|The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey
598 Schoolhouse Rd. | Middletown, PA 17057
On Saturday, September 19th, The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey held their annual Merlot and Flash Gourd’n Release Party in Middletown, PA.
With a flair for the spectacular, past years’ events have featured helicopters and monster trucks and this year came complete with choppers and celebrity guest, Paul Teutul, Sr. from the hit show Orange County Choppers. Paul and the OCC crew are touring as they film a brand new show, Orange Couny Choppers: American Made, coming soon to A&E.
It was a beautiful clear day for the event which featured live music, food trucks, crafts, wine tasting and more. Though with temperatures in the 80’s, Mother Nature could have done better getting everyone in the fall spirit. But, the delicious pints, pitchers and growlers of Flash Gourd’n helped attendees welcome the coming of changing leaves and cooler days ahead.
Or, if Pumpkin beers aren’t your thing, there was an array of the brewery’s solid offerings as well as wines and ciders and even wine slushies.
Obviously, we came for the beer, but I was game enough to join Beer Busters resident mom and wine enthusiast, Marilyn, on a trip through the wine tasting tent. A free, single trip through the tasting was included with entry from 11:00 to 2:00. All the wines I sampled were great, but the “wine-of-honor” Merlot was definitely my favorite.
Throughout the day live music wafted through the air, and great food, beer and wine were flowing. Other highlights included raffles, a silent auction to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Pennsylvania and the evening capped off with a bonfire “Seen from Outer Space!” But the main event was the grand entrance of “Merlot” Mike with the OCC crew.
Just before the arrival a crowd lined up to capture the magic on camera. Merlot Mike cruised in first, managing to somehow make a Vespa look cool and decked out in a crown and wine bottle bling. Then came Paul Teutul, Sr. and company on their badass choppers, all accompanied by the riffs of “Bad to the Bone.”
After their entrance and a few words to the crowd the crew headed toward the main stage where attendees could purchase memorobilia signed by Teutul. Back on the patio the choppers were parked and sat to be admired and photographed by the throngs of wine lovers, beer geeks and bikers. It was quite the eclectic crowd.
The event is one of the highlights of wine and beer happenings in central Pennsylvania and each year it gets more epic. With an expected crowd of around 7,000, this year beat out the attendance in 2014.
With a huge pond, sprawling vineyards, a wide patio and deck areas on a huge tract of beautiful land, The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey is a great place that hosts a wide range of awesome events. Though it’s not exactly my specialty, I have to say the wine is quite tasty, and I can say (with some authority) that the beers are spectacular. I just hope they reconsider the ban on bringing in water. One must stay hydrated at these things, after all, and I’d rather spend my money on beer.