It seems that there are wineries everywhere these days. The area of Pennsylvania that we are visiting is no exception. The visitors’ website lists about 16 wineries in Lancaster County. Our home in the Finger Lakes area of New York has become known for their wineries, and many of them are producing highly-regarded, award-winning wines. When we travel, we are curious as to how the wines in other areas stack up against our home-grown products. Today we chose to visit the Nissley Vineyards & Winery in Bainbridge, PA.
They are situated on a lovely piece of property, in a stunning stone-and-wood building, and it was a perfect early spring day. Maybe all of that loveliness combined to make this an especially memorable visit. Or maybe they have this “quality” thing figured out, just like George’s Furniture does. In any event, it was a wonderful experience.
Most of the time I am disappointed when I taste wines that are made in other regions. Maybe I’ve just become accustomed to the “Finger Lakes” taste, if there is such a thing, but maybe there really is a difference in quality. Most wines from other areas taste harsh and coarse to me. When we asked for a tasting at Nissley, I wasn’t expecting much. Well, my expectations were too low. Each of the wines I tried had a smooth and delicate flavor and “nose.” I was impressed. They also let us take a self-guided tour of their winemaking facility. Again, I was impressed by the clean, efficient operation. As with George’s Furniture, the evidence of quality was pervasive.
So I continue to wonder about quality. Is it just a personal preference that I liked the wines here at Nissley? Or is it more than that? Why is it that a place like Nissley has several different wines that I found to be appealing, while many other wineries have none at all? You would think that if it were just a question of personal preference I would find some that I like and some that I dislike at each winery. But that isn’t how it seems to work. The variation in my response to the wines seems to go with the winery: most wineries have wines that I don’t like; the occasional winery has several that I do like. This makes me believe that what I am seeing is a result of the wine-making process used by the different vintners. A part of the answer about quality probably hinges on expertise. The variation in expertise expresses itself in a variation in quality in the products – whether we’re talking about furniture, wine, or something else.