Guest blog post from Kari Skrip of Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery in Breinigsville
I can’t even begin to describe this wild ride we have enjoyed over the last 25 years of business. Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery started as a ‘fun hobby’ and today has become more than our livelihood; it has become our lifestyle. On September 11, 2010 we will celebrate 25 years as a commercial winery. For me, I will celebrate my way of life that I share with my family and friends and countless fond memories that Clover Hill has given me.
Back in our early years when we sold grapes (prior to opening the winery; I was only 5 or 6 years old) customers would drive up to my parents' house and purchase the fruit by the pound. For 10 cents extra we would crush and press the grapes for customers by way of our little, wooden basket press.
My brother, sister and I would spend endless hours having grape battles and seed spitting contests in the vineyard. My parents, with the help of family and friends, would work around the clock to bring in the grape harvest and spent many long nights working with the wines. Neighbors and customers were very concerned what the ‘Hippies’ were doing making wine (no one believed you can make wine in PA!).
Of course today much has changed. Yes, you can make wine in PA (thank goodness!). Clover Hill has grown into PA’s largest producer of wines, but we rarely use that old basket press anymore. Customers have embraced local wines as a way of life and have supported our growth for 25 years. There are still many long nights of work, but we still consider it a labor of love. Some things do stay the same: just the other day my brother and I had a grape seed spitting contest on the crush pad (I won of course!).
We are most proud that in a global world our little corner in the Lehigh Valley is making wines that are unique and specific to our location. We take great pride that the grapes are grown and wine is made by family, sold by friends and we share the privilege of gracing your table at home. I will most definitely be drinking a glass of wine to celebrate 25 years of Clover Hill!