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Pickering Winery
by
Meghan A. Sullivan

 

Located outside Rome in Bradford County, Pickering Winery is a small, family-run enterprise. Mary and Jim Pickering began making wine as a hobby. Today, they run their business from their home, a barn-shaped building nestled in the Endless Mountains. For Mary and Jim, the most important parts of the winemaking business are family and customers. Their children and grandchildren help behind the tasting counter and the cash register, and grandchildren have joined the assembly line in the basement to help bottle wine. With help from family, Pickering Winery can bottle about 350 bottles in an hour.

Mary and Jim began their business in 2003, and Pickering Winery officially opened to the public in 2005. That year, the winery produced approximately 1750 cases. Since then, Mary and Jim have endeavored to keep their output around the same size, so they can focus on their customers and maintain a Mom and Pop charm.
Mary and Jim work together to make the wine, and they perfect their art through experience, helpful tips from friends, and knowledge gained at seminars. Pickering Winery makes their wines from grape juice purchased wholesale, mostly from the Lake Erie region of Pennsylvania. Their bottle labels display a log cabin and specify the wine as “Pennsylvania Table Wine,” which means that the alcoholic content is between 10-12%. Mary and Jim produced mostly sweet wines their first year and have since expanded their selection to include fruit, semi-dry, and dry wines.

Their bestsellers include Francat and Diamond. Francat, named after the family cat and winery mascot Francis, is a sweet Baco-grape and Catawba-grape blend. The Diamond, also sweet, comes from the American hybrid grape by the same name and blends well with Pickering’s Strawberry wine. Both the Diamond and Pickering Winery’s Riesling earned bronze medals at the Pennsylvania Farm Show; the Diamond also won a bronze at the Keystone Wine Competition. The tasting sheet provides customers with food pairing suggestions. The West Hill Red, for example, comes from the American hybrid Vincent grape, boasts a smooth, velvety taste, and pairs nicely with Italian dishes.

 

 

 

The tasting room at Pickering Winery greets the visitor with both a spacious and homey feel. The floor and tasting counter are paneled in pine, and stenciled grapevines run the length of the room as a wall border. In the gift shop attached to the tasting room, visitors can find calendars, bottle stoppers, wine glasses, jam, t-shirts, gift baskets, artwork, wine cooler bags, and candles. Pickering Winery welcomes between 50-150 visitors each weekend during its peak season. The Christmas season is also a popular time of year for visitors, as people from the area venture out for mulled wine. According to Mary, at the first announcement of an imminent snowstorm, Bradford County residents not only stock up on bread and milk, but also stop by Pickering Winery to purchase wine to weather out the storm.

 

 

Besides tasting Pickering’s selection of wines and browsing gifts in the gift shop, visitors to the winery can sip a glass of wine on the winery’s outdoor porch or relax in the outdoors with a picnic lunch. Gardens full of colorful flowers, old decorative farm equipment, a fishpond, and the breeze with outdoor bird and insect sounds from the forest create a perfect environment for peace, contemplation, and the enjoyment of good wine.
           

Pickering Winery is a member of The Grape Escape Endless Mountains Wine Trail. The wine trail was just recently formed and consists of eight wineries in the Upper Susquehanna Region, spreading across Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan, and Wyoming counties. Pickering Winery is also part of the Santa Sleigh Ride Tour, during which visitors stop at various businesses in the area to take part in the holiday spirit. Pickering Winery’s place in the mountains and family character make it a worthwhile stop anytime of the year.

Pickering Winery
Wysox, Pennsylvania

GPS: N 41° 50.106' W076° 21.043'

For more information: Pickering Winery


 

          

 
 

 


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