A glass of wine and some snacks paired with great live music is a solid recipe for weekend relaxation, and that’s exactly what owners Kevin and Cindy Bishop hope you’ll do when you visit Bishop Estate Vineyard & Winery.
Located in Hilltown Township (use Perkasie for driving directions), Bishop Estate is one of the newer stops on the Bucks County Wine Trail.
You wouldn’t know that from the recognition it’s garnered over the past two years, first of all for its clean-tasting wines (all 17 of them), but also for the year-round entertainment and events schedule the vineyard boasts.
Live acoustical music can be enjoyed every Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening at Bishop Estate, and fun wine-related events such as sip-and-paint classes are held frequently, with more information available on the winery’s events calendar and its Facebook page.
“We find people really enjoy them,” said Cindy of their special events.
She noted that a typical visit to the winery might involve a tasting, which includes six wines of your choice and a complimentary wine glass for $6.
After the tasting, visitors will often opt to enjoy a new favorite wine outside in the courtyard, perhaps with food or snacks that can be purchased on the premises or delivered by a local eatery.
Guests can also bring their own nibbles to enjoy with their wine, and on Fridays and Saturdays Bishop Estate hosts various food trucks–one per evening–from throughout the area. The lineup is posted on their website.
If there’s a chill in the area, there are a number of firepits to sit next to for more warmth than the wine alone can provide.
“People love that,” Cindy said.
Visitors also love the scenic beauty of the rolling countryside that surrounds the winery.
Bishop Estate is located on rich farmland Kevin’s family has tilled for generations, and some of it is still farmed, although for the Bishops themselves agriculture has now taken a backseat to viticulture.
They had always enjoyed wine, but hadn’t thought seriously about starting a business focused on it until several years ago, when they toured Blue Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery in Saylorsburg, Cindy explained. There they met owner and accomplished winemaker Randy Detrick, who became a kind of mentor to the Bishops as they embarked on their new adventure.
“He said, ‘You can do this,'” Cindy recalled.
From Detrick, Kevin learned about waterless winemaking, which is a production method that is cleaner than traditional winemaking and places less stress on the environment, because there is less waste involved in it.
With waterless winemaking there is no need to wash and rinse tanks, which promotes sustainability and also helps make the process less labor intensive.
“We filter like crazy,” Cindy said. “It makes a crisp wine and a clean wine.”
Bishop Estate produces a wide range of red and white wines, including many traditional varieties and some that are experimentations in flavor, such as a Jalapeno Bee Sting wine Kevin was fermenting in March.
The combination of “sweet and heat” has been a big hit with wine-lovers who want something different and don’t mind the tongue-tingle of a hot pepper.
On their chess-themed wine list–an homage to the bishop piece in the game, which Kevin and Cindy love–some of their most popular varieties include their Bishop Cabernet Sauvignon, their Stalemate Chardonnay and their BugHouse Merlot.
Bishop Estate’s Initiative Marquette is descended from a pinot noir and is described as complex and sophisticated with notes of blackberry, pepper, tobacco and spice.
“It’s actually a really good dry wine,” said Cindy. “Very, very nice.”
Another very popular variety is Bishop Estate’s Dark Bishop Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, which is aged in rye whiskey barrels.
Smooth and full-bodied, it can be sipped like a port and is also a great accompaniment to a cigar, according to the Bishops.
For those who prefer a less dry wine, Bishop Estate has a healthy selection of semi-sweets and sweets, including their Pure Strawberry Wine, their Tipsie Cow Sweet Riesling and Cranberries Dream, all of which feature unique labels designed by Cindy.
If you can’t make it down to Bishop Estate on a regular basis, you can enjoy their wine closer to home at Sage Alley Brewery in Coopersburg and in a handful of other area bars and restaurants where it is currently available.
However, the Bishops would love to welcome you to their winery in person, and soon they will have a new tasting room in which to do that.
Currently under construction, the large, rustic tasting room will be housed in the property’s historic barn and will feature 32-foot ceilings as well as a second story deck overlooking the lush vineyard.
The Bishops hope to open it sometime later this year.
Bishop Estate Vineyard & Winery is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tastings are available every day, and wine can be purchased by the glass, the bottle and the case, as well as in a three-wine flight.
The winery is located at 2730 Hilltown Pike, Perkasie, Pa.
Groups of eight or more can call 215-249-3559 to make a tasting reservation.
Wine can also be ordered online and shipped directly from the vineyard.