At the end of September, I was lucky enough to travel to Erie for my pre-wedding Hen Party (bachelorette party) and a Saturday out at wineries. We had the most gorgeous weather, it was low 70s and sunny, and since Erie is right on the lake, there is always a cool breeze as well. What is known locally as the Lake Erie Wine Country actually encompasses the towns of Erie and North East and moves into parts of northwestern New York. It is the largest grape-growing region east of the Rocky Mountains, as the glacial ridges left after the Ice Age made for some great grape growing soil. I honestly did not know that!
I know that California, Washington and Oregon get all the attention of wine drinkers in the U.S. market, and with good reason! I love wines from out west. But, I just can’t get in a car and after 2 hours be in Sonoma County. I can be in Erie though! There were so many different wines to try, and I just had to bring a couple of bottles home. The town itself is really cute too, we lucked out and got an Air B&B in a shady, old neighborhood that was able to accommodate 6 people. All the people we met were very friendly and helpful, and were genuinely excited we had driven so far just to come to their little town wine fest.
When we arrived at the wine festival we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was much more than that. It was a community gathering that had music, food, games, produce, baked goods and clothes for sale; a real small town event. We had a great time and even visited Burch Farms Winery to indulge in a bottle and some delicious home made bread. The vineyard was stunningly beautiful. This particular winery also made lots of products from apples (cider and wine) so there were rows of apple trees just full of fruit. The Lake Erie soil is also apparently very good for fruit trees. Surrounded by good friends, good wine and good food, I could definitely do that more often.