By Josh Popichak – When one thinks of Washington crossing the Delaware to attack the British during the Revolutionary War, a glass of wine perhaps isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But it could be if you’ve visited Crossing Vineyards & Winery in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County.
Located close to the site where the militarily significant river crossing took place in 1777, the 20-acre Newtown property that today is home to Crossing Vineyards has been owned by the Carroll family for more than 30 years.
The historic property with its 200-year-old stone home was purchased without any intention of growing grapes on it, but remarkably, its potential as a vineyard quickly captured the imagination of Tom Carroll Jr., who at the time was only 10 years old.
“He looked out the window and said, ‘You know, this place would make a great vineyard and winery,’” recalled his mother Christine, who admitted that at the time she and her husband, Tom Sr., “kind of chuckled and ignored him.”
“He kept on it,” she said of her son’s idea. “He would talk about it all the time.”
Fast forward nearly 15 years and Tom Jr. was a young man living in California, where he had moved in to pursue an acting career.
Instead of auditioning for movies, however, he was learning about viticulture, and by 1999 he’d decided to return to southeastern Pennsylvania to open the winery he had dreamed of as a boy.
His parents supported him in that decision, even though they knew little about wine or whether their property could even support a vineyard.
After some research, and with assistance from the Penn State Extension, the Carrolls were able to confirm that it could.
They then hired a master winemaker who helped teach Tom Jr. the skills he needed to learn to become the acclaimed winemaker he is today, Christine said.
“Our key word is quality,” she shared. “We focus on quality in everything we do. We’ve continually invested over the last 20 years in the property.”
Crossing Vineyards today is a true family business, with Tom Jr. overseeing winemaking, Christine handling communications and Tom Sr. doing his duty as a salesman.
“We don’t vote. We talk things through to agreement,” Christine noted. “It is hard, hard work. We are willing to put the hard work in because we believe in what we’re doing.”
And what they are doing is making and selling wine that has earned them accolades.
“We are led by the fruit,” said Christine. “One of Tom Jr.’s strengths is to make the best of the fruit that he has, year after year.”
The thoughtfulness that goes into making each variety of wine Crossing produces carries over to their approach to customer service, which she described as educational, but never overbearing or pretentious.
“Wine is so personal,” said Christine, which is why Crossing offers everything from sweet fruit wines to dry varieties in an atmosphere that is free of wine snobbery.
If you’re not sure what kind of wine you prefer, that’s OK, too. You can always stop by for a tasting. (Reservations are required).
A variety of different tasting options are available year-round.
The tasting room is open from noon to 6 p.m. every day except Thursday, when it is open from noon to 9 p.m.
Crossing Vineyards and Winery also hosts special events throughout the year.
To view a line-up of upcoming events, click here.
The vineyard also shares updates via e-mail to help wine-lovers stay up to date with everything going on, and its Facebook page and Instagram news feeds are regularly updated with the latest happenings.
The historic registry property the Carrolls first fell in love with is also a picturesque setting for weddings and private parties, which are coordinated by two on-site event managers, Christine explained, adding that wedding parties of up to 175 can be comfortably accommodated outside under a tent.
“(Couples) can get the wedding they want,” she said. “They get to have the wedding of their dreams.”
Outside the vineyard, you can also purchase Crossing Vineyards wine in Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits stores, as well as at select retailers, including some Wegmans stores.
For more information about Crossing Vineyards and Winery be sure to visit their Website.
The vineyard is located at 1853 Wrightstown Road in Newtown, Pa.