For groups looking for a different and fun way to celebrate birthdays, bridal parties or other special occasions – or would just love a relaxing weekend away – Mercer County offers a Wine and Brew Trail in a picturesque setting. With eight wineries, five breweries and a distillery in the area, this Trail experience is tailored to each group’s wishes and includes a customized itinerary, transportation, free wine tastings, entertainment and assistance in arranging an overnight stay and dinner.
Mercer County, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is part of the burgeoning wine and brewery scene that’s flourishing in the northeast. The County’s many lodging options, attractions and outdoor activities draw people from western Pennsylvania, as well as visitors from eastern Ohio, southwestern New York and Ontario, Canada.
Getaways to Mercer County mean leaving the city behind and enjoying the beauty of scenic countryside. Visitors can enjoy a unique experience on a Wine and Brew Tour, stay in fabulous luxury lodgings and dine out at world-class restaurants.
Plan Your Next Trip to the Mercer County Wine and Brew Trail
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, or just prefer a cold one at the end of a long day, the Wine and Brew Trail experience is a great getaway for all seasons.
“This area has so much to offer. You can get away from the city and enjoy the countryside surroundings here, including woods, lakes, and the peacefulness of the Shenango River. Our backdrop is a big part of why people enjoy visiting our wineries and breweries. There’s also plenty to keep everyone busy, like great shopping and outdoor activities. Many people who come up here for the Wine and Brew Trail also treat this like a great excursion,” said Joal Wolf, owner of Conneaut Cellar Winery and Distillery. “There’s so much here – any drink you can imagine. Besides wine and beer, there are distilleries, so you can enjoy bourbon, brandies, vodka and spiced rum. Whatever you have a taste for, we can offer.”
Mercer County Wineries
There are eight wineries in the area that produce a full complement of wine, including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay and even fruit wine.
Conneaut Cellars Winery and Distillery is an award-winning business that has been welcoming groups since 1982. During that time, they’ve grown to be one of the largest wineries in the area, with the juice and grapes from the Lake Erie area, just north of Mercer County.
They also offer sparkling apple and pear ciders and distilled spirits. Additionally, Conneaut Cellars has red and white ports, with apple and pear ports to be added soon – maybe by summer – and a bittersweet red vermouth that’s hard to find anywhere else in Pennsylvania. The spirits and distilled, aged and bottled on site.
Groups find that their wine menu is wide-ranging, with many dry and sweet selections that visitors can try before they buy. Their sparkling wine, created in a specially-made tank, takes a month to prepare. Besides free wine tastings, Conneaut Cellars offers tours so visitors can see the 500 to 2,000 gallon tanks, the wine press, copper still and oak barrels.
Like many wineries in the region, Conneaut Cellars Winery & Distillery uses grapes from the Lake Erie Grape region to create distinctive, affordable wines.
Wolf describes the reason that grapes grow plentifully along the shores of Lake Erie.
“It’s actually easier to grow wine-quality grapes to the north of the region. Lake Erie helps to create the growing season. In the fall, the growing season is extended because the usual cold weather that descends upon the area is held off by the warmth that comes off of such a large body of water. Then, in the spring, the coolness of the lake prevents early budding of the plants making them susceptible to frost, which can disturb the regular growing season,” he explains.
