Warm up with Wine Tasting at Bella Terra Vineyard

Growing up in Westmoreland County, I never spent much time looking for events and places to go in my own backyard. Instead, I was drawn towards the Pittsburgh area and Allegheny County’s ample list of new things to experience. Jump to a few years later with a job in the city and no desire to navigate Pittsburgh traffic on my days off, I find myself trekking back into Westmoreland County to explore the hidden gems that seem to be widely known by county residents but unheard of by others.

Bella Terra Vineyard in Hunker, PA is one of those hidden gems that Westmoreland County should be proud to house. The winery is set in an unassuming neighborhood with a lake on its grounds that provides a quaint nature setting when the weather is nice enough to sit outside (or the winter igloos are open.)

The main hall at Bella Terra features an open space with the wine bar, cocktail tables, and comfortable seating areas to kick back and relax with friends. This space has a large drink menu behind that bar that lists all of the wines, ciders, and mixed drinks they have available.

This space has a large drink menu behind that bar that lists all of the wines, ciders, and mixed drinks they have available. This area is bar service and exudes a welcoming, laid-back atmosphere. Attached to the main hall are banquet spaces where parties and events can be held. The room right off of the main hall has Bella Terra wine barrels lined up that make for a great backdrop when you’re seated there.

There are also comfortable seating spaces with couches and armchairs in this space, much like the main hall, for busier times.

The wine choices here are extensive and the drink menu accommodates for non-wine drinkers as well. If you’re not quite sure which wine you’d like to sample, there are flights available based on what type of wine you prefer- sweet or dry, red or white.

You can also build your own flight of four different samples if your palette isn’t quite decided on what you’re in the mood for.

For those who aren’t a part of the wine scene, ciders, beer, and mixed drinks are offered and complement the current season you’re visiting in. In the winter you’ll find flavors of cinnamon, cranberry, vanilla, and blackberry throughout the drinks menu including the wine.

The Winterbella wine is a favorite with its warm notes of cinnamon and vanilla.

When I visit Bella Terra I like to order a flight so that I can try four different wines or ciders from their menu. I prefer the cider flight over the sweet wine flight simply because I wasn’t a fan of any of the sweet wines that I sampled. To me, all four of the sweet wines were a little too similar and I would have liked some different flavors and notes when going back and forth between the pours. The cider flight was different enough from each other, so I would opt for that over the wine next time I visit.

In addition to wine and mixed drinks, Bella Terra also has a Bistro food menu that offers salads, small bites, sandwiches, flatbreads, main plates, and a soup of the day. Some of the favorite dishes among my group of friends were the pretzel stix, chicken quesadilla, basil pesto chicken salad, and chicken tortilla soup.

On Sundays a brunch buffet is offered. I haven’t had the chance to try the brunch buffet yet, but the menu sounds delicious with make-your-own waffles, bacon, and lunch items including chicken and beef entrees.

The main draw to Bella Tera Vineyards for my group was the option to sample wines and have a light lunch in one of their outdoor wine igloos that give off a comfortable, casual ambience with strings lights, rustic-style table décor, and a heater to keep the space warm on cold winter Pennsylvania days, (because you know we have a lot of those in January and February). The wine igloos require a reservation and accommodate up to eight people. A reservation for the igloo costs $50 and reserves the space for two hours for your party.

The $50 is strictly for the use of the igloo and is not applied to check amount for food and drink purchases during your visit. With six of us visiting the winery it was under $10 for each of us to reserve an igloo.

Inside the igloo you’ll find seating for eight people around a long outdoor table, a heater that you can adjust to your liking, and blankets in case someone in your party needs more warmth on top of the heat from the heater. The wine igloos are table service, meaning you will have a server for the duration of your reservation. This means the only time you’ll need to leave your toasty igloo is to visit the restroom.

The winery has quite a few wine igloos around the grounds, including next to the lake. Both times I visited we had an igloo in the main outdoor area next to the Bistro and entertainment stage. Next time I’d like to try out an igloo next to the lake because the scenery looked like it would make for a beautiful lunch.

Overall, Bella Terra Vineyards is a great place to spend the afternoon with friends, sipping on wine and exploring the grounds. If you’re local to the area or need a break from the city life, this slice of Westmoreland County may be the perfect escape.

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