Choosing a vacation destination is tough.
This year, my wife and I just wanted to get away for a bit just to relax & disconnect. And of course, some level of wine country should be accessible. The Finger Lakes was just a bit too far with only a week to work with and Napa/Sonoma will take considerable planning. It was finally decided that we would continue the gradual move outwards with the seemingly endless selection of wineries in the rapidly growing PA Wine Country.
Fran & I have been talking about visiting Gettysburg for years. It seems that the more local the destination, the more likely it is to get overlooked. The same logic is evident as I’ve never been inside of the Philadelphia Art Museum even though it’s 15 minutes from my house (Though I have, of course run up the steps like Rocky several times).
Gettysburg is most renowned for the bloody, three day battle during the Civil War which saw almost fifty thousand soldiers killed, missing or wounded. The town claims to be one of the most haunted in the world. It also happens to be in the middle of fruit orchard central and close to three popular area wineries in surrounding Adams County.Before we rolled into town, our first destination was Adams County Winery in nearby Orrtanna, just west of the ‘burg. After two and a half hours in the car, I was ready to stretch my legs and have a drink. Or two …
It would appear that the term “rural” was created for the Adams County environs outside of Gettysburg proper. When I finally found the farm, I was impressed with the outdoor amenities that they offered. Plenty of parking that wrapped around the barn, a pavilion, and a large, modern patio area complete with a pergola. It gave me some ideas for my own patio (When my suburban tasting room officially opens, you are all invited).
The entrance opens up to a vast tasting area. There were more visitors than I expected for a Monday afternoon in mid October. We were casually greeted by Liz, one of the friendly staff members pouring the local flavor.
Adams County Winery (aka Gettysburg Winery) is home to the Official Wines of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. Commemorative labels enhance six of their wines for next years’ anniversary of this historic battle. Liz provided some tasting sheets and we made selections. Patrons can choose six wines to taste for free, though some of the specialty wines cost a small premium to sample. The following list and tasting notes courtesy of Adams County Winery:
Chardonnay – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine – A classic vinifera wine, light and smooth with a long finish. Dry with citrus tones. Pair with chicken, pork, or cheese.
Traveller – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine – A delicious dry Vidal. Pairs well with almost any food, especially seafood dishes.
Stray Cat Strut – This new Stray Cat Strut is made from the Catawba grape. Neither dry nor sweet with a strong nose of grapefruit juice, is a perfect wine for any occasion.
President’s Choice – A light, sweet, white blend.
Tears of Gettysburg – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine Double Gold Medal Winner – Customer Preferred. Our hallmark wine. A distinct sweet Niagara blend.
– Their most popular selection.
Turning Point – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine – This smooth, semi-dry red wine needs to breathe – open it two hours before serving for full enjoyment. It is an excellent accompaniment to red meats, pork, cheese, or try it with your favorite chocolate.
– Medium bodied Chambourcin blend.
Three Ships to the Wind – A flavorful, fruity wine. Pairs well with spicy foods and makes a great Sangria!
– Starts fruity with pepper on the finish.
The Engagement – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine – A crowd pleasing semi-sweet rosé.
Rebel Red – Official “150th Gettysburg” Wine – Double Gold Medal Winner – Customer Preferred. Our most popular red wine, semi-sweet with a dry finish. Perfect with summer fare, BBQ, burgers, and evenings on the porch.
– Excellent table wine. I picked up some of this.
Rusty’s Red – Our sweet red wine is named as a special honor for the winery’s V.I.P. (Very Important Pet) Rusty, the Golden Retriever.
– I didn’t get to meet Rusty but his toys are everywhere.
Cherese Masquerade – A blend of cherry and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is perfect with a cheese plate, dark chocolate, and a candlelit room.
– Tastes very much like a cherry tootsie pop
Scrapple – Gold Medal Winner. Sweetly-spiced Cranberry apple wine. A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch favorite. Great chilled or mulled!
– If you’re from PA and know what Scrapple is, you might be turned off by the name.
Entwine’d – Chocolate Wine – A luxurious blend of red wine and chocolate entwined together. Bottled in a 375 ml bottle.
Yankee Blue – Estate Series. Double Gold Medal Winner. Made with blueberries harvested straight from our fields. Try it with cheesecake! Bottled in a 375 ml bottle.
D’Vine – Estate Series. Overflowing with floral aromas and a clean finish reminiscent of fresh apricots, this distinct wine is made from our own grapes which are frozen after harvest. Enjoy as a decadent dessert. Bottled in a 375 ml bottle.
One trait that I noticed among many Pennsylvania & New Jersey wineries is the integration of different fruit wines & blends into the offerings. This is very true for Adams County as the fruit orchards are everywhere. Especially apples … giant producers such as Motts, Musslemans & Lucky Leaf all have a presence here.
When planning this trip, I took into account that the three wineries I was interested in visiting ALL have tasting rooms in Downtown Gettysburg. So it was merely a short walk from the hotel to experience all three. That said, I’m glad that we made the drive out to Orrtanna to get a taste (no pun intended) of the full Adams County Winery experience.
Much appreciation to Liz and Dan at the farm for the hospitality. And an enthusiastic thanks to Tara at the downtown tasting room. Of course I had to stop there since it was so close to the room.
Next: The view from above at Hauser Estate. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.