Conneaut Cellars Winery & Distillery is located at 12005 Conneaut Lake Rd., Rt 322 & U.S. Hwy 6, Conneaut Lake PA 16316. 814-382-3999
Other outstanding wineries in the area include Nova Cellars, located in Pulaski, where visitors come for the wine, food and entertainment. This winery is situated on a lovely pond with a walkway around the pond that is perfect for an evening stroll. On the grounds are fun games that groups and couples will enjoy. This location does double duty as a brew pub, called Brew 32, that is showcased on their top floor. Nova Cellars is located at 1474 State Route 208, Pulaski PA 16143. 724-230-6686
Webb Winery produces white, rose, red, fruit, sparkling and specialty wines, plus hard ciders. They have tasting rooms in their Hermitage location, as well as in their Sharpsville establishment, with tours and light meals offered. Webb Winery locations are at 2978 South Hermitage Road, Hermitage PA 16148 and at 29 N. 2nd St. Sharpsville PA 16150. 724-856-2770
The owners of Wilhelm Winery turned their love of wine making from a part-time interest into a full-time endeavor. Their locations in Hadley and Hermitage provide signature labels of wine as gifts for weddings, holidays, and corporate events. Wilhelm Winery is located at 590 Georgetown Rd. Hadley PA 16130. 724-253-3700
VisitMercerCountyPA has more information.
Mercer County Breweries
In the past decade, as craft beer has become a major draw, breweries and brew pubs have started to offer a mix of drafts that bring visitors in the area.
Brewtus Brewing Company knows that customers are always looking for a great place to sit, relax, enjoy a couple beers and have a delicious meal. Over the years, this family-owned business has grown to include a menu that includes favorites and craft beer that’s great for those who love to try homegrown drafts. The meticulous brewing process includes a seven-barrel brew system that creates the perfect in-house craft beer that can be changed through the seasons.
“Besides our amazing brews, we focus on having a from-scratch kitchen that serves delicious farm-to-table meals, using the freshest ingredients possible, and being served by a knowledgeable staff. Our 1920s décor provides a friendly atmosphere, and we’re know for our fresh burgers,” says Brewery Manager Gabby Rahn.
All beer is brewed on site at Brewtus, and they usually offer around 10 types on tap at any given time. Choices may range from a German pilsner to stouts to IPAs. Two of their most popular choices are Artificial Intelligence, an American IPA, and Haymaker, a Kolsch.
“We have a well-rounded tap and make sure there’s something for everyone’s taste, so all members on the wine and brew trail are sure to enjoy their tour,” Rahn says.
Many of the wine and brew tours that stop at Brewtus choose to eat dinner at this location, with Friday and Saturday night entertainment available. Tours can also walk through the brewing area and see the entire process, from start to finish.
Rahn offers another view of why Mercer County attracts so many visitors from the Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and even Toronto, Canada, areas.
“There’s something unique about a family-owned brewery. In a lot of bigger cities, a brewery is just a company. Here, it’s a family-run business, and we really specialize in offering a great experience. You’ll see everyone, even the owners, working and cooking and even serving your beer. Our products are so fresh, we have an extensive menu, and the beer is just as good as in the larger cities,” she says.
Brewtus Brewing Company is located at 23 Chestnut Avenue, Sharon PA 16146. 724-308-6293
Other breweries in the area have plenty to offer on the Brew Trail. Stone Church Pizza House & Brew Pub in Hermitage is housed is a vacant church, and is surrounding by sparkling stained glass windows. They take pride in using traditional and non-traditional processes to create an American take on classic European beer styles. Plus, their menu of Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza draws locals and out-of-towners. Stone Church Pizza House & Brew Pub is located at 600 S. Hermitage Rd., Hermitage PA 16148. 724-308-7770
TimberCreek Tap & Table in the Grove City area has four flagship beers on tap year-round, plus seasonal selections. If you’re new to craft beer, they also carry lighter selections so that your introduction is smooth. Besides Black Angus burgers, they also feature fresh seafood, steaks, and ribs. TimberCreek Tap & Table is located at 15 Holiday Blvd. Mercer, PA 16137. 724-748-6080
Located on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, Mortals Key Brewing Company relies on innovative recipes to produce its beer. The brewery, located in a tractor barn that the owners refurbished with repurposed materials, welcomes live entertainment and welcomes visitors with an outside area. Mortals Key Brewing Company is located at 4224 East Lake Rd., Jamestown PA 16134. 724-932-1080
VisitMercerCountyPA has more information.