If you are planning to ring in the New Year with a glass of sparkling wine, there is no better time than the present to try out some of the delicious wines produced right here in Chester County.
In fact, Chester County boasts not just one, but two wineries that produce fine sparkling wines with both the J. Maki Winery in Elverson and Stargazers Vineyard and Winery in Coatesville able to wow your palate with stellar wines that can easily rival their more famous counterparts from France.
“Champagne was our big love in the 1970’s when Janet and I first started making wine in our basement,” says the co-founder of J. Maki Winery, Jim Haldy. “It has such an undeniable mystique. It took us twenty years to make a good one.”
A winemaker in her own right, Jim’s wife Janet, won the gold medal at the Vinales Internationales wine competition in Paris in 2001 for champagne and sparkling wine.
“No one expected us to beat the French at their own game,” enthused Jim Haldy.
Stargazers Vineyard and Winery was also co-founded by a married couple, John Weygandt and his wife Alice, in 1979.
While it is no surprise that New Year’s Eve is the biggest event for the purchase and consumption of sparkling wine and champagne, Weygandt encourages customers to expand their enjoyment of sparkly wine throughout the year and not only on special occasions. He also takes the time to explain the benefits of drinking locally made products.
“Unlike the major champagne houses in France that aim for consistency from vintage to vintage, our grapes have already developed some character by the time they are picked,” he explains. “With our sparklers, it won’t be exactly the same from vintage to vintage since we like to adjust the blend, especially with our rosé. Our rosé is my ‘desert island’ wine if I were stranded somewhere and given the choice of only one kind to drink for the rest of my days.”