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Mike the Mailman: Falling Leaves Herald Picking Days for Local Winery

by on September 27, 2011 6:00 AM

Happy fall, Happy Valley!

I have always thought that this season is beautifully displayed and celebrated here in our region. From the colors that blend over Mount Nittany to the cheering sounds of a sold-out football game right as the Lions score, to the crisper air and warmer drinks, this is a welcomed season around here.

This is the time of year when we begin to pick out the perfect pumpkins for carving, we pick out our upcoming Halloween costumes, and we go crazy when our football team's defense picks off any interceptions from the opponent. But by far my favorite picking to do this time of year involves grapes.

That's right: grapes.

Those of us who have lived in this area for a while are well aware of the many treasures this town has. One of my favorite such treasures is our local winery, The Mount Nittany Winery.

Established 21 years ago, this five-acre winery, owned by Jim and Betty Carroll, is only 1.3 miles from my home in Linden Hall. These early-fall weekends, I have enjoyed helping with the grape-picking there.

Mount Nittany Winery is open year-round, and what I love is that its wine is sold not only locally, but also all across the commonwealth. While there are 150 wineries across Pennsylvania, ours here in Happy Valley is one just four whose wines are sold throughout Pennsylvania liquor stores.

Now I am no wine connoisseur, but last weekend I believe I was picking grapes for Mount Nittany's Chardonnay batch of wine. This is one of the seven different varieties our winery has to offer -- including Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Cayuga and Cabernet Sauvignon and more.

I recently asked what their most popularly selling wine is, and was advised that there are two: Tailgate Red (Need I say more?!) and Mount Nittany White. My favorite is their Geisenheim, which Michaela, our younger daughter, recommended to Katie and me.

Michaela would know as she spent a summer working at the winery. Any time is a good time to go and check out this tasty State College treasure -- maybe before a Penn State tailgate, or after you rake up the first of the falling leaves in your front lawn.

One upcoming event the winery has is its annual Harvest Fest, scheduled for Oct. 22.

So between the pumpkin carving and the football cheering here in Happy Valley, take some time to toast to this colorful season with some local vino. Look for me -- I'll be there, picking (and maybe eating a few) of those delicious grapes.

Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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