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Blue Mountain Vineyards
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Driving through the lovely countryside of eastern Pennsylvania, we discovered Blue Mountain Vineyards located on a hillside just above two ponds. The afternoon was very warm and the sunshine seemed to penetrate even the deepest shade. Parking was available in a paved parking lot between a small pond and a large row of evergreens. It was a Sunday afternoon and the winery was busy. A large number of people were enjoying themselves on a deck overlooking a scene including the vineyard, hills and water. During summer Sundays artists preform their music on the deck. We approached the tasting room using a rustic wood stairs to reach a tree-lined path and archway leading directly to the main tasting room door.

 

 

Once inside we were impressed with the size of the tasting room. The middle of the room has a fence built around an opening in the floor. Looking down one sees the lower level of the winery. Wine is fermenting in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. Boxes of bottled wine are stored below the floor opening. Visitors can amble through the tasting room around display tables and shelves set with wine-related retail objects. A wide selection of gifts is available for purchase.

We proceeded to the tasting bar where we met Joe. He and his wife, Vickie, are the owners of the winery. Joe is also the winemaker. Today Joe was working behind the tasting counter serving wine to a steady stream of visitors. He enjoyed this opportunity to meet and interact with the guests. Joe is someone who can multitask. As he spoke and served wine tastings to each visitor, he also had a keen eye on the baseball game televised on a screen to the side of the tasting bar.

In 1986, Joe and Vickie planted five acres of grapes. Today the vineyard consists of 50 acres of grapes. The varietals include Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Petite Syrah.

In 1993, Joe made his first wine with a 1992 vintage. Today Joe aims at a 12% ABV for whites and 13% ABV for reds. He tries to produce wines with lower sulfites. Sulfite is responsible for giving some people headaches. Joe works hard to produce European style wine. He wants his wines to be soft with a long finish and food friendly. His emphasis is on long finish. The most popular wines at Blue Mountain are the whites, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio. We asked about the design on the wine bottles. Joe told us the logo on the wine bottles represents the fog laying on the area hills.

We tasted several Blue Mountain wines. The long finish was noticeable with many of the wines. The Chardonnay Reserve has fruit flavor, oak and butter on finish and aftertaste. It has a balance of fruit, acid and oak. The Vidal is dry and crisp. Pinot Grigio is smooth with a high fruit taste on the finish. Vignoles has a slight mineral bouquet with sweet fruit and sweet taste, with fruit on the aftertaste. Bri’s Blush has a fruit aftertaste. Victoria’s Passion (Chambourcin) is a sweet red and pairs nicely with dark chocolate. Cabernet Sauvignon has a a cherry bouquet. It has a soft taste with a fruit finish and aftertaste. Chambourcin 2005 is 82% Chambourcin and 18% Shirza. It has a vegetable bouquet and a pepper and fruit taste. Merlot has higher tannins with pepper and some fruit on the aftertaste.

 

After our tasting, we exited through an event room, using stairs leading to the vineyards. We walked through the vineyards terraced above the pond. The grapes were beginning to show verasion. Strolling through the vineyards provides a relaxing setting to observe the very beginning of wine production. The grape leaves acted as a large sun-gathering machine nurturing the berries on the vine. It is interesting to walk through a terraced vineyard. As one looks down toward the pond, one observes the canopy of row upon row of grapes. Looking up one can notice the clusters of grapes hanging below the canopies.

 

When you visit Blue Mountain Vineyards, be sure to take a walk through the nearby vineyards. The pace of life definitely slows down as one communes with nature. On Sundays from June through August you can relax on the deck and enjoy the live music while enjoying a glass of your favorite Blue Mountain Wine.

Blue Mountain Vineyards
New Tripoli, PA

GPS: N 40° 40.085' W 075° 45.475'

Local lodging: Hilton Garden Inn, Allentown West

 

 


 

          

 
 

 


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