful in the summertime, and they also offer free live music on Friday nights.
After finishing our generous samples at Armstrong, we headed to the West Hanover Winery in Harrisburg. This winery was very busy, and we were first treated to a small tour to see where the wine was made. They offer 38 types of wines, so we had some tough decisions to make. I tried most of the fruit wines, and they had some interesting flavors like sour cherry and pineapple. I paired mine with some dark chocolate, and I tried ice wine for the first time, thoroughly enjoying their Villard Blanc Ice Wine.
After our second tasting, we decided we should probably eat something substantial, so we made a pit stop at Troegs, continuing our local tour. I’m not a huge beer fan, but I love their Dreamweaver Wheat, and Tim enjoys their Perpetual IPA, so we had those alongside our lunch. After tasting the wines all afternoon, the beer definitely tasted different than usual. Troegs is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to stop by on the weekends.
We continued our tour, deciding to conclude at The Vineyard at Hershey. I’ve been here before, but I still enjoyed seeing the winery again. We first started with a tasting in the basement, where we were offered three types of wine, paired with both white and dark chocolates. We were then able to choose three wines from their list to try. I ended up leaving with a bottle of their Niagara.
To balance out our indulgent day of chocolate and wine, we roasted several pounds of vegetables from the West Shore Farmers Market. For less than $10, we had two full trays of carrots, rutabagas, Yukon potatoes and parsnips. The whole day was a great and affordable way to see just what this area has to offer. If only the wineries were close enough to allow for a running winery tour … a girl can dream.