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Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate
by
K.L. Sullivan

Nissley Vineyards is located on 300 acres in the beautiful rural area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As one approaches the winery, the sun-soaked fields of nearby corn and vineyards and large, shady trees enhance your trip. When you arrive at Nissley, exit your car and take a moment to notice the environment. Listen to the quiet punctuated by birdcalls. Scan the land a full 360 degrees and notice the serenity and a time removed from the pace of modern times, the rush of traffic and more. White fences emphasize the picturesque green fields.

J. Richard Nissley retired from the bridge contracting business and started the vineyard in1972. The winery opened for sales in 1978. Today the second generation Nissley family runs the winery and vineyard. There are currently 50 acres of vineyards planted with 14 varieties including Native American, French-American and vinifera. Current production is 40,000 – 50,000 gallons, about 20,000 cases.

We approached a large red-sided building with magnificent light gray stone arches. Beneath these arches are the doors to the tasting room.

We met our wine consultant who enjoys her work in the tasting room. She quickly asked if we would like a tour and pulled out a self-guided tour book with a map labeled with letters A – L. With many pictures and descriptive text, the tour was the best self-guided tour we have come across in our travels. Every stop on the tour is easy to identify with large white letters on a dark green background. The map is easy to follow and the tour book describes in detail what you are to observe. The tour begins with the history of Nissley Vineyards. The pre -1920’s limekiln is well preserved and gives a sense that time has changed little around you.

The tour moves to the vineyard where Catawba grapevines thrive in the sunshine. The vineyard is a perfect place to stop and admire the landscape around you. Take a quiet stroll through the vines. Your tour guidebook shows photographs of many of the grapes grown at Nissley. From the vineyard, you will backtrack while on your way to the crush pad.

The crush pad is a large deck area with a large crushing bin at the end. Grapes are poured into the vat where they flow downward to the crusher. The crushed grapes are then pumped into the winery. The red grapes will begin the fermentation process in a tank. The white grapes will first be pressed before placing in a tank to ferment.

The tour continues in the winery. You will have the opportunity to observe a variety of tanks both rectangular and cylindrical. Many tanks are stainless steel and so are the greenish tanks. These were originally used for storing milk and are stainless steel on the inside. A large fireplace and tasting bar are at one side of the winery. This area is used for wine tasting events. The fireplace will also take the chill off the area during the colder months. When you finish the tour, you will be ready to begin tasting the wines Nissley has to offer.

 

 

The tasting room is a comfortable room, neither too big nor small. The sponge painted walls with raspberry parfait and a creamy color, disguise the cinder block walls and adds a nice feel to the tasting room atmosphere. This winery focuses on their wine production of more than 25 wines. The wines are estate bottled. Our wine consultant guided us through several wines. Rhapsody in Blue is 76% Vidal Blanc and 24% Cayuga. The result is a sweet fruit wine with a fruit finish. Seyval 2006 is dry and fruity on taste with a fruit aftertaste. Chambourcin has a balance between fruit and acid and has a smooth red fruit taste with a fruit aftertaste. This is an easy to drink red wine. Naughty Marietta is a blend of 80% hybrid red, 16% French hybrid whites and 4% vinifera reds. The result is sweet and fruity. Montmorency is 100% Montmorency cherry and has a cherry bouquet, cherry fruit and aftertaste with a long cherry fruit aftertaste. Black raspberry has a raspberry bouquet, raspberry taste and aftertaste. This is a great sipping wine.

Summertime events at Nissley focuses on a series called Music in the Vineyards. Beginning with the end of June and ending at the start of September, Nissley Vineyards hosts outdoor music concerts. For the 2007 summer season, 10 events were on the calendar. People are encouraged to bring a picnic supper and lawn chairs or blankets. For summer 2007, the tickets are $14 or one can purchase a season pass.

If you are looking for a chance to get away from the hectic pace of urban or suburban life, a visit to Nissley Vineyards will provide you with a few hours of serenity and the chance to try a variety of wines.

Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate
Bainbridge, Pennsylvania

GPS: N 40° 05.329'    W 076° 38.860'

 


 

          

 
 

 


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