Local Pittsburgh Winery, La Vigneta

La Vigneta Winery is a Pittsburgh homemade wine business owned in part by a friend of mine, Francesca. She makes moscato so she’s my friend. Just kidding shes a fabulous lady, I admire for going after her dreams! You can now find this La Vigneta wine all over farmer’s markets in the Pittsburgh area, but the business was grown from a first batch made in a Pittsburgh basement.

Francesca’s Dad taught her about homemade wine making. Owning a catering business he experimented with making wine in his Greensburg home in glass car boys. He’s originally from Alia, Sicily. This is where he learned to make wine in an authentic, old-fashioned way!

In 2013 Francesca was inspired by how good the homemade wine was and ordered a batch of pressed juice from California. With her Dad’s help Francesca started making wine in her Brookline home’s basement in. May 10th 2013 was their first day selling together at a Mt. Lebanon farmers market.

Creating their first batch of Petite Sirah, a dry red wine and now their most popular red wine a Sangiovese. The later was actually not what they intended to create they accidentally ordered it! They created 30 cases this first season. The first commercial batch sold featured the same wine base 3 different ways, sold as dry, semi dry and sweet, starting their wine experimentation.

An Italian family member helped name the wine business. La vigneta means the little vineyard in Italian. There’s a small town in Tuscany called Vigneta with hotel called Hotel Il Grotto. This is someplace Francesca hopes to visit one day to celebrate the success of their homegrown wines.

Now they create anywhere from 8-12 wines based on the season. Their moscato is their number one selling white wine! They use it in an apple pie cocktail, using other local proprietor Paul Family Farms maple syrup!

Francesca and her family have also added to the excitement, moving to a 17 acre farm in Sarver PA. They plan to continue expansion, with a tasting room open to the public. On the property they grow grapes and blueberries and are renovating a beautiful old farmhouse. They have plenty to celebrate being slated to sell over 7,000 bottles of wine this year!

Next time you’re at a local farmer’s market make sure to look out for the La Vigneta Winery booth to try their delicous wine. You can La Vignetta at local wine festivals all around the Pittsburgh area, like we the Ligonier Country Market every Saturday. La Vignetta is giving me another reason to look forward to the upcoming Fort Ligonier Days festival!

I know what I'm doing this weekend @lavignetawinery

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Seven Springs Wine Festival 2018

Seven Springs Wine Festival

This past weekend I attended the 2018 Seven Springs Wine Festival. The concept of a summer day filled with endless wine samples sounds amazing, and it is! The grounds that I visit in the winter covered in snow were transformed and covered with PA wine vendors to explore. Most wine vendors had multiple sweet options for me to enjoy. There weren’t many moscato options, but plenty of sweet wines made with Niagara, and concord grapes as well as fun fruity peach, raspberry and blackberry wines.

I had a lot of wine that day, but my favorite vendor was one of the lasts I visited, Seven Mountains Wine Cellars. I had a few wine samples and ended up purchasing three of their varieties.

Just Peachy is a light and fruity wine that, “awakens the senses with irresistible aromas and a clean crisp natural peach flavor.”

All Razzed Up is another sweet wine made with concord wine and “razzed up” with red raspberries. Seven Mountains recommends mixing this wine with fresh or frozen fruit to make a fun sangria.

Tickled Pink is made with a blend of three labrusca grapes creating a delicious refreshing wine with cotton candy sweet finish.

 

I also really enjoyed the Sangria from Antler Ridge Winery. As sangria should be its really fruity and delicious. I couldn’t help but buy a bottle.

My day at the wine festival was just amazing. It’s just fun to spend a day outdoors discovering new wines. Can’t wait for next year’s wine festival on the mountain! Check out my first wine fest post for more fun.

Seriously look how much fun this group had. 92 bottles left behind!?

 

Header image from Seven Springs Website.

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Summer Visit to Gervasi Vineyard in Canton Ohio

gervasi vineyard lake

As I’ve raved many times before (first visit, second visit) Gervasi Vineyard, a winery in Canton Ohio, is simply amazing. The grandeur starts as you pull in the grounds, and doesn’t diminish in any detail throughout the compound. Seriously please just check out these 360 tours on the Gervasi site to see more of the space. The grounds feature plenty of spots to explore including the vineyards, lake, Marketplace gift shop, casual dining spot the Crush House, outdoor patio the Piazza and main Italian Bistro.

I was lucky enough to visit this past weekend for their annual 8th Annual Bellissimo arts & craft festival.

To me, one of the best things about a visiting a winery is the fun of a wine flight! The Brigante, their sweetest red is my favorite wine by Gervasi (besides the moscato of course).  It is is described as having an “assertive structure, complex berry flavors – ‘Bad Boy’ personality. I’m surprised that I like this wine so much because its not just sweet, but has another layer of something, maybe a smokiness, that I didn’t think I’d like so much. It is delicious. I can’t help but take another bottle home with us after each visit.

