This past Sunday, Brenda and I had the pleasure of visiting the West Hanover Winery in suburban Harrisburg, PA. Owner George Kline greeted us upon our arrival and we began a very pleasant 45 minutes of wine tasting and conversation. George has been making wine for 49 years and has been operating the winery since 1987. Before opening West Hanover, George made about 200 gallons of wine per year for the pleasure of his family and friends. In 2007, production had increased to about 4,250 cases. He has 2,500 plants, including Chambourcin and other varieties in his vineyard and the rest of the grapes are grown elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
George is very knowledgeable when it comes to grapes. He told me that there are over 6,300 varieties of wine making grapes and he has extensive knowledge of 900 of those varieties. He understands the characteristics of the grapes, where to plant them and why they do or don’t make great wine. He puts all this knowledge into the wines he makes.
Besides winemaking, George is very knowledgeable when it comes to pairing wine with food. He spent five years as a meat cutting apprentice and many years as a meat cutter for a major retail grocery chain. During this time, he experimented extensively with wine and meat pairings. He caters several wine events per year during which he experiments with pairings that many of us might not think of. His philosophy is “drink what tastes good”.
The wine list is extensive and includes everything from a dry Cabernet Franc to a sweet Riesling. West Hanover also features Mead which is a honey wine. Don’t forget your wine carrier because I guarantee you’ll want to take home some of George’s creations.
Every summer, West Hanover offers a series of four outdoor concerts on the winery grounds. George Kline invites you to bring your lawn chair, picnic basket, and other accessories and have a great time. Check out West Hanover Winery’s website for more details.
West Hanover Winery is open Monday from 2:00 to 6:00, Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 to 8:00, Saturday from 11:00 to 5:30 and Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00. George offers tours of the winery and tasting is on the house. The West Hanover Winery is a proud member of the Uncork York Wine Trail.