The local wineries in Chester County that comprise the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail were sponsoring the second consecutive weekend of the 8th Annual Harvest Festival. It was an unfortunate coincidence that the enormously popular Victory Brewing Company in nearby Downingtown was holding their Fall Festival as well. A little competition is always good in my opinion.
Fran & I made the hour plus trek out to Sadsburyville to check out the newly renovated Black Walnut Winery. The winery is situated in a 200 year old barn that was painstakingly converted to accommodate the production, storage and sales of the wine. We met our friends Chip & Michelle at the facility and were excited to taste some of the blends and knock back a few glasses.
For a tasting at Black Walnut, the cost is $6 to sample 6 wines of your choice. I spoke to Valerie, one of the owners about their project and she was very excited about the new building and knowledgeable about the wines that they were offering there. The grapes are mostly locally grown and purchased from local farms (No vineyard on-site). The whites and reds were divided into respective groups on the bar. Traditionally, the correct order for wine tasting is light whites to heavy whites, then light reds to heavy reds followed by the sweeter dessert wines. If there are sparkling wines those are generally offered before anything else. The large selection of similar wines could have been a little intimidating for somebody new to wine tasting and not familiar with the different varietals.
The four of us gravitated to what appealed to us the most (Back to the premise of drinking what you like). I planted myself over by the reds. They offered a Bank Barn Red (Slightly sweet) which was fantastic but not for sale because the supply was sold out barring a few bottles for tasting. (I can understand why). Lance, another one of the owners brought out a few of the Cab Sav blends that he was experimenting with for the guests to try. Another red that I really enjoyed was the Black Tie Optional, which was a blend of mostly Cab Franc and Merlot. Chip was good enough to pick up a bottle of this for us to share on the grounds while enjoying the band and good company outside.
The space out back was perfect for enjoying the wine and listening to music. The Bignote Band was there cranking out mostly classic rock. There was a general consensus in our group that they were getting louder as the afternoon went on but it may have been the alcohol. Some of the patrons opted to bring a picnic lunch which was encouraged. The four of us decided to pick up some of the cheese, crackers & salami that was for sale. The owners also offered a nice spread of apples, cookies and some of their warm, festive spiced apple wine to enjoy.
Thanks to Lance, Valerie and the rest of the group at Black Walnut for a great experience. We will be back for the Port, rumored to be available later this year 🙂