If 5 p.m. sunsets have you feeling light-deprived, there’s good news from Pennsylvania wine country, where acres of enchanting vineyards along the Bucks County Wine Trail will be illuminated with festive holiday lights this December.
The trail’s first ever Light Up the Vines holiday festival of lights kicks off this Saturday, Dec. 5 and runs through Jan. 2, 2021. The seven wineries along the trail will celebrate the event by illuminating their vineyards each evening at dusk.
The free event is co-sponsored by Visit Bucks County, however fees will apply to food and drink purchases.
“Travelers near and far can ring in the holiday season with festive lights in the vineyards, along with mulled wines, food trucks, fire pits, holiday music and more during the kickoff lighting on Dec. 5 (festivities vary by winery),” said Theresa Katalinas, who manages public relations for the Bucks County Wine Trail. “The wineries will begin turning on lights at 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 and will stay open later that evening to allow guests time to enjoy a night of merrymaking.”
Social distancing will be required at all wineries, and guests who are unable to maintain six feet of distance will be asked to wear a mask.
President of the Bucks County Wine Trail, Chad Sletten, suggested the wineries organize a holiday illumination after he attended one in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island.
Sletten said the event was a massive success, and he thought an organized illumination by the wine trail could help drive business during the winter months.
“One of the big issues you have in this business is from January to March it’s like crickets here,” Sletten said. “We do everything we can to get people to come out, so I thought (the illumination) was an idea to compel people to visit all of the vineyards.”
Sletten is also the managing partner for trail member Sand Castle Winery in Erwinna, and said the winery is working on plans for special events and other treats for visitors to enjoy over the course of the next month.
For the event’s kickoff on Saturday, Sletten said the food truck The Flying Deutchsman will be on-site serving delicious, authentic German food. The winery will also have cozy fire pits spread across their property for guests to enjoy, as well as a bonfire.
The vineyard will be selling its seasonal Alpine Spice mulled wine, which is a local favorite this time of year.
“It’s a very popular product,” Sletten said. “We just shipped a thousand cases to the state last week.”
A bit further south, Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery in Hilltown Township near Perkasie is no stranger to illuminating its property, as it has hung holiday lights along its vines, on its gazebo and around its towering silos for the past few years.
The winery has plans for fire pits, bonfires, food trucks and live music this year, to make the illumination an extra special event.
Bishop Estate also sells holiday wine baskets this time of year, and a variety of seasonal specials, such as their hot chocolate wine.
“We also do our fall mulled wine, which is our pumpkin wine with spices in it,” said Cindy Bishop of Bishop Estate.
Their Dark Bishop, a cabernet sauvignon aged in a whiskey barrel, is another popular variety around the holidays.
“That is our number one seller. It’s an excellent gift,” she said.
The winery even provides beer from seven different local breweries, including Sage Alley in Coopersburg.
“They’re all local breweries in the area that we use, and there’s some really nice beer out there, so people who aren’t into wine can have their beer,” Bishop said.
Anyone interested in visiting the winery during the Light Up the Vines event should check out Bishop Estate’s event page for information regarding food truck vendors, live music schedules and specialty products on sale.
The Bucks County Wine Trail also includes Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Crossing Vineyards and Winery, Rose Bank Winery, Rushland Ridge Vineyards and Wycombe Vineyards. Be sure to visit their websites and social media pages for more information about special happenings they have planned during the month long event.