Four must-visit wineries perfect for an autumn day trip

click to enlarge Two outdoor table fulls of women drinking under patio umbrellas in front of a large white building with lots of windows
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Black Dog Wine Company in Oakdale

If you’re itching to get outta ’tahn this fall but don’t know much about the gems hidden throughout Pittsburgh’s suburbs, we found four wineries within an hour’s drive of the city perfect for a fun fall excursion.

Black Dog Wine Company

7425 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale.
Bring your well-behaved pooch with you to Oakdale’s dog-loving winery, located in a historic haunted mansion. According to its website, Black Dog Wine Company was named after owner Mark Rozum’s first black lab, and is 100% Pennsylvania-sourced, making all of its wines on-site. Black Dog hosts live music every Friday and Saturday and offers “light appetizers,” but patrons are encouraged to bring their own food or order take-out and have a picnic. Plus, all pizzas delivered to the winery by local pizza shop Angelia’s Pizza are 15% off!

Vinoski Winery

333 Castle Dr., Rostraver.
The patrons at Rostraver’s Vinoski Winery know how to get down. Last September, the Mon Valley Independent reported the establishment was the subject of noise complaints from area residents who think the winery-turned-concert venue rocks too hard.

“I’ve had to move my kids into the house when they had male strippers there,” complained a disgruntled community member. “I had to listen to George Thorogood use the F-word five times.”

Although they host concerts almost every night of the week, Vinoski is serious about more than just music. Wine-maker Walt Vinoski traces his lineage to 1200 AD Poland, where Vinoski’s website says the family made wines for royalty. Walt’s great-grandfather settled in Connellsville in the late 1800s to work on the railroad and never stopped developing and passing down his winey trade.

Narcisi Winery

4578 Gibsonia Rd., Gibsonia.
Another family-owned company, this Gibsonia winery is also powered by generations of wine crafters. The Narcisi family emigrated from Italy to Sharpsburg in the early 1900s and later made wine on their Coraopolis farm. Narcisi offers a full menu of Italian food in their restaurant, including gluten-free options, and also sources all of its grapes from Pennsylvania and does all wine processing in-house. According to its website, Narcisi Winery produces 35,000 gallons, or 175,000 bottles of wine a year, ranging from complex, dry red wines to sweet fruit wines, available to be shipped anywhere in the state. There are several on-site locations in which to enjoy Narcisi wine, however, including the restaurant, patio, bar, picnic pavilion, and lawn.

Apis Mead and Winery

206 Mary St., Carnegie.
Visit this Carnegie spot for mead, “a contemporary take on one of man’s oldest fermented beverages,” sometimes called honey wine. According to its website, Apis mead is made in small batches, and is gluten-free and made of fresh fruit, locally sourced honey, and sometimes herbs, spices, or hops. Apis says they exclusively use honey from a farm in Hickory that “captures Pennsylvania’s native honey flavors without being too sweet.” Apis offers more than 50 meads including Guava Ghost Pepper, Peach Apricot, and Lemon Meringue Pie, and ships to 40 states. Their Carnegie location also hosts weekly food trucks and occasional live performances.