After more than a year of operating in a curbside or porch pickup only format, Buckingham Valley Vineyards is offering a new twist on its wine tastings.
Gone are the pour-your-own tastings. Buckingham Valley Vineyards owner and winemaker Jerry Forest said he does not know if the self-poured wine tastings formerly offered in the tasting room will return.
“Not the way the world is today,” Forest said of life heading out of the pandemic.
In its place, Buckingham is offering a wine tasting flight featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Diego Red, Rose’, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Strawberry. Cost is $10 and includes a stemless wine glass that guests can keep. Tastings are poured into test tubes and served on handmade trays that customers can enjoy in the picnic area outside. Each tray includes a QR code which customers can scan and watch a video describing each wine variety.
Eventually, additional flight variations will be offered to allow guests the opportunity to sample some of the 20 wines available.
For now, tastings, as well as wine slushies, wine by the glass and bottles can all be enjoyed on the expansive picnic area on Buckingham’s lawn. Guests can use the seating provided or may bring their own chairs and blankets. On weekends, as weather permits, live acoustic music is performed outside against the backdrop of the vineyards.
Beginning in June, Buckingham plans to reopen its doors and may offer its cellar as an indoor space to drink wine. The Forest family will continue offering to go service at its pickup window, as well as curbside pickup.
Jerry and his wife, Kathy, started Buckingham Valley Vineyards in 1966 after purchasing the first five-acre tract of what would become the 40-acre property. Jerry, who puts in 12-hour days, seven days a week, said he is turning much of the responsibility over to his children, Jon, Kevin, and Chris. The winery produces between 25,000 and 35,000 gallons of wine each year.
“Whatever God gives us,” Jerry said, noting that weather, harvest conditions and other variables impact the total yield.
Together, the Forest family is planning future endeavors. Buckingham recently started canning a variation of its Sangria wine.
“This is just an experiment,” Jerry said of Sangria Sundaze, which features the winery’s Strawberry wine and hints of blackberry and blood orange. “You can take them on a picnic or to the beach.”
Each can is equivalent to about two glasses of wine. Canned wines have been growing in popularity due to convenience and portability. Cans are also permitted in places such as beaches and parks where glass bottles are prohibited, making them more travel friendly.
Buckingham is testing canned versions of its Chardonnay and Cabernet as well, he said.
“It’s too soon to tell” how many varieties will make it to the wine shop, he said. “Chardonnay was especially good in a can.”
Soon, the winery’s ever-popular Brut champagne will be available for purchase at select Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. Brut is one of six sparkling wine varieties that Buckingham makes.
“The champagne doesn’t have to be a celebration wine,” he said. Buckingham prides itself on producing reasonably priced wines and champagnes for everyday consumption.
The Forest family began tinkering with champagne about 25 years ago. The result, Jerry Forest said, was a “total failure for about five years.”
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” he said. “I threw it away and started learning.”
Since working out the kinks, the winery has grown to produce world-class award-winning champagnes year after year. Buckingham Valley Vineyards is the only winery in Bucks County – and one of the few in the state – that produces sparkling wine.