Each year, many people flock to the area to explore the fantastic wineries in the Lehigh Valley. The area is an ideal grape-growing environment, as evidenced by the formation of the Lehigh Valley AVA in 2008, and many of the wineries have won international awards for their high quality wines. While there are many to choose from, here are four of my favorite wineries to visit on the western side of the Lehigh Valley. Please call ahead if you are going to visit a winery with a large group.
Galen Glen Winery is located on historic property that was formerly a dairy farm owned by the Troxell family. In 1995, Galen and Sarah Troxell, a former mechanical engineer and a former chemist, planted their first grapevines. Their soil, elevation and location combine to create an extraordinary micro-climate that is characterized by dry summers and long cool autumns perfect for ripening grapes. They have become world-renowned for producing excellent Rieslings and pioneering the planting and production of Grüner Veltliner, an exquisitely crisp Austrian white wine, in the United States. In addition to the wines, stunning views of the surrounding farmland, vineyards, and mountains make this a worthy stop.
In 2007, Bob Hackett, owner and winemaker, bought a farm in New Tripoli, PA, and began planting vinifera grapes. Ten years later the vineyard is mature and the 14,000 vines produce 25 tons of fruit annually, enough to make 16,000 bottles of wine. Admittedly small-scale, but Hackett Wine is about quality, not quantity. Bob has traveled all over the world, working for several vineyards, and studied at U.C. Davis in California, so he knows his stuff. While he currently produces two white wines, Bob is becoming well-known for his high-quality dry red and rosé wines, particularly Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. Rich, luscious, and designed to pair with food, they outshine many of the red wines that you find in the Lehigh Valley. Bob’s goal is to produce the finest red wines with minimal intervention in the wine-making process, letting the grapes and location speak for itself. Visit for a relaxed, leisurely tasting in a charming eclectic tasting room with views of the vineyard right outside. Bring a picnic and enjoy a game of cornhole while drinking in the views.
Just down the street from Hackett Wine, on Carpet Road, is Weathered Vineyards, owned and operated by Rich and Dana Wooley. Rich is a ‘real’ Meteorologist and Environmental Engineer who was bitten by the weather bug when he was just a child. He brings a scientific mind to the grape growing and wine making process wanting to know how it all works from beginning to end and never stops asking why or how. Dana is a nurse by day, but you’ll often find her in the tasting room in the evenings and on weekends. Nestled among the rolling hills and family farms of the Lehigh Valley AVA, and not too far from Allentown, Pennsylvania, the winery and vineyard sit atop a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Their hill-top location produces several microclimates, which accentuates the Lehigh Valley’s unique terroir. They have a wide variety of wines to appease every kind of taste, but their Cabernet Franc, Marchel Foch, Riesling, and Traminette are stand-outs.
Rich and Carol Blair’s family has owned the farmland and hillsides that grow the grapes for generations. The high elevation, the cool temperatures and the eastern and southern aspects of the slopes in Eastern Pennsylvania make an ideal location for the cold climate grapes of northern Europe. The gravity flow winery has 3 levels built into a two-story building. The top level contains the tasting room that overlooks the vineyard and the beautiful Blue Mountains. The next level down is where primary fermentation takes place after the grapes are harvested. The lowest level is built into the hillside to keep their barrel room and stainless steel tanks at a constant temperature of 58 degrees all year long. The gravity flow setup permits limited contact between oxygen and the wine, which lets the winemaker extract more delicate flavors that may otherwise be lost. Setter Ridge has become known for their outstanding Pinot Noirs, but have a nice selection of red wines (3 Sisters – a blend, and the Syrah are two of my favorites) and a few whites. Enjoy a glass of wine on the grounds with a view of the Blue Mountains in the distance.