Food & Drink

Summer of special events ahead for local wineries

Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery offers new sangrias that use ginger shrub from Tait Farm Foods.
Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery offers new sangrias that use ginger shrub from Tait Farm Foods. Photo provided

Centre County’s wineries are popular stopping points for locals and tourists alike during the summer months, as they pair the enjoyable warm weather with perfectly chilled glasses of your favorite wines. To cater to the crowds of thirsty visitors, each of the county’s venues has rolled out a selection of unique offerings and events.

Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery, 576 S. Foxpointe, State College, is preparing for its first-ever Sustainability Festival. The joint effort by the winery and Joel Confer BMW is scheduled for Aug. 13 and will showcase BMW’s sustainably-manufactured automobiles along with the winery’s sustainably-grown and produced wines. The event’s lineup includes tastings, catered food from Wine and Cafe on the Park in Bellefonte, live music, raffle drawings and more. Adult guests can enjoy a free wine sampling, or purchase wine by the glass or bottle, or even a wine slushie. Hard-pressed cider made from local apples and a small selection of Pennsylvania craft beer will be available as well.

“We have guest speakers from BMW who will be talking about BMW’s innovative sustainability initiatives, and the owners of Happy Valley Winery will be speaking in more detail about the sustainability of our vineyard,” said Jess Warr, the winery’s event coordinator. “We will (also) be doing short tours of the vineyard that guests may enjoy.”

The event is rain or shine, but Warr said large tents will be set up to cover the showcased cars, patio seating overlooking the vineyard and the stage for the speakers.

“We’re looking to show our appreciation to the community for their continued support of our local businesses by offering a fun event for guests to attend and learn more about how our businesses have taken steps toward practicing sustainability for a healthy future, and hopefully inspire guests to take some steps of their own toward practicing sustainability in their own lives,” Warr said.

Interested guests are required to reserve their spot ahead of time by emailing Warr at before July 24.

Don’t feel like waiting for the latest in Centre County wines? Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, 300 Houser Road, Centre Hall, has been creating a buzz with its new sangria.

“They’ve been really popular,” said Linda Weaver, owner and general manager. “We’re donating 10 percent of the sales of our Spring Creek White to the local Trout Unlimited Spring Creek chapter, and so we’ve developed a sangria recipe that uses that Spring Creek White and some ginger shrub that Tait Farm Foods makes.”

The recipe is easy enough for any sangria-lover to make at home, and when a good cause is at stake, there’s all the more reason to make a pitcher or two.

Happy Valley and Mount Nittany wineries will both be participating in the 12th annual Centre County Farm Tour, presented by the Centre County Farmland Trust. Held Saturday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the family-friendly event gives participants the chance to see the diverse, beautiful and one-of-a-kind agricultural operations located right in Happy Valley. Farm tour passes are $20, or $5 for a single-farm pass, and more than 10 local producers are featured.

At Seven Mountains Wine Cellars’ main winery at 324 Decker Valley Road, Spring Mills, biweekly Campfire Friday Nights continue to be all the rage. From 6-9 p.m., visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs or a blanket onto the premises to enjoy live music and a few other performances. Wine is sold by the bottle, and wine slushies are available, as is beer on tap. Boulevard BBQ provides the catering.

Upcoming Campfire Fridays performances you can still catch before the season runs out include music by Caryn Jellen and a cigar-rolling demonstration by Trans Heritage Tobacco Co. on Friday, acoustic beach and island-pop band Tropical Soul on Aug. 5, SGT Bob on Aug.11 and Hops & Vines on Sept. 15. The last two events will also include performances by magician Brent Kessler.

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at

Spring Creek White Sangria

Makes 5 cups

2 cups Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery Spring Creek White Wine

1  1/2 cups orange juice (fresh-squeezed is best)

1 cup unflavored sparkling water

1/2 cup Tait Farm Foods Ginger Shrub

1/2 cup simple syrup*

1 orange, sliced, for garnish

Chill ingredients before combining them all in a large glass pitcher. Fill glasses with crushed or cubed ice and pour sangria over. Enjoy!

*To make a simple syrup, heat 1 cup of water in the microwave until boiling. Stir in 1 cup of white sugar and chill.