Gino, our president and winemaker, has spent a lifetime around grapes and wine, and it shows. Hailing from Abruzzo, in southern Italy, he immigrated here in 1962 and soon began importing the wines he loved. After three decades bringing wines into the states, Gino made an amazing discovery: great grapes can be grown in Pennsylvania. So began the journey to produce his own Italian-inspired wines.
Gino was equally choosey when he went searching for the ideal vineyard site. He spent two years in the early 2000s evaluating sites in bucolic Pennsylvania until he came upon the intriguing decades-old vines at what was then Smithbridge Winery. Gino was convinced those grapes could produce world-class wines; that vineyard became Penns Woods Winery in 2004.
“We go to extensive efforts to preserve the old vines; some of the Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc are 40 years old,” Gino added. “We prune them carefully and properly. We reduce the yield, producing a limited amount of grapes so it’s not a strain on the vines. And we stay on top of the vineyard for disease control.”
A stroll through the vines shows that Penns Woods Winery has honored the hard work and artistry of its predecessors while adding new varietals like Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc and Traminette, interesting choices for Gino, whose first wine, Symposium, a big-red Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, rated 95 points from Wine Spectator back in 1997.
“I wanted to make some lighter wines, more floral wines, not just bold wines,” he added. “At Penns Woods, we have something for every palate: whites, rosés and reds; off-dry, sweet, dry, fruity. Wine for everyone.”
Best of all (for wine lovers, of course!), Gino’s efforts, now and in the future, can only mean one thing: more spectacular wines to drink. Salute!
Penns Woods Winery is a family-run Pennsylvania winery. With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, winemaker Gino Razzi and his daughter, Carley Mack, produce award-winning wines from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. Penns Woods wines can be found in restaurants throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. Stop in to your local state store and pick from a limited selection of wines, or visit our tasting room for the full offering. The tasting room in Chadds Ford provides an all-around vineyard experience and hosts live music, food and wine pairings and other exciting events each weekend. Score Penns Woods Winery news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter today!
Bottom two photos by Alexandra Whitney Photography.