American Wineries and Vineyards

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mama_needs_merlot's Wine Journal Entries

Shady Creek Winery (written Nov 28, 2011)
Wine: 4 stars Winery: 4 stars Ambiance: 4 stars

Lovely tasting room, helpful and amicable staff, and good wines. I was finally able to take both my Mother and my Grandmother on one of my wine tasting excursions, and have a great memory of the day to make it better. I was hoping for more wines to be from local grape varieties, being right on Lake Michigan and benefitting from the lake effect winters. It was a split between local grapes and imported grapes from California. I bought a bottle of Beach Glass - to support the local effort!

J. Maki Winery (written Nov 28, 2011)
Wine: 2 stars Winery: 1 stars Ambiance: 2 stars

Favorite Wine: VSP was acceptable enough to purchase

This is an open plea to the proprietor/winemakers: I understand the desire to warn off the drunken bachelorette party bus types from seeking out another outlet to maintain their wine buzz. It is with great disappointment however, that I must share with you my feelings on your service toward the general public who are looking for a genuine and authentic Pennsylvania winery experience, and to perhaps learn something to better their appreciation of finer wines. Welcome your patrons as they enter the door, even if you are unable to attend to them immediately. $30 for a tasting is a bit steep for even the middle class wallet - reward those who DO taste with a little more than 1/8 of an ounce. (I measured it) A half ounce is just enough to get a better sense of the wine and allow it to open up as you sip. Take a moment to give some details - what makes each vintage/varietal unique. Kindly offer a pitcher of water for rinsing and/or refreshing one's palette. A small courtesy that goes a very long way. A smile now and again speaks volumes; try to look as if you enjoy what you do. On the day I visited, this was certainly not the case. Lastly, and the most important - please keep the condescending comments for after you flip the closed sign. I observed many back handed "compliments" and patronizing humor(less) quips intended to belittle patrons without their realizing. "Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other." -Erma Bombeck

Oregon Hill Winery (written Nov 28, 2011)
Wine: 5 stars Winery: 5 stars Ambiance: 5 stars

No pomp and circumstance here, Oregon Hill Winery is a great example of a fully functioning vinyard/winery with a tasting room. Gorgeous views, rustic tasting room in a beautiful specimen of a traditional Pennsylvania barn, great assortment of vinifera, hybrid, and craft fruit wines (strawberry rhubarb was delightful!)and a vintner with a wonderfully dry sense of humor. I stopped in briefly, with 8 year old in tow, not intending on taking up too much of his time. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when my 8 year old (who is well versed in farming and the science of fermentation for his age) was included in our wine discussion by the winemaker. Wow. That gets extra brownie points! Great wines, great place, excellent people. German style wines are certainly their forte'.

Tularosa Vineyards (written Nov 27, 2011)
Wine: 5 stars Winery: 5 stars Ambiance: 4 stars

The proprietors make the difference, and the wine is great too! We were warmly welcomed by the father and son team to taste not only what was for sale, but also share in a sampling from the barrels! We visited in off season (Feb.) so we were the only ones to fill the tasting room. A typo in local tourism brochure also had us arriving an hour before they opened - but Chris chased us down in the parking lot to invite us in early! I recommend everything. It is all well crafted. They enjoy what they do, and they do it well.

Shade Mountain Winery (written Nov 27, 2011)
Wine: 3 stars Winery: 3 stars Ambiance: 2 stars

On a busy New Year's weekend a few years ago, perhaps they added extra staff in preparation for the added holiday business... the young girls behind the bar not only looked thouroughly bored to be there, but bothered to assist the patrons. When asked a question about the wine, they would answer "I don't know." and walk away. Aside from the apathetic servers, the wines were not bad, but not stellar either. I sure hope things have changed for the better since then... it has been a while. But enough to keep me from coming back as well.

Windham Vineyards (written Nov 27, 2011)
Wine: 3 stars Winery: 3 stars Ambiance: 2 stars

At $1 a taste, which can be refunded $1 for each bottle purchased, I figured it reasonable. The wine was good, the woodwork inside the tasting room was warm and inviting, but outside, it looked like a pre-fab modular room rolled up onto a huge gravel lot overlooking a corner of the sloping vinyard. Perhaps this was during renovation? Customer service was slightly lacking, the lady helping me mentioned she was the winemaker's wife. She was too busy to spend any time with any one person, and while talking about how the wines were made - did not know what purpose using Hungarian oak served them. A little homework goes a long way, and she should have done a little.

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