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On the Wine Trail with Jeff Carroll

September 7, 2010

(A Re-Post from Wine Life Magazine, www.winelifemagazine.com)

I’ve visited 64 wineries within a 65 mile radius from where I live, which happens to be Philadelphia, PA.  The first response I usually hear when I tell someone this is , “Wow! I didn’t know there were that many wineries around here!”  When I started out on this trek, I didn’t either.  A little background of how and why this came to be is in order.

My personal wine story is similar to many others: I liked wine a little, but didn’t know what I liked or why.  That made it hard to repeat a good experience or avoid a wine that I would likely not enjoy.  Instead, I was more of a ‘beer guy,’ exploring all of the small-production imports and domestic micro-brews.  Happily, I took a trip through Wine Country in Sonoma, California.  Here I experienced hundreds of wines in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and I was also educated in the basics of how to decipher the language of wine.  It was an eye opening experience, one that led down a path towards several professional certifications and a full-time career in the wine business.

At the beginning of my transformation from wine novice to full-fledged wine geek, I decided that I should investigate winery touring in my own backyard.  I didn’t expect to encounter what I had found in Sonoma, which was lots of wineries and world-class wines at every turn.  But my motivation was to answer the question: “Is it fun to winery tour in the Philadelphia area, and if so, why?”

The following descriptions I’ve gathered is focused not just on the wines or the history of the vineyards, but what I call ‘The Fun Factor.’  The Fun Factor is more than just good wine, it can be found in a place with great staff, beautiful settings, or the opportunity to craft a fun-filled day of winery touring and maybe some other sites too.

Of course, great wine is always fun! And the best discovery I made was that there is indeed good wine to discover right in my own region.  The explosion in the number of wineries over the past decade has brought with it a strong interest in learning how to make good wine, and the resulting push towards quality has taken root.  So join me in a tour of the wineries of the Greater Philadelphia region, or go see what your own region has to offer. Next post: Galen Glen Winery

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