Something to wine about

By on May 20, 2015

With what seems to be a new brewery or festival announced every month, it is obvious beer is king in this county. But there are some advances going on with other beverages in the area. So, Hop’in Around is going to step away from the suds for once (but not that far away) and take a look at some news of the grape!

Last Friday the relatively young Waltz Vineyards (which began operations in 1997) added to its steady growth by opening a new location to sell its selection of world-class wines. The Manheim-based vintner opened a tasting room in the heavily trafficked Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse. The third location will help the estate winery gather more exposure while owners Kimberly and Jan Waltz maintain their other locations — the vineyard tasting room in Manheim and the bottle shop in downtown Lititz.

On Sunday, June 14, wine newbies can get a good education on what Waltz offers at a wine dinner on the patio of the General Sutter Inn. The four course meal is paired with five Waltz wines, the first being its sweetest wine served during pre-meal social time. The first course consists of chilled gazpacho with avocado cream and a grilled shrimp garnish paired with the Old Line Chardonnay. Pancetta and cannellini bean ragu makes up the second course and is paired with Stiegel Rose, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The next course features the winery’s driest red-another Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend aged for 21 months in French oak barrels-paired with lamb, fingerling potato hash, caramelized carrots and lemon thyme jus with a balsamic glaze. The meal ends with a light fruit and cheese plate paired with a Barred Rock Red, a medium bodied red blend, which can even be enjoyed chilled. The prix fixe dinner costs $70 per person and includes tax and gratuity.

If dinners are not what you are looking for, the folks at Joycat Events (the same people responsible for Lancaster Craft Beer Fest) are putting on SIP Wine in the Park in downtown Lancaster’s Musser Park on Saturday, May 30, from 3 to 6 p.m. Lancaster native and certified Sommelier Chris Trendler will feature a worldwide selection of lesser known, high quality wines from Argentina, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, and Spain. U.S. wines are represented by Washington, California, and Oregon. Trendler’s wine philosophy is to “know what you like, but challenge yourself to try something new.”

On May 30, “SIP Wine in the Park” in downtown Lancaster’s Musser Park, from 3 to 6 p.m. Attendees can sample from more than 80 wines. (Image courtesy of Joycat Events)

On May 30, “SIP Wine in the Park” in downtown Lancaster’s Musser Park, from 3 to 6 p.m. Attendees can sample from more than 80 wines. (Image courtesy of Joycat Events)

With more than 80 wines to sample, I’m sure I’ll find something new! Tickets are $75 ($20 for designated drivers) and include wine, of course, as well as a commemorative sampling glass, live music, gourmet food samplings, and local art on display. As of press time tickets were still available for the limited event.

In August, upstart company Skyrocket Media will host its inaugural beer and wine festival in the Lancaster County Convention Center. That’s the best of both worlds for wine and beer fans! The event will feature Pennsylvania wines, beers, and even spirits and will feature prizes, entertainment, and a celebrity chef cook-off. Since this is ultimately a beer column I feel I have to end with some brews news and it comes from Joycat Events. The group is compiling breweries for the first Bundle Up Beerfest in winter 2016. Stay tuned …

Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure, covering subjects ranging from funk punk to fine wine. He invites your comments and suggestions at

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