HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), the Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA) will kick off Pennsylvania Wine Month on Monday, October 2, by hosting meet-the-winemaker events at Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection stores in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County; Easton, Northampton County; Lewisburg, Union County; and York.
Each event will be held from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM and will feature winemaker-led tastings and an opportunity for attendees to interact with winemakers.
Meet John Skrip III, owner of Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery, at the Clarks Summit Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store, 222 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit, PA 18411
John Skrip and his wife Pat founded Clover Hill. John, a civil engineer, and Pat, a teacher, had a fondness for wine and committed themselves to pursue their passion as an occupation. In the early 1970s, they began planting grapes as a hobby at their home in Breinigsville, Lehigh County. They were impressed with the quality of the grapes, and it encouraged them to establish a full-time vineyard and winery business. In September 1985, the Skrips proudly opened the doors of Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery to the public. Over the years, the winery has grown, and they have been joined by two of their children who share the passion of Clover Hill Winery. John Skrip III joined Clover Hill in the early 1990s after studying enology at Fresno State University in California.
"We are very proud that Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery continues to produce premium Pennsylvania products, as it has for the past 32 years," said John Skrip III. "It is exciting to be part of a growing industry and one of the pioneers in PA wine business."
Meet Franklin Hill Vineyards Head Winemaker Bonnie Pysher at the Easton Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store, Northampton Crossings, 3718 Easton-Nazareth Highway, Easton, PA 18045
Bonnie Pysher started with Franklin Hill in 1982. After beginning in the wine business as a young mother of twins with no experience in winemaking or viticulture, she has grown to be one of the area's top winemakers. She's heading into her 36th harvest this year and is still every bit as passionate about what she does as she was on day one. Her approach to wine is simple — drink what you like. Pysher is a pioneer in the industry. As one of the first women winemakers in Pennsylvania, she has been an integral part of Franklin Hill Vineyards' success.
"I love making wine and teaching the consumer what goes into making their bottle of wine," says Bonnie Pysher. "If given the opportunity, I will give the consumer some hands-on experience while they are visiting the winery."
Meet Fero Vineyards & Winery owner Chuck Zaleski at the Lewisburg Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store, Penn House Commons, 310 N. 10th St., Lewisburg, PA 17837
Chuck and Daneen Zaleski, owners of Fero Vineyards & Winery, produce wines from their 13-acre Viniferia Vineyard in Lewisburg. The Zaleskis produce dry and sweet wines to serve all palates. They have been producing wine since 2010 and are always working to make their grapes the best they can be. In return, this allows them to offer interesting, well-balanced, and enjoyable wines.
Chuck Zaleski says, "One day in the near future, Pennsylvania vineyards will be known as the home of premium wine in the eastern U.S. Come visit our wineries and grow with us."
Meet Allegro Winery owner Carl Helrich at the York Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store, York Marketplace, 2547 E. Market St., York, PA 17402
One can take many different paths to becoming a winemaker. Helrich's path started when he was helping his father bottle homebrewed beer in the 1970s. After a variety of disparate career choices, Helrich eventually landed a job at a local winery. This sparked an epiphany for him — he could combine his skills with his desire for new tastes and aromas for the creative outlet he had always sought. He and his wife Kris purchased Allegro in 2001 and have been there ever since, growing grapes and a family of four.
"My life's work is to find and express the true voice of our soils through our wines in this emerging wine region," Carl Helrich says, "and to help bring Pennsylvania wines to the world of wine and share them with our neighbors."
In celebration of Pennsylvania Wine Month, all Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection stores will feature Pennsylvania wines at their regularly scheduled in-store wine tastings the weekend of Oct. 6 through Oct. 8. Additionally, wine specialists at Premium Collection stores will add Pennsylvania wines to other regularly scheduled tastings throughout October.
The Pennsylvania Winery Association, a trade association representing more than 100 member wineries and advocating on behalf of the state's growing multi-billion-dollar wine industry, is also making available at select Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores a touring guide featuring a list of Pennsylvania wineries and a map. With some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the East Coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in grape production, seventh in wine production, and seventh in the number of licensed wineries.
The Pennsylvania Wine Marketing and Research Program is administered by the state Department of Agriculture, which works with Pennsylvania's wine and grape industry to realize its vision as the premium East Coast wine region. The program promotes an increase in the quality, profitability and consumer awareness of Pennsylvania wines through educational programs, research and marketing efforts.
Dozens of events celebrating Pennsylvania wines and wineries will be held across the commonwealth in October, including farm and vineyard tours; festivals featuring music and celebrations of the fall harvest; and tasting and food pairing opportunities. Pennsylvania Wines will be available to the public on happy hour menus across neighborhoods in Philadelphia, including Tria Cafe Rittenhouse, Tria Cafe Washington Square West, Vintage, Panorama, and Jet Wine Bar. More information is available at pawinemonth.com.
New this year, four Fine Wine & Good Spirits wine specialists from across Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh, Northeast Pennsylvania, Southcentral Pennsylvania, and the greater Philadelphia area – will contribute to Pennsylvania Wine Month festivities by offering blog posts, tips, and recommendations at pawinemonth.com on how to select Pennsylvania wines and how to "buy local" at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores.
Last fiscal year, Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores stocked 221 different Pennsylvania wines, generating nearly $7.8 million in sales, which represented a 20 percent sales increase over the prior year. These figures do not account for Pennsylvania wine sold at local wineries, at festivals, or at restaurants and other licensees that buy directly from the wineries.
For more ways to get involved with Pennsylvania Wine Month, find Pennsylvania Wines on Facebook, follow @PAWines on Twitter and Instagram, visit pawinemonth.com and use the hashtag #PAWineMonth.
The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide and licenses more than 20,000 beverage alcohol producers and retailers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling $15.1 billion since the agency's inception – are returned to Pennsylvania's General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania's schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit lcb.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACTS: PLCB: Elizabeth Brassell, 717.783.8864
Department of Agriculture: Bonnie McCann, 717.783.0133
PA Wines: Esha Dev, [email protected], 858.401.3203
SOURCE Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board; Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Pennsylvania Winery Association