Award-Winning Winery For Sale

If you have ever dreamed of owning a winery and leading the exciting life of a winemaker, well here’s your chance. Tod and Jean Manspeaker have made the decision to sell their Briar Valley Winery in Bedford, Pennsylvania and embark on the next great adventure of their lives.

Here’s a little background on the winery. The latest Suckling Review gave their Brair Valley Proprietor’s Red and Merlot 91pts and the new Chardonnay 90pts. The International Wine Review scored their Lemberger and Merlot 91pts and Chardonnay 90pts. Briar Valley continues to produce highly rated wines year after year fulfilling a legacy of excellence without fail.

COMMENTS: Rare and unique opportunity to own a family-owned and operated winery! This is an award-winning and turn-key business! Some of their prestigious awards include the Governor’s Cup, a gold medal in the San Francisco’s Chronicle for the Riesling, double gold and best of show in Riesling in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and many others. Included in this offering is 7,200 square foot building currently producing 1,000-2,000 cases of wine annually with space to easily produce 5,000-10,000 cases; all production equipment; all inventory; goodwill; and all licenses. The license allows the production of still and sparkling wines, distilled spirits, and hard cider. The tasting room is leased space located in the heart of downtown Bedford, beer sales are also permitted here.

MLS 51709    Click here:   Click here for link to listing

For more information please contact Sean Bardell at Howard Hanna Bardell Realty     814-623-8622  email: STBardell@yahoo.com

Rockin’ Down the Highway

     Just off Exit 146 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the foot of the Allegheny mountains lays the little town of Bedford. Nothing along the quaint business district in the center of town would give you any clue that something extraordinary is happening at 107 E. Pitt Street. That is the address of the tasting room for Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery, one of the best wineries in Pennsylvania. You might think that’s only my opinion of their classic European-style vinifera wines but I have a second opinion from someone with creditability greater than my own, Mr. James Suckling! Yes, you heard right, that James Suckling the world-famous wine critic.

     At a recent tasting of more than 800 non-West Coast wines Mr. Suckling gave Briar Valley Chardonnay 2016

Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay 2016

a score of 92 points calling it “Concentrated and fresh, this is an elegant cool-climate Chardonnay with bright lemon and herbal notes. Very long mineral finish.” Quite a coup for Tod & Jean Manspeaker owners/wine makers at B.V. Mr. Suckling went on to award B.V. Lemberger 2016 an 89 point score and B.V. Cabernet Franc 2016 87 points. These two Reds are among my favorite Pennsylvania wines. It is easy to see why Tod & Jean have recently expanded their winery with a new production facility because when you make wine this good you will need extra capacity.

You can find these wines and all the other quality wines that Briar Valley offers at their tasting room in Bedford, Pa, online at http://briarvalleywinery.com or at many fine dining restaurants around the state.

Ain’t That America

     As my wife and I were enjoying a leisurely stroll down Pitt St. in Bedford, Pa on a beautiful autumn day in October when we happened upon Tod Manspeaker. Tod was standing outside of his tasting room taking in the sights and sounds of the 2016 Bedford Fall Foilage Festival. Tod was as friendly and hospitable as I have always found him to be and he invited us in for a tasting of his Briar Valley Vineyard wine.

Tod lead us through a tasting of some of his wines starting with the 2014 Lemberger that was just bottled the previous day. This wine showed solid red fruit flavors and a nice finish. B.V. Lemberger 2014 should round-out and be in great shape by the time summer arrives and you find yourself pouring it for your guests to complement those burgers, steaks and ribs hot off the grill.

B.V. Chardonnay 2011 is a crisp, straw-colored wine with traditional Chardonnay flavors of apple with a citrus note. This is a perfect pick for when you have friends over and want a light but delicious wine to pair with a platter of soft cheese and fruit, both fresh and dried. Consider including unusual options on your platter, like fresh figs, goat cheese, dried cranberries, apricots and one of my favorites, dates.

     The 2014 B.V. Cab Franc had the most complex taste profile of the wines we tasted that day and I liked it a lot. This wine had plenty of aroma and was full of cherry and berry flavors. Don’t be afraid to serve this with heartier fare because its true colors will always shine through.

     We have had several bottles of B.V. Riesling spanning several vintages so our expectations were high for the 2015 and we were not disappointed. B.V. Riesling 2015 has fresh acidity and flavors of stone fruit and citrus on the mid-palate carried in a light body with a touch of slate mineralality on the finish. Because Riesling is such a food-friendly wine you can enjoy it alone by the glass or pair it with just about anything you find on your plate. We poured the B.V. 2014 on Thanksgiving and it went well with the turkey and most of the side dishes.

You can find these fine wines at the Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery tasting room at 107 E. Pitt St Bedford Pa, as we did, or online at http://BriarValleyWinery.com   1126162134-1

Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery Who Knew?

French Oak barrels rest in their racks @ Briar Valley Winery

French Oak barrels rest in their racks @ Briar Valley Winery

     Western Pennsylvania has more than its share of myths and mysteries.  The B-25 that crashed into the Monongahela River near Downtown Pittsburgh but was never found or the reported U.F.O. landing site near Kecksburg are just two of the myths I have heard recounted over the years.  None is more intriguing than the one about an elusive Pennsylvania winery that produces vinifera wines in a dry European-style with grapes from their own vineyards.  I was beginning to doubt the existence of such a winery when driving through the beautiful Bedford County countryside I saw a signpost up ahead that read “Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery.”  This was no mirage it really was the only winery in Pennsylvania to make only vinifera wine from their vineyards of all vinifera grapevines.

Tod Manspeaker co-owner of Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery

Tod Manspeaker co-owner of Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery

Tod and Jean Manspeaker are the owners of Briar Valley with Tod managing the vineyards and Jean the winemaker.  To pursue their passion for winemaking Tod packed up his degree in accounting and Jean her M.B.A. and English Lit. degrees and left the 9 to 5, five day a week business world to join the “Glamorous” 5 to 9, seven day a week lifestyle of the winery.  This dedication to excellence is reflected in their mission statement ” It’s all about the wine” and it really is, even if it takes handpicking leaves to allow more sunlight to reach the grapes, rejecting any batch of grapes that doesn’t meet their high standards or only using $1000 French Oak Barrels instead of using a lower cost option the wine always comes first.  With that goal in mind they planted a second vineyard on the 100 acre farm that Tod’s father purchased in 1950 where he and his family raised quarter horses.  Tod said they corrected any mistakes made in the first vineyard by planting the second vineyard on a southeastern facing slope with grape varieties perfect for the slate soil.  He laughed and told me the best thing about raising grapes on his father’s old farm was “I have never been bucked off a grapevine!” 

The terrior of Briar Valley can be tasted in their Proprietor’s Reserve Estate White 2013.  This white is a blend of 50% Gewürztraminer, 26% Riesling and 24% Chardonnay and while it displays crisp citrus flavors what really makes this offering a star is the driving minerality that it draws from the slate-rich soils of Bedford County.  This came as no surprise to me because after talking with Tod I found out we are both big fans of the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in the Finger Lakes, long known for their world-class signature dry-style Riesling.  I usually judge a winery by their Cabernet Sauvignon but by default I have to judge Pennsylvania wineries by their Cabernet Franc because Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have proven to be difficult to ripen on the East Coast.  I sampled a 2010 Cabernet Franc from Briar Valley and found it to be one of the best Pennsylvania Cab. Franc I have tasted.  It has a full-body and supple tannins with flavors of red cherry and oak that has been fleshed out with the extra aging Jean gives her wines before release. 

     Tod could barely contain his enthusiasm for their newly released 2010 Chardonnay and soon-to-be released 2010 Merlot calling them “Spectacular.”  Leading me through the tasting of the following three wines in his tasting room at 107 E. Pitt St. Bedford, Pa. he explained the nuances of each in a way only someone with an intimate knowledge of their production could.  The following are my impressions of the wines I sampled that day. 2009 Proprietor’s Red:  The award-winning 2009 Proprietor’s Red is one of the best reds grown and made in the state of Pennsylvania.  Winemaker Jean Manspeaker has put her own spin on the quintessential Bordeaux blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes to produce a superbly crafted wine.  Proprietor’s Rosé 2012:  This is a truly dry Rosé made in the French Saignee method which produces the beautiful Rosé color and flavors we have come to expect from this traditional summer wine.  Lively acidity and soft tannins combine with the flavors of red fruit to yield a very enjoyable Rosé.  Chardonnay 2012:  This is a dry Chardonnay but not at all like the bone-dry Chardonnay we have become accustom to from California.  This wine has a good balance of acidity combined with a nice structure and the taste of citrus and apple.  You can taste the terrior of Briar Valleys slate-rich soil in this Chardonnay.

The Manspeakers are not content to keep what they have learned about growing vinifera grapes and making winemaking to themselves.  They have partnered with Juniata College to host the colleges’ enology students at the winery.  The couple has been impressed by how intuitively the students understand every step of the winemaking process and their eagerness to learn the intricacies of the craft.

As the public’s taste in wine matures and evolves the Pennsylvania wine industry must continue to improve their products or lose customers to others that do change.  Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery has taken a huge step in that direction with an innovative approach to the wine market.  I wish them the best of luck but I know luck has very little to do with their success.  Their success is built on a foundation of hard work, perseverance and smart planning. For more information go to http://www.briarvalleywinery.com or call 814-623-0900.

Briar Valley's tasting room in Bedford, Pa.

Briar Valley’s tasting room in Bedford, Pa.