Gervasi wine Gervasi wine Gervasi wine moscato is my mantra

 

I am still fascinated with how gorgeous the Bistro restaurant is. It appears to have been designed with an attention to detail. From the looks of it no cost was spared on the hardware, finishes or decor, really creating a lovely ambiance. I was lucky enough to be treated to another amazing dinner here by my boyfriend 🙂 For dinner I enjoyed the Apple and Brie Salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. My main meal was a delicious and rich pasta dish the Breaded Chicken Campanelle of garlic, shitake mushrooms, spinach, fresh tomato, garlic cream sauce.  My boyfriend had another great meal. The Mela Maiale a bone-In Pork Chop with blue cheese, creamy polenta, topped with brussels sprouts, pancetta caramel apple sauce – a pretty fancy dish for $22!

 

gervasi bistro gervasi bistro gervasi bistro dinner menugervasi bistro dinner menu

 

On this visit we were able to take a free behind the scenes tour of the winery in the Crush House building!

 

 

I love looking around in each building on the compound, the unique lighting really stands out to me! I see myself having a wine bottle chandelier of my own in the future.

 

As lavish as the decor is you’d think the menu would be too right? It is! Full of rich, rustic Italian fare, so many delicious choices. Check out the menu here. The best part of all of this? It is affordable. I’m serious. A trip here is a lot more affordable than the usual upscale Italian in downtown Pittsburgh.

It is hard for me to say if its the wine, the food, the scenery or the ambiance that keep me wanting more of Gervasi. I love it all.  Even the drive home through the fields of Ohio is great scenery. I’d love to stay here someday, everytime I call it is booked </3. I’ll keep waiting to see the inside of those villas. I would encourage anyone to check Gervasi winery out for themselves.

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Moscato Flavored Lip Balm from Stella Rosa

Yes really, moscato flavored lip balm!

This fun find is from one of my favorite brands of moscato, Stella Rosa Wines of San Antonio Wines. These wine flavored lip balms smell fruity and delicious, a fun treat for your lips. Perfect gift for wine-lovers.

Made in the USA with Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Grape Seed Oil.

6-Pack Set includes  each of the following flavors:
-Stella Rosa Berry
-Stella Rosa Peach
-Stella Rosa Pink- flavors of peach, honey and red berries
-Stella Rosa Moscato – flavors of peach and honey
-Stella Rosa Rosso- flavors of strawberry and red berries
-Stella Rosa Black – flavors of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry

Order your own here!

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Gervasi Vineyard, Tuscan Getaway in Canton Ohio

Gervasi pumpkin patch

Driving from Pittsburgh through the fields and farms of northern Ohio, you wouldn’t expect to run into a grand Italian getaway. Gervasi Vineyard is noting short of unexpected, a true destination complete with picturesque lake, winery, fine dining, casual dining, and onsite Tuscan villas. This winery embodies Italian grandeur, and encourages you to indulge in the finer things. I’ve gushed about a previous trip to Gervasi beforehand, and my second trip for my 26th birthday did not disappoint.

On this October weekend the Gervasi property was amplified with the autumn leaves changing colors. I was pleased to find many pumpkin displays as we wandered the grounds.

Gervasi pumpkin patch

Gervasi pumpkin patch

Gervasi pumpkin patchGervasi vineyard lake Gervasi vineyard lake Gervasi vineyard lake Gervasi lakeside wineryGervasi grape vineyardGervasi vineyard grape vines

The gift shop called Marketplace featured festive seasonal items.

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Before our dinner at the bistro we enjoyed drinks and a delicious meat & cheese pairing at the Crush House. My BF tried a milk stout which was very rich with smooth chocolate flavor with a sweet milky balance – tasty! We learned that the GV craft beers are brewed in partnership with Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

Gervasi Chrush House meat and cheese plate

After our snack we wondered the grounds some more and headed to the main event, dinner at the Bistro. As I’ve raved before, this place is simply amazing. Seriously just check out these 360 tours on the Gervasi site to see more of the space. The grandeur starts with the front door and doesn’t diminish in any detail throughout the Bistro.

Gervasi Bistro grand entranceGervasi Bistro dining room

The Brigante, a sweet red described as having an “assertive structure, complex berry flavors – ‘Bad Boy’ personality” was our wine of choice for the night. I’m surprised that I like this wine so much because its not just sweet, but has another layer of smokiness I didn’t think I’d like so much. It is delicious and we couldn’t help but take another bottle home with us.

Gervasi Brigante wine

For dinner we enjoyed a filet special with gorgonzola sauce and a seafood pasta dish. Both were of excellent quality and taste. The staff even treated me to a birthday dessert of vanilla bean gelato!

 

It is hard for me to say if its the wine, the food, the scenery or the ambiance that keep me wanting more of Gervasi. I love it all. I cannot wait to return to Gervasi, hopefully I can make it for the holiday decor & maybe even finally stay in the villas! I would encourage anyone to check Gervasi winery out for themselves.

Even the drive home through the fields of Ohio is great scenery.

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