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Tuscarora Mt. Winery to open store in Greencastle

Owners hope to offer 'something different'

September 13, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Ken Hadley, owner and vintner of Tuscarora Mt. Winery in Chambersburg, Pa., plans to open a second store in Greencastle, Pa. Tuscarora Mt. features 28 wines made from grapes grown in Franklin County, Pa.
Dana Brown, Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The face of downtown Greencastle will soon have a new reason to smile.

Tuscarora Mt. Winery, of Chambersburg, Pa., is opening a second retail store in October at 21 E. Baltimore St., offering 28 wines made from grapes, berries and fruit grown only in Franklin