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Home to over 200 wineries, Pennsylvania contributes $2 billion to the economy from its unique wine industry, nurtured by its climate and landscape that makes it a winemaking paradise. The green rolling hills, diverse soil, endless forests, hot summers, and cold winters mimic many of the European landscapes that started the industry. It was what pushed William Penn, the founder and proprietor of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, to plant the first vineyard in 1683.
Not far from the suburbs of our state's world-famous capital sits a modest Chester County winery named Va La Vineyards. Family-owned and farmed by Anthony Vietri, this 6.7-acre plot has become famous for its unyielding effort and care towards winemaking as a traditional craft, using an ancient approach called "vins de terroir" to produce four dry flavors. This means that Vietri of Va La Vineyards strays from the factory-produced everything that is common in America and returns to his Italian roots. He allows the climate and soil to give his wines their features and aroma.
It comes as no surprise to those of us that are "natives" to this state that some of the best wine in the country, perhaps world, is found on the rolling grassy slopes outside our greatest city. Va La Vineyards combines the intimacy of old American farming with ancient Italian strategies in winemaking. Here, you will find an experience offering real wine, particularly with one of their four specialties, the plum-colored, dry rosato appropriately christened Silk.
Anyone interested in Va La Vineyards should also consider following the Brandywine Artisan Wine Trail, a tour of wineries through the greenery of Chester County, Pennsylvania. But take my advice... save Va La Vineyards for last.
Brandon Sherbo, Guest Blogger