Keeping cool and having fun: Wineries around Landenberg09/22/2023 12:52PM ● By Gene Pisasale
People enjoying a glass of wine at one of southern Chester County’s many vineyards may not know that they’re relaxing on property which goes back a few centuries, to a time when horses were your best transportation and independence from England wasn’t even considered. Three wineries near Landenberg not only have deep roots in Pennsylvania history, they offer a wide selection of wines which will please the most discerning connoisseur. A visit to 1723 Vineyards, Patone Cellars and Paradocx Vineyards reveals that they each have a special story to tell.
Before you talk about the wines, it helps to know a little about the local history.
The village of Landenberg has seen many enterprising characters in the area once inhabited by Lenape Indians. William Penn’s surveyor Henry Hollingsworth laid out a plot of land for his children in 1699. Originally 35,000 acres, his son acquired a patent for property in 1706 after his father had already left for England, never to return to his colony. Roughly 8,900 acres of this plot became New Garden Township, chartered in 1715. The London Company was active in development of the region, including what would later become nearby New London, London Grove, London Britain and Franklin Townships. With abundant wildlife and drainage from both White Clay and Red Clay Creek, the area was ideal for settlement.
Benjamin Franklin was a wine drinker—and he has a link to the land now used by 1723 Vineyards for their operations. Owners Ben and Sarah Cody are fifth-generation farmers with a passion for agriculture. They are “hands-on” and enjoy working with the soil. The name for the vineyard is linked to the beginnings of New London Township, chartered in 1723. The property upon which the winery now sits was part of the original acreage before it split off to form Franklin Township, named after the famous Founding Father. According to their website, Franklin took ownership of a portion of the property in 1764 as part of a debt settlement, along with adjacent acreage while he was ambassador to France.
The street address of 1723 Vineyards—5 McMaster Boulevard—gives you a clue to part of its heritage. In 2014, Ben and Sarah purchased 36 acres of the historic McMaster Farm in Landenberg to begin their operations. Today there are 7 acres planted and an additional 4 acres on the former Ford Farm near the village of Kemblesville. The vineyard offers a large array of both white and red wines. Their whites/lighter wines include Riesling, Blanc de Franc and Albarino, Rose and Sparkling Rose. Their reds include Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin Reserve. They also have a nice selection of edibles to complement their wine lists and live music, with a Tasting Room and yard that overlooks the beautiful vineyard. For more information visit their website at www.1723vineyards.com or e-mail them at [email protected].
Franklin Township broke out on its own in 1852, but for more than a century, the area had been known as New London Township. New London Township made its mark in history as the birthplace of Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Pennsylvania. Patone Cellars at 1051 Wickerton Road near Landenberg has pleased people with both their wine and their food. Visitors there rave about the lovely décor, as well as the nice wine selection and wood-fired homemade pizza offered to complement it—made by host Mario.
Guests at Patone mention the wonderful Old World ambience which elevates the wine tasting experience. One visitor posted a compliment—her husband from Italy loved the place. Wine and pizza have been a winning combination for a long time, and Mario and associates believe in providing delicious pizza to satiate even the hungriest visitors. With a Mediterranean-looking exterior and a rustic stone fireplace inside, it is easy to see how people fall in love with the site. Patone focuses on red wines, including their Sangiovese, a nice complement to their food. The winery has recently undergone a complete renovation, but is planning to reopen in September 2023. For information, contact them via e-mail at [email protected].
Paradocx may sound like a familiar word, but the winery got its name literally from “a pair of doctors” in the Hoffman and Harris families who started the operation. Situated on 100 acres of gently rolling hillsides, 30 acres of which are under cultivation, Paradocx takes advantage of what their website describes as a unique mesoclimate combined with state-of-the-art viticultural practices. The winery produces a variety of both red and white wines which visitors know from their colorful “paint can” dispensers which attract attention as uniquely different from typical wineries. Their Barn Red, Leverage and Merlot contrast with their Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc and Viognier whites. Paradocx has hosted numerous concerts and has an active calendar, with Wine Club and Friday Happy Hour along with Music Bingo and other activities. Visit their website at www.paradocx.com for more information.
So, if you’re thinking a glass of wine would be nice, stop in at one of these venues for a delightful break from the hustle-and-bustle of daily life. With a rich history behind them, and a variety of delicious offerings to enjoy, these establishments will bring a smile to your face as you “cool off” from the summer heat.
Gene Pisasale is an historian, author and lecturer based in Kennett Square. His 11 books focus mostly on the history of the Chester County/mid-Atlantic region. Gene’s latest book is “Heritage of the Brandywine Valley,” a beautifully illustrated hardcover book with over 250 images of historic maps, sites, structures, artifacts and paintings which tell the 300-year history of the region. His books are available on his website at www.GenePisasale.com and also on www.Amazon.com. Gene can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].