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August 18, 2016
Five Hours of Fun on the Mercer County, PA Wine Trail
By Peggy Mazyck
With a customized itinerary in hand, two mothers and two daughters from the Pittsburgh area joined me on a tour along the Mercer County Wine Trail. The group wanted time together to celebrate before their daughters started graduate school in the fall. The Mercer County Wine Trail impressed them as a perfect opportunity to have fun together and make special memories.
A Getaway Weekend at Tara-A Country Inn
For their getaway, the group chose a weekend stay at Tara – A Country Inn with a five-hour wine tour on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. While gathered on the front porch at Tara to await transportation, they discussed their wonderful stay there. To their surprise, Mrs. Winner, the owner of Tara, was in the yards pruning flowers, and they were able to meet her and express their appreciation for their comfortable stay. They were curious about what inspired her to open such a beautiful inn and were thrilled to get her personal response to their questions.
Wineries in Mercer County, PA
Our chariot for the day was a seven passenger Toyota Sienna. This vehicle was the perfect size for this group and everyone was comfortably seated. The first stop was the Conneaut Cellars Winery and Distillery, located directly across from Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake, Conneaut Lake. I explained that each winery we were visiting offered free tastings, and Conneaut Cellars had over 30 handcrafted wines to choose from. After a brief but informative production tour offered by Conneaut Cellars’ owner, Joal Wolf, the tastings began. This group had visited many famous wine areas and was, to some extent, “wine connoisseurs.” Well, action speaks louder than words, and the action today was that Conneaut Cellars Winery sold a lot of wine to this group. This first stop was a great success and set the tone for a perfect day.
Next stop was Wilhelm Winery and Antique Wine Making Museum. This winery is situated near the shores of Lake Wilhelm and is located in a beautiful, rustic 100-year-old barn. For this part of the tour, we planned an early afternoon snack break. After the free wine tastings, the ladies chose a wine they liked and shared a meat and cheese tray on Wilhelm’s patio. The countryside surrounding this winery is scenic and peaceful. The group enjoyed a wonderful time of sharing and companionship in a tranquil setting.
The final stop of the day was Lago Winery. As we approached this winery, the group noted that the parking lot was packed and there was a lot of excitement and energy at the site. At this stop, a late lunch and entertainment was scheduled. After the free tastings, the group purchased over a ½ case of diverse wines to take home and quickly found a table under the outdoor trellis to enjoy live music, wine, and wood-fired pizza. Lago Winery is nestled in the slopes above Pymatuning Lake and is open mid-April through mid-October.
No one wanted to leave, but soon it was 4 p.m. and our chariot awaited. With a hug goodbye, the enthusiastic response to the tour was, “We loved the tour and we will be back.” For the next visit, we plan to showcase the southern tier of our Mercer County, PA wine trail: Webb Winery, Volant Mill Winery, and Nova Cellars Winery.