Franklin Hills Vineyard and M&M Vineyard


Franklin Hills New Vines

Over the break, I visited Bangor, Pennsylvania to visit Franklin Hill Vineyards and M&M Vineyards. The vineyards differentiated in viticulture, vinification, and distribution of their wines (2018). The first stop on my road trip was Franklin Hill Vineyards, where the estate featured French American vines, a tasting room, and a vinification cellar. Throughout the tour, I learned that they harvest from their oldest vines which are 42 years old.

42 years old

Old Vines of Franklin Hills

They have newly planted vines that are seven years old. The new vines have a trickle irrigation system due to lack of rain. The old vines never needed this system. The used soil is sleight which helps keep an even flow of water to vines. Their main grape varieties are Vidal, Catawba, and Chambourcin. They do a lot of blends. For harvesting it takes about seven weeks, starting in September. They produced 3000 gallons of wine their first year. For fermenting must, they use Dominos Sugar or fructose to sweeten all wines, which is chaptalization. Fermentation happens in steel tanks. To incorporate oak flavors they use wood chips. They use jams to add different flavors into the wine.


Ally checking out the steel tanks at Franklin Hill

This vineyard and winery have a 95% women staff, which I love because the start of the company came together by a group of women in Pennsylvania who knew nothing about wines, let alone how to grow grapes (2019). To hear of their journey and the success they’ve achieved is heartwarming and amazing. Within their vinification cellar, they had a small lab area in the corner where Bonnie, one of the first women, would blend wines in search of their new specialty wines. Along the wall were medals and awards for their past and current wines.

Franklin Hill

Franklin Hills Awards/ Bonnie’s Lab

As we completed the tour we stopped in their tasting room, which resembles a cabin with a patio outside. Inside is colorful but dark lighting with a center bar.

outside view

Franklin Hills Tasting Room  


Behind the bar is a fridge with available wines to taste and a large chalkboard with all sorts of writing pertaining to the wines of the season and different varieties. The tasting was five dollars per person with five wines each. Their options consist of reds, whites, rosé, hard ciders, and specialties. Giving us a total of twenty-three wines to explore. I chose two red, two whites, and a specialty. Overall their wines were very sweet, not many tannins, but very fruity. I do feel that their wines weren’t balanced. After my third tasting, I was overwhelmed by the sweetness and wasn’t sure if I could continue.


Inside Franklin Hills Tasting Room ( Chalkboard)

Next stop on my road trip was M&M Vineyards.

wine shelf

M&M Wine Selection

This vineyard is fifteen minutes from Franklin Hills and had a completely different atmosphere and wine production. Riding up to M&M it’s very spacious and the vineyard is smaller than Franklin’s. Walking into their only building, the tasting room, awaiting is one of the owners Mrs. Sidhu. I introduced myself as a student and automatically she goes into teacher mode. Mr. and Mrs. Sidhu are both retired professor in science. They started to the vineyard to experimenting with vines and it’s something they studied for years and enjoy. It took two years of research to find this specific area to be a cornfield.


Three-year-old Vine at M&M Vineyard

When starting out three years ago they ran into issues with their soil. They had issues of milestones that were left from corn crops (2016). To fix this they began to plant mustard plants and loam in between vines to promote growth and manage the soil. They made sure to plant vines on a slope for even sunlight. They practice making hybrids by taking strong roots and putting them onto weak ones.


Neutral Barrels used for fermentation

The details and consideration they took into making this vineyard are amazing. You can taste the difference in their wines apart from Franklin Hill’s wines. M&M wines are only three-year vintage, using neutral oak casks. Including the use of oak chips to impart flavor. They only produce Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Vidal, Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, and sauvignon blanc grapes. What I enjoyed about their tasting is the menu had notes descriptions of what to expect. Overall their wines were very oaky, with vanilla flavors, lots of tannins, kind of dirty in taste and long finishes.

Road Trip

Our Selfie


D. (2016). Facts on Milestones.

Certified specialist of wine: Study guide 2018. (2018). Washington, DC: Society of Wine Educators

The Morning Call. (2019, The Morning Call). Elaine Pivinski: Lehigh Valley helping winery, Social Still flourish

Beverage Production Experimental Learning Analysis

As an hospitality industry professional it is very important to understand the importance of wine beverage management. Coming from a background that did not include wine consumption at all, the “Wine and Beverage Management” introductory course has piqued my interest spontaneously.

As a way to further experience step by step the making of wine, I decided to visit a vineyard who is “committed to producing premium, distinctive wines, ciders and spirits through a dedication to quality, penchant for style and celebration of place.” Although it was a long trip, this experience provided lots of information which was enhance due to the file of knowledge that has been built in the course.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard was founded in 1987 in the heart of Hampton, Long Island by Christian Wölffer who’s heart was captured by the world of wine. The vineyard has been known for its sustainable wines.

The vineyard is located in the South Fork of Long Island, very closed to the coast (North Atlantic Ocean). According to “Long Island Sustainable Wine Growing”, the organization states that “…its depth, good drainage and moderate to high available water-holding capacity that make this soil well-suited to farming.” Due to the large bodies of water, the temperature is able to moderate the temperature within the soils and environment as a whole.

The vines at Wölffer Estate Vineyard are approximately 30 years old which allows the grape vines to be matured. They have 25 acres of Chardonnay, 14 acres of Merlot, 6 acres of Pinot Noir, 1/2 acre of Trebbiano, and a bit high of Vignole. According to”In the Wine Country of Long Island a Rising Star: Merlot”, Florence Fabricant stated that “Merlot is attracting a lot of attention because it seems to be emerging as the best red grape for this area.” This is proven due to the fact that Wölffer widest red grape variety grown is Merlot.

Merlot Wine tasting

During this experience I had the privilege of having a tour with the Sommelier, Pamela, who has worked at Wölffer since 2007. While describing the canopy practices, Pamela was well descriptive with the history of wine as an overall concept. She described the causes as to how phylloxera was spread throughout the world (practically) and why it led to grafting  the vitis labrusca and vitis vinifera. 

Some of the viticultural practices that they take is manipulating their grape vine from having 18 canes to only 2 (sometimes 4). They also drop about 1/3 of the leaves to allow enough heat and sunlight to ripen the grapes. They drop fruits to increase quality of the grapevines occasionally. During the wine production, they hand pick their grapes and destemmer. Their wine age on an average of 18 months on oak barrels (red) and vessels for (white). Pamela explained that they punch the must and skins during fermentation to allow both to have contact.

Vessels Fermentation

Oak Barrels

During the testing, we tried a white, rose and and 2 red wines (one was fuller than the other). The white wine was a chardonnay had notes or the core of a pineapple, lemon zest and tart unripened pear; it had a medium acidic level.It pared well with a Shrimp cocktail. The rose, honestly was not one of my favorites as it was extremely light. It was a blend of chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir (was very dry on palate). Both of the reds were very similar. One was a pinot noir and the other was merlot. Although completely different grapes, it felt as if I were drinking the same wine. Both contained notes of plums, blackberries, and a bit of apricot. The Merlot paired well with mushroom truffle.

Wölffer sells their wine internationally to Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. A fun fact to know if that their labels are named after each of the horses that Christopher once owned. I am very excited to perhaps visit the vineyard again when the grapes start to grow.

Bottle of Merlot


Fabricant, F. (1990, August 22). In the Wine Country of Long Island, a Rising Star: Merlot. Retrieved April 30, 2019, from

Fabricant, F. (2019, January 14). Brandy, From a Long Island Winemaker. Retrieved April 30, 2019, from

Our Soil. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2019, from