Native wines take center stage at Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sure, you can buy wine from all around the world, but the 15 wineries participating in a festival this week want to show folks what's being made right here in Pennsylvania.

The second annual Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival, set for June 14 at the Monroeville Convention Center, will feature more than 60 exhibitors, including 15 wineries from Western and Central Pennsylvania and other parts of the state.

“We look forward to this event,” says Tina West, co-owner of Allegheny Cellars Winery in Sheffield, Warren County. The winery makes red, white, blush and fruit wines and is bringing eight kinds of wine for visitors to taste.

“I think it educates the people in Pennsylvania about Pennsylvania wines and the different types of grapes that we grow here, as opposed to California,” West says.

At the festival's entrance, visitors will be given a 2-ounce wine glass, which they can take from booth to booth to get unlimited samples from 150 wines. If they make a purchase, they can pick up the bottle or case on the way out or drink it at the festival along with any food they buy. The food vendors, largely local, offer items including homemade dips, cheeses, meats, cookies and fudge.

“It's just like being in a restaurant, except they're going to be able to taste what they're going to enjoy before they purchase it,” says Kelly Simon, owner of Kelly Simon Event Management, which is producing the event.

This festival differs from other wine festivals in that it offers strictly in-state wines and is held for only one day indoors, Simon says.

“It's a relaxed atmosphere. ... It's very casual. It's a beautiful convention center. It's not too hot ... and you don't have to worry about the weather,” she says.

The festival features live music by the acoustic band The Bricks. Many vendors will be selling items like wine glasses, jewelry and cigars.

Visitors will have fun and learn, Simon says, and can win door prizes like winery baskets.

“We have been promoting the event as where Pennsylvania wines come together,” Simon says. “What we're doing is trying to educate the public on the wonderful selection of wines that are available right here in Pennsylvania.

“There are some fabulous, delicious, delightful wines coming right out of our own state, and why not support the local economy?” she says. Some of the wineries grow their own grapes.

Participating wineries include Allegheny Cellars, along with Central Theater Wine Shoppe in Herminie, Westmoreland County; Christian W. Klay Winery in Chalkhill, Fayette County; Courtyard Wineries in North East, Erie County; Greenhouse Winery with several Pittsburgh-area locations; Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery in State College, Centre County; Juniata Valley Winery in Mifflin, Juniata County; Michael Stephen Kavic Winery in Carnegie; La Vigneta Winery in Brookline; Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery in Centre Hall, Centre County; Presque Isle Wine Cellars in North East, Erie County; Seven Mountains Wine Cellars in Spring Mills, Centre County; Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery in Curwensville, Clearfield County; University Wine Co. in Port Matilda, Centre County; and Wapiti Ridge Wine Cellars in Du Bois, Clearfield County.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7824.

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