A Taste of the Lost Pennsylvania Grape
I presented this to the Historic Foodways of the Delaware Valley group on Saturday, November 7, 2020.
Did you know that the origins of America’s wine scene can be traced back to Eastern Pennsylvania when William Penn brought grapevines from Bordeaux to the continent on his trip to negotiate the purchase of land that would become Pennsylvania in 1682?
Learn more about early wine cultivation efforts, the people — and maybe even a charlatan — who tried to plant the seeds in the region as well as efforts to revive these heritage grapes.
Wine historian and author Mike Madaio will share his research into the early efforts to cultivate and create a burgeoning wine industry around Philadelphia.
He has selected a host of wines — some created with heritage grapes for us to taste (see below where to find the wine locally), and discuss. We encourage you to taste the wines as Mike shares his insight into their history and revival efforts. But you can enjoy his historical wine journey without having to purchase the beverage and hear what he has to say about this fascinating local food history story.
Mike is a food and wine writer whose career began with the Main Line Dine, a popular restaurant and dining blog covering the Philadelphia suburbs, and his writings have appeared in publications such as the Wine Enthusiast, VinePair and Edible Philly. He is the author of Lost Mount Penn, Wineries, Railroads and Resorts of Reading.
Join the virtual tasting of the Pennsylvania grape which will be highlighted in Mike’s discussion. We encourage you to enjoy the tasting by purchasing the selected wines Mike selected. He has included those stores which he knows the wine can be purchased.
Two wines he will highlight hybrid from a historical perspective:
Allegro Punk – $10.99 at both Wegman’s and Pa State liquor stores, or $5.99 for a 375ml can at state stores only
This is a relatively sweet rose wine made from Catawba, one of the early hybrid grapes used in PA that is still used regularly today.
Pinnacle Ridge Quaff – $12.99 Wegmans, $13.99 PLCB (#8008)
This is a slightly sweet red wine made mostly from Chambourcin, a more modern hybrid grape. I believe the style matches what one might’ve found in the 1800s.
A wine to highlight the future of PA winemaking. Not related to the historical aspect, but a showcase of how good PA wine can be nowadays.
Galen Glen Dry Gruner Veltliner – Wegmans, $15.99
Galen Glen Gruner with Envy – Wegmans, $9.99
Go to historicfoodways.org for more info on this group