Tuscarora Mt. Winery to open in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN
Ken Hadley, left and Oscar Galvan transform a storefront for Tuscarora Mt. Winery. They are decorating in deep red, green and yellow, will redo the countertop in wood and build wine racks to display locally grown and manufactured wines.

The signature lime green walls of the previous business have disappeared, and earth tones now prevail at 21 E. Baltimore St. Ken and Susan Hadley are preparing the interior of the main street building for the ambiance due fine wines. Tuscarora Mt. Winery is set to open by First Friday on Oct. 1. The Chambersburg couple is opening their second store in the former Sweet Myrtle location, which moved a few doors down.

Greencastle was on Ken Hadley's mind in 2007, but he couldn't find suitable land at an affordable price for his vineyard. He found a plot near Chambersburg, negotiated a 10-year user agreement with the land owner, started a winery in 2008, opened a store at 25 Lincoln Way W. in 2009, and was ready to expand in 2010. He is also finalizing a sales agreement on 46 acres to accomodate the growing business.

Hadley became a vintner as a hobbyist 31 years ago. "It was a way to provide me with alcohol," he said with a smile. He frequently gave bottles away as gifts.

His career in mechanics ended for health reasons. He had worked on huge transportation sources such as locomotives, submarines, and tractor trailers, and taught professional courses, including those for inspection licenses.

Considering the future, Susan told him to start a winery.

"She wanted her basement back," interjected Oscar Galvan, an associate who was painting trim.

Hadley was a little hesitant. "Everyone said they liked my wine, but you don't know if they really do."

Susan brought home an application for the largest amateur wine competition, held in Vermont. "Here, enter," she said.

Hadley submitted four bottles and came home with two golds and a bronze. He had been up against over 1,400 entries from the United States and foreign countries.

"See, they do like it," Susan confirmed.

So Hadley consulted his financial planner, emptied his savings account, and watched his wife worry as he started his own business. He now makes 26 wines in the back of the Chambersburg store and sells them in the front. His inventory comes from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Norton, Niagara, Merlot and soon Catawba grapes. He features special wines on St. Patrick's Day and at Christmas. "'Under the Mistletoe' flew out of the place," he recounted.

Hadley's winery license under the Pennsylvania Department of Agricultural allows him five retail stores. He is authorized to make 200,000 gallons of wine a year. That translates into one million bottles, if he had the capability. Tuscarora Mt. Winery produces 440 bottles a week.

The wine making process varies depending on the type of grape. Hadley said through the fermenting and aging process, red wine takes up to eight months, fruit wines less than three months, and white wines 30 days.

"The reds get better and better as they sit longer," he explained.

The Greencastle facility will operate similar to the Chambersburg store. Once the Liquor Control Board makes its final inspection, the business will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will employ one fulltime and two part-time people. Hadley will offer free wine-tasting to help shoppers make purchases. People are allowed up to six one-half ounce samples per visit. In addition to the large variety of wines, he will sell wine-making supplies.

Galvan, in the process of learning the business, sees something in Hadley missing in other vintners. "He has volumes of diaries of old recipes, which he brings out to tweak, and the result is 'wow'! He has the skill and love of making wine (which) you can taste."