The Sand Castle Winery and a visit to Frenchtown, NJ

Seventy two acres overlooking the Delaware River hosts the 10,000 square foot “Sand Castle Winery” and its vineyard in Bucks County, PA. We took route 611 south to River Road in Kintersville to see what brothers Joseph and Paul Maxian started here in 1974. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Joseph and Paul combine European and American traditions at their winery which was inspired by a magnificent castle in their hometown of Bratislava.

As mentioned in some of our previous videos, route 611 never disappoints and we were further pleased with most of River Road, also known as route 32. We headed south along this quiet road with views of the Delaware River and the Delaware Canal Trail before making the hair pin turn into the entrance of the Sand Castle Winery. A narrow road slowly lifts you up above the level of the river as the “castle” makes its way into view.

We declined the tour and elected to just have a tasting session at their bar which turned out to be one of the more educational tasting sessions we’ve experienced. Their wines have pleasingly complex flavors though not too many suited out personal tastes. That’s not meant as criticism, just that they offered little that matched our personal palates. We settled for a bottle of their Alpine Spice, a blend of their Chardonnay and Riesling which was delicious warmed, especially with a little white Rum added in. Our tasting tour covered ten wines with lots of information provided by our bar tender. Before leaving, we walked throughout the building to take in their art gallery and the rooms where their parties and wedding receptions take place.

We headed north on River Road with the intent to cross a small bridge into New Jersey which turned out to be Frenchtown. Frenchtown is a borough in Hunterdon County with a small population of 1,373 according to the 2010 Census. A six-span covered wooden bridge built in 1841 gave way to today’s Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge but the five piers still stand today. As early as 1757 streets began being laid out along with building lots that was to be called Alexandria in honor of William Alexander, Lord Stirling. By 1794, the land was sold to Paul Henri Mallet-Prevost, a Swiss fugitive from the French Revolution. He and other settlers were French speaking which eventually led to the name “Frenchtown”.

Places to eat and shops fill the welcoming streets along with places to spend the night including the Frenchtown Inn, an original hotel of the area. We sat and had a couple of slices of some delicious pizza and then made our way back over the bridge into Pennsylvania to finish the day.

It was a decent day weather wise for this late day in April, especially given the long hard winter we just experienced. The old-fashioned charm of Frenchtown will definitely bring us back some day and we’re interested in exploring route 32 further south. The entire Bucks County area seems to be a wealth of places to visit, I’m sure this won’t be our last video of this area.

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