During the summer of 2020 (FML), I was preparing for an online wine class on east coast wines. While doing research, it struck me how far we’ve come, even in the last year. I made it a personal challenge to find twenty wines that prove that East Coast wineries are ready for primetime. These are the east coast wines that rival Napa Valley. My friends, the gauntlet has been thrown down.
Top New York Wineries
The wines are stunning, pure Rieslings that speak of Seneca Lake with more than a little reference to the Mosel.
Our top pick is Hermann J. Wiemer Reserve Dry Riesling
This South Fork, Long Island winery is run by winemaker Christopher Tracy, a natural winemaker and delightful lunatic.
Our top pick is Channing Daughters “Mosaico” White
The winery that changed the course of winemaking in the Finger Lakes. Located on Keuka Lake.
Our top pick is Dr. Konstantin Frank Old Vines Pinot Noir
Located on the eastern shores of Seneca Lake, they excel at red wine production like no other Finger Lakes winery.
Our top pick is Damiani Cabernet Sauvignon
In 2003, Harbes Vineyard was planted on a boulder-strewn, south-facing slope near the coast of Long Island Sound (North Fork)
Our top pick is Harbes Family Vineyard Hallock Lane Merlot
Vineyard & farm located in the small hamlet of Cutchogue, on the North Fork of Long Island.
Our top pick is Bedell Cellars Cabernet Franc
Top Pennsylvania Wineries
Galen Glen Winery
Based in the Lehigh Valley, they have the oldest Gruner vineyard in America, planted in 2003.
Our top pick is Galen Glen “Stone Cellar” Gruner Veltliner
The original natural wine destination in PA. Their vineyards, which was planted in 1997 with an eccentric assortment of Italian varietals.
Our top pick is Va La “Prima Donna” Orange Wine
Waltz Vineyards was established in 1997 by Jan and Kimberly Waltz. The vineyards are situated on a hill between Lancaster and Lebanon
Our top pick is the Waltz “Crow Woods” Cabernet Sauvignon
Estate vineyard in the Susquehanna River Valley. Planted in 2012 to Eastern European varietals.
Our top pick is the Fero Saperavi
Since 1973, Mazza has been producing wine on Lake Erie. A pioneer in east coast wines, the recent move towards their Italian roots is welcome.
Our top pick is Mazza Vineyards Teroldego
Penns Woods Winery
Vineyards are all on gentle slopes at a low altitude about a half-hour from Philly. Slowly becoming PA’s cult winery.*
Our top pick is Penns Woods Ameritage Reserve
Top Virginia Wineries
Located in the Monticello AVA, the winery is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Our top pick is King Family “Skin Contact” Viognier
Family-owned estate winery in the Monticello AVA. They specialize in small-lot wines.
Our top pick is Stinson Vineyards Rosé of Mourvèdre
Earning very high ratings in the Wine Advocate for red wines, this is a unique winery in the Middleburg AVA. For east coast wines, this is closer to Napa then you could imagine.
Our top pick is the RdV Vineyards “Rendezvous” Bordeaux Blend
Established in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, whose family has been producing wines throughout Italy since 1821. Located in the Monticello AVA
Our top pick is Barboursville Vineyards Reserve Nebbiolo
Top New Jersey Wineries
Alba in the Warren Hills AVA is producing some of the best Pinots and Chardonnays on the East Coast right now.
Our top pick is Alba Vineyards “Grand Reserve” Chardonnay
William Heritage Winery
Located in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA. A family produce farm since 1853, the vineyard was first planted in 1998. Fmr. Winemaker Sean Comninos is a WSoP Grad.
Our top pick is William Heritage Vintage Brut
Originally part of the largest peach orchard in the United States, the vineyard was first planted in 1988. Excellent Syrah & Pinot Noir.
Our top pick is Unionville “Hunterdon Mistral” Rose
A family farm in North Jersey since 2000, the vineyard was first planted in 2009, and opened to the public in 2012.
Our top pick is Beneduce Vineyards “Blue 2” Blaufrankisch
Run by the iconoclastic owner and winemaker Louis Caracciolo. He’s been making Bordeaux blends in Jersey longer than anyone.
Our top pick is Amalthea Cellars “Europa 1” Bordeaux blend
Working Dog Winery
Hands-down one of the great wineries of the East Coast. They are legit rock stars in the Jersey wine scene now.
Our top pick is the Working Dog Syrah
Top Vermont Wineries
Fable Farm Fermentory
Farm-based winery producing aged wines, ciders and vinegars, and runs a CSA.
Our top pick is Fable Farm Fermentory “Pan” Red
Founder Kenneth Albert planted some of Vermont’s first wine grapes in 1998, with its tasting room opening in 2008.
Our top pick is Shelburne “Iapetus Figure 1” Pet Nat
Have a Favorite East Coast Winery?
Gift us your insights in the comments below!