Central PA usually raises visions of coal mines, lumber operations, or simply (and more positively) as elk country. We don't often think of that region as a mecca for wines, but Clearfield County hosts several wineries, and the rolling countryside is perfect for grapes. In that weird time of not really spring but not really winter (and no snow), going to a winery sounds like a great way to spend a weekend afternoon!
Starr Hill Winery
I am binge watching (America's new favorite past-time) Amazon Prime's Fire-Ball Run, an 8-day, 2000-mile life-sized, trivia pursuit road rally competition. Why? Because Starr Hill Winery was featured on Season 10, and was, of course, playing when we visited.
In addition to being a destination for Fire-Ball Run, the winery is also a fun destination for wine enthusiasts or those just wishing to enjoy the countryside on a weekend afternoon.
Ken Starr learned the art of making wine by his father’s side in 1952. When stationed in Europe in the early 60’s, Ken visited many wineries and appreciated the German style of wine making. He started making wine on his own from 1966 to 1977.
In 1994, he purchased property in Curwensville, Pennsylvania and planted 12 vines. By 1998, there were 3000 vines. The winery primary grows Concord, Niagara, Traminette, Foch and Leon Millot grapes, producing some 40-odd wines: a mix of red, white, and rose, ranging from dry to sweet dessert wines.
On the drier side are the winery's Chardonnay, made from grapes from Washington State. Stay local with the Pinot Grigio and the Reisling, both semi-dry, and my two favorites there.
|Ken Starr, owner and son of the winery's founder, posing with his Pink Zone |
label wine, proceeds from which help support survivors of breast cancer.
Getting there: 861 Bailey Rd, Curwensville, PA 16833 and several other locations.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; closed Sundays from January 1 - April 1
|Why yes, yes those are my toes and my dog on that lovely bottle of delicious rose!|
Bee Kind Winery offers wines inspired by Clearfield County's farmlands, natural areas, and the West Branch Susquehanna River itself. Although the winery specializes in sweet and semi-sweet wines, including some with honey, some dry wines are available.
Among its two dry wines are Bone Dry Red and Bone Dry White, the latter of which I both tasted and really enjoyed. On the sweeter side is its most popular wine, Rails to Trails Red, a blend of red and white grapes. History lovers should appreciate the sweet Clearfield Historical Society label, proceeds from which benefit the historical society.
Two of the winery's wines are made with honey: Bee Berry Blue, which is entirely made of blueberries, sweetened with honey, and Bee Berry Black, which is reminiscent of blackberry strudel.
In addition, several local restaurants feature Bee Kind wines, including Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, Race Street Brew Works, Depot at Doolittles Fine Dining Car, Luigi's Ristorante, and the Moena Restaurant.
Getting there: 14325 Clearfield Shawville Hwy, Clearfield, PA 16830
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday noon - 6 p.m.; Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, closed.
Winery at Wilcox
You're in elk country when you're in Clearfield County, so why not try the Winery at Wilcox's Elk Country Red, a Chianti-style red with a touch of residual sweetness and no oak. There's also a clean crisp citrusy Elk Country White, made with Cayuga grapes.
|Drinking Elk Country White...|
This winery offers 25 different wines, from dry, oaked, Cabernet, to sweet blackberry dessert wine, and everything in between.
Niagara grapes grow well in the region, so be sure to try the sweet white Niagara. And of course, one of my favorites, the Pinot Grigio, less acidic than the typical Italian-style Pinot Grigios, and a little more fruity, I thought. The winery also offers an interesting Germanic-style Reisling and a semi-dry Traminette.
What is fun about this winery is that it will host special events, such as pizza and wine pairings. Ba-bye beer -- wine is what it's all about!
Getting there: The Winery at Wilcox at the DuBois Mall, DuBois Mall, 5522 Shaffer Road, DuBois, PA 15801
Hours: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday; noon - 5 p.m. Sunday
For other day trip destinations in and around Clearfield County, go to the Blog's Find a Great Place to Day Trip or click on the Clearfield County label below.
Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger!