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

Heights Chateau

One night while getting off of a mid shift, I decided to visit a local wine shop in Downtown Brooklyn. I chose to explore Heights Chateau, 123 Atlantic Avenue. A fifteen-minute walk from the Barclay Center. I had a few options for transportation. I could take the B63 bus, the four or five trains one stop, a $4 uber or preferably walk. All being around twenty minutes of travel time. I walked down Atlantic Avenue to get a feel of the neighborhood. There were a few medical centers, old churches ( even an abandoned church that creeped me out), and thrift stores. These places were mixed in with new restaurants, a Trader Joe’s, and clothing stores like Urban Outfitters. As I reached Heights Chateau, the shop was the brightest on the block, the header is big and bold, and the outside was a mix of glass and black wood. As I walk in my focus is directed towards the big round counter that is in the front center of the store. To my right side, there are Italian wines going up the wall and down throughout the Aisle. To my left is the same set up of a different region of wines. I am approached by Lourel, an employee at Heights Chateau. I explain to her that I am a college student analyzing wine shops and if it was okay if I asked questions and take images of the store. She was aware of the project already and gladly assisted me. We started off with a brief background of the store. The owner is Italian, hence the display of Italian wines in the front of the store, he opened the store 30 years ago by converting it from a furniture store into a wine shop. The vineyards they would purchase from are M.S. Walker, Touton, USA Wine Imports, and etc. The store has a wine cellar downstairs that store more of the expensive wines, ranging from $100- $1,000. The store has a Wine of the Month Club, where you can receive two bottles of wines a month. Membership varies by the number of months you wish to join for. Ranging from a three-month plan to a twelve-month plan. The store is broken down into regions and then grape variety/appellations. Prices are shown below each wine. The store layout reminds me of a supermarket with the aisles and region signs posted.  The shop carries regular liquor as well. The store is targeted towards customers who either study wines or know what wines they like to drink. Not much interaction is needed towards employees unless it’s for minor questions and suggestions. The shop is a mix of traditional, industrial, and french country theme. I found interesting is that they had a Sake section with over 10 varieties. For those who may not know, Sake is Japanese rice wine and the places I’ve commonly seen them are in Japanese restaurants. Before saying my goodbyes, I purchased a 2015 Trocken Riesling from Germany, which I’m excited to try. I would go back to Heights Chateau because the atmosphere is quiet, the employees are knowledgeable, and the set up is mid modern which made me enjoy my experience. 


Lourel from Heights Chateau

This is Lourel a shelf talker. Her future goal is to become a Sommelier in a restaurant. In Heights Chateau their shelf talkers are wine advisors. They taste every new wine that the store has. They assist customers by asking about price points, pairings, and wine preference.

Cool design

A 2016, Llenca Plana, Montsant. Red wine from Spain. Priced at $14.99.

South African wine

2015, Mountain Red, Thelma. A South African red wine. There are six grape varieties in this wine. Priced at $14.99.


2016, cava, Raventos i Blanc, de Nit. Sparkling wine from Spain. Priced at $21.99.