The sun shone, the band played, and the wine flowed.
Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for their 2nd Annual Wine and Jazz Festival, which benefitted The Little Rock Foundation. I was excited to spend a late afternoon and evening lazily taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the shindig at the vineyard. Though this was the second annual event, it was the first year to include the evening portion of the festival.
The afternoon offered plenty of tastes, with both Penns Woods and Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery offering tastings and wine by the glass or bottle. The first recommendations Penns Woods and Galer made were White Merlot and Pinot Gris, respectively, but Penns Woods’ Traminette quickly emerged as my favorite of the day. In addition to the obvious wine, there were also a wide variety of vendors selling everything from olive oil to cupcakes to handbags to cheese to handmade soap, and I was able to snag belated Mother’s Day gifts for when I see my mom and mother-in-law over this holiday weekend.
The atmosphere was perfect for all personality types. I, a self-proclaimed introvert, was content to sit at a table and watch people as the event unfolded. My chattier and more extroverted partner-in-wine struck up a conversation with the folks at the Penns Woods table and got a mini history lesson on French wine. He also learned that it is easier for restaurants to buy wine directly from local wineries than through Pennsylvania’s state store system.
As the vendors started packing up for the day, I panicked when I realized we hadn’t yet bought any cheese to snack on. My husband sprinted over to the Hillacres cheese stand and told the young girl packing up, “What’s your favorite? I’ll buy your favorite!” And that’s how we ended up with Fresh Chocolate Cheese, which tastes exactly like chocolate cheesecake. It was a bit rich for the warm afternoon, but it’s been perfect with our morning bagels this week.
As late afternoon faded into evening, Penns Woods continued pouring as the Tony Forliano Jazz Group serenaded us. Festival goers enjoyed an amazing spread of hors d’oeuvres during the evening, including grilled tiger shrimp, fancy fondues, all kinds of cheeses, bruschetta, red pepper hummus, and many other delicious small bites provided by 12th St. Catering.
I consider this day successful on all fronts. A good cause? Check. Fresh Chocolate Cheese? Check. Excellent weather and music? Check. Belated Mother’s Day gift procurement? Check. Delicious food and wine? Check.
If you’re in downtown West Chester, ask for Penns Woods Merlot at Pietro’s Prime and Nonna’s, and for the Merlot and Traminette at Side Bar, or stop in for your own tasting experience at Penns Woods Winery on Mondays and Thursday through Sunday. The tastings change monthly. Visit their website for more information about upcoming events and tasting information.