Food & Drink

New State College event showcases craft wineries and distilleries from across the state

A new event is coming to State College, bringing together wine and pierogies.

The Wine ’n Shine Pierogi Fest will be held Sept. 22 at the Ramada Conference Center.

Local Wine Events produces the festival, with husband-and-wife duo Bob and Dottie Miller at the helm. The two got their start producing bridal shows in 2002, after which their business expanded into women’s shows. From there, Dottie says, the winery owners attending their shows suggested they produce wine-themed events during winter months, when event opportunities for wineries aren’t as abundant.

Now, the Millers put on 40 events each year across the state, with a big focus on indoor wine events through the winter months.

“The need came up for (a) State College (event) because we have a lot of wineries that are around the area and the Pennsylvania wineries don’t have a whole lot of representation in the Penn State area,” Dottie said. “We like to add a food theme to our events, so this time, being that it’s fall, we decided to add a pierogi theme.”

Dottie and Bob are expecting about a thousand guests at their first Centre County wine event. The fest highlights 10 craft wineries and distilleries, all Pennsylvania producers. Attendees will be able to taste more than 200 different varieties of wine, as tickets include free samples from all vendors. A pierogi buffet will feature potato and onion and loaded potato pierogis, Polish potato cheese soup, haluski, mashed potatoes and sausage and sauerkraut. A DJ will provide live music.

Typically, attendees spend about two and a half hours at Local Wine Events’ festivals, says Dottie.

“We encourage people to take their time, taste the different types of wine and not be afraid to try something a little bit different and see if it suits their palette,” she said. “This is a nice chance for you to taste different types of wines without having to buy a whole bottle.”

Most of the wine makers and owners are on hand, ready to educate visitors on the different types of wines and flavors.

“Because each winery brings such a vast variety of different types of wine, the guests just truly enjoy it and they get to experience a lot of different types of wine, whether they’re a person who likes a moscato or they like a pinot grigio or just a simple fruit wine,” Dottie said.

For the Millers, their job is an enviable one.

“It’s like hosting a big party every weekend,” Dottie says. “I love seeing the enthusiasm of the guests as they’re all lining up at the door.”

Some wineries and distilleries that attendees can expect to see at the festival include Bee Kind Winery, Big Spring Spirits, Burnt Timbers Winery, Bushy Run Winery, Hazard’s Distillery, Hungry Run Wine Cellars, Juniata Valley Winery, KingView Mead, Wine O’Clock Somewhere Winery and Woody Lodge Winery.

Tickets for the Sept. 22 event are $10 if purchased online or $15 at the door. Complimentary bottle check service is available. VIP ticket holders may arrive at 11 a.m. for early entry. Otherwise, doors open at 11:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at at Identification at the door is required.

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