It’s nearly fall, and cooler temperatures are starting to turn fields into hues of gold. This time of year, I especially love visiting Pennsylvania’s Adams County—an ideal place to enjoy the bounty of fall color and sample outstanding wine and hard ciders.
For a thorough list of farms serving small-batch handmade beverages check out the Adams County Pour Tour. This is a self-guided, self-driving map of 15 farms that are located just a few miles from Gettysburg’s famous battlefields. Adams County farmers offer unparalleled hospitality, and during their annual harvest of ripened apples, pears and root vegetables, they’re producing a wide variety of distinguished vintages too.
Take Halbrendt Winery for example; seldom will you meet more dedicated vintners than the Halbrendt’s. This couple of retired scientists love to play with flavor, using their grapes and other produce to make distinctively different (and very tasty) wines. My favorite is their cherry wine! I fell in love with this scarlet vintage, because it’s said to have melatonin in it. It really is the perfect after-dinner wine, and pairs beautifully with chocolate and other desserts.
Boyer’s Cellars is another of my favorite stops. The fruit market is based out of a barn built in 1807, and the orchards date back to the 1880’s. Adams County is where the apple industry started! In partnership with winemaker Matt Cimino of Great Shoals, this farmer/biologist crafts unique and traditional wines and ciders using fruit from their land and other local farms. Open Friday through Sunday, the Tasting Room serves food and hosts musicians and events.
Adams County Winery has been in operation for 40 years. This bucolic farm is a superb place to stop for lunch or dinner. The vineyards have a patio with a brick pizza oven overlooking the colorful gardens. Check out my favorite vintage, Scrapple, which is a wine infused with spices, cranberries and apples— perfect for fall. They also serve wine slushies and wine sorbet. Yes, they’re as delicious as they sound!
Reid’s Orchard & Winery is an Adams County farm making wine in Appalachian oak barrels using 100% fruit produced from their estate. Reid’s samples and sells more than a dozen cider varieties under their mantle Black Bear Hard Cider. They range from super sweet, to super dry, and often incorporate whatever is in season. This time of year, expect to find pumpkin cider!
The Pour Tour also includes breweries like Thirsty Farmer Brew Works www.thirsty-farmer-brew-works.business.site which sits across the road from the famous Historic Round Barn & Market. Both are owned by the Knouse family.
Downtown Gettysburg has lots of great shopping and unique attractions. For sustenance during your exploration, stop in at Mason Dixon Distillery for modern comfort food and custom cocktails. The stills here produce small batches of vodka, rum, whiskey and brandy using local ingredients, including wheat grown on the battlefield.
You can pick up the Pour Tour passport and trail map at any of the farms, breweries, vineyards and distilleries on the tour, and then take a self-guided trip through the rolling hills of South Central Pennsylvania. Or before leaving home, print the map online here
Where to Stay:
The Gettysburg Hotel is located on One Lincoln Square, the main square in downtown Gettysburg. Although the building dates back to 1797, the rooms are modern and luxurious. You’ll be steps from shops and restaurants, and it’s an ideal place to stay after your Pour Tour.
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.