When it comes to reasons to visit Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, most people think of the abundance of Amish farms and natural beauty of this fertile region. These are indeed great reasons to come to this beautiful rural area, but the county is also home to a number of excellent wineries that take advantage of the rich soil and abundance of produce.
One of the oldest wineries in the county is Mount Hope Estate and Winery, which has been producing award-winning wines, meads, beers, and spirits for several decades. The estate was once owned by the Grubb family, who immigrated from England in the 1700s and worked as ironmasters. They installed an iron furnace and constructed the Federal-period mansion, lush gardens, and grand entrance flanked by pillars that remain to this day.
Over the centuries, the estate was bought and sold several times before coming into the hands of Chuck Romito, who purchased the land in 1979 with the goal of establishing an award-winning winery. To bring in more visitors, he hosted a variety of events, including a jousting tournament, which was so successful that it led to the creation of the annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
In 2016, Mount Hope began work transforming a 100-year-old barn on the property into a brand-new winery facility next to the Swashbuckler Brewing Company. Guests can now sample fine wines along with handcrafted ales and lagers, all in one visit. Other amenities, including the Divine Swine In & Out BBQ restaurant and the Anchor & Mermaid Tavern, are within walking distance.
The winery produces a variety of exceptional red wines, including Henry Carey’s Red Revenge, which was created with a special label for the 2019 Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. A medium-bodied red, this slightly sweet wine features a bit of summer berry flavor. Henry Carey’s Red Revenge pairs well with grilled chicken or dark chocolate for dessert.
Mount Hope Winery’s red wines also include the 2013 Pinot Noir. This dark ruby wine boasts aromas of black and red fruit. With a smooth aftertaste, this Pinot Noir goes well with grilled salmon or pork tenderloin.
The winery’s white wines include Her Majesty’s Golden Muscat, which was also labeled for the 2019 Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. This summery white wine features flavors of grapefruit and mandarin orange and pairs well with goat cheese. White wine lovers should also try the Niagara, which won the Pennsylvania Wine Association Competition. This fruity wine features a strong grape bouquet and pairs well with baked goods, especially Danish pastries.
Mount Hope Winery also produces several blush wines, including the Pink Catawba. Another winner at the Pennsylvania Wine Association Competition, this sweet yet tart wine goes well on its own or mixed with fruit to create a delicious punch. Another blush made with Catawba grapes is Becky’s Blush. This pink wine features a slight berry flavor and is best served chilled.
In addition to its red, white, and blush wines, Mount Hope Winery produces several specialty wines, including the Honey Mead. A two-time winner at the Pennsylvania Wine Association Competition and the winner of the Silver Medal at the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show, this wine is made exclusively with honey produced in Lancaster County and contains no artificial colors or flavors. The result is an excellent mead with a honey aroma and hints of grape on the palate. It goes well with blue cheese, desserts, and roasted poultry.
The winery’s specialty wines also include the Peach Wine. Winner of the Gold Medal at the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show, this all-fruit wine is semisweet and is best served chilled with fruit or light fare. Mount Hope Winery’s fruit series also includes the Pear Wine, which took home the Silver Medal at the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show, and the Raspberry Wine, a sweet wine that also features the tartness typical of raspberries.
Visitors who like sweet fruit wines should also try the Fusion. Although an apple-based wine, it features a mix of raspberry, blueberry, and kiwi flavors and tastes particularly wonderful when paired with vegetarian dishes or fresh fruit.
Another apple-based wine is the Pennsylvania Dutch Spiced Apple. The label features artwork by Heinz Gaugel, a famous German artist who created the label for Mount Hope Winery in 1980. Representing typical Pennsylvania German artwork, the label features an apple tree, a sign of hope for an abundant harvest, as well as tulips, which represent faith and hope. The wine contains mulling spices and can be served warm with cinnamon sticks in fall and winter.
Visitors can sample these and other wines during daily tastings at the winery’s locations in Manheim and Bird-in-Hand, or at its winery gift shops in Ronks and historic Gettysburg. Swashbuckler Brewing Co. is located next to the winery in Manheim, while the winery’s Bird-in-Hand facility is adjacent to the Rumspringa Craft Brewery.
In addition to offering free tastings, the winery hosts a number of special events, including Murder at Mount Hope, a murder mystery night that includes a four-course meal. As part of its Full Moon Fest, the winery hosts Full Moon Comedy Nights, which feature a number of local comedians.
To learn more about Mount Hope Estate and Winery, visit www.mounthopewinery.com.