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Franklin Co. winery joins tasting record attempt

August 14, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • From left, Chip Mahon, Pam Plesz, Connie Call, Pam Hartzok and Ron Plesz lift their wine glasses Saturday at the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast at Tuscarora Mountain Winery in Chambersburg, Pa. They joined wine tasters across Pennsylvania in a joint attempt to break the Guinness world record for the largest wine tasting ever conducted.
By Dana Brown,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Wine lovers across 30 counties in Pennsylvania together lifted their glasses for the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast on Saturday, attempting to break the Guinness world record for the largest wine tasting ever conducted.

Tuscarora Mountain Winery in Chambersburg was filled with about 120 wine tasters helping Pennsylvania's attempt to beat the world record of 17,540 tasters set by more than 400 pubs in the United Kingdom in 2009.

The event also was a salute to a record-setting year for the state's wine industry, according to the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

Race car driver Mario Andretti, a lifelong Pennsylvanian and wine lover, served as toastmaster, leading all locations in a simultaneous toast via video.

"Cheers" was the cry as participants lifted their complimentary glass of wine to conclude Andretti's toast at precisely 4:15 p.m.

Tina Flohr, who handles public relations for Tuscarora Mountain Winery, which is owned by her family, said the official word on whether the world record was set probably won't be announced until Monday so the winery association can tally the number of toasters at more than 60 participating wineries across the state.

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Flohr said Tuscarora Mountain Winery, the only winery in Franklin County, was required to have an official counter and supervisor for the event. The winery also will be required to submit the proper paperwork for verification through Guinness, she said.

Martin Hudzinski of Waynesboro, Pa., said he attended to help break the world record.

"I came to be part of something really big," he said. "And to be supportive of local industry."

John and Deb Norris of Chambersburg said they consider themselves to be wine connoisseurs. The couple gave Tuscarora's wines a good review.

John Norris, a former winemaker himself, said he likes Tuscarora Mountain Winery wines "because they are different."

"The 1864 wine has the most unique cherry flavor I've ever tasted," he said.

Ron Plesz of Chambersburg said his wife dragged him to the event.

"I'm a beer person myself, but I drink an occasional glass of wine," he said as he lifted a glass of Mountain Lane wine.

Ken Hadley, Tuscarora Mountain Winery owner and winemaker, said he started making wine about 30 years ago as a hobby.

Taking the step to open a winery was inspired by his wife, Sue, Hadley said. She encouraged him to enter the Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition in 2009. He entered four bottles and took away two gold awards and one bronze award.

"Ever since then, it's been taking off," Hadley said.

His greatest pleasure, he said, "is seeing people's reactions when they taste the wines."

All of Tuscarora Mountain Winery's wines are made from berries and grapes from Franklin County, Hadley said.

"What we don't grow ourselves, we get from local farmers," he said.

His secret?

"TLC," he said.

Hadley was pleased with the turnout for the wine tasting event, he said.

"A lot of people didn't know we are here," he said.

Candi Schabowsky of Chambersburg said she was impressed with the wines and had a difficult time deciding which ones to taste.

"I'll be back to try the ones I didn't get to try," she said.

Keith Thornton of Gettysburg, Pa., was joined by friends and said he wanted to be part of breaking a world record.

"That'll be awesome," he said.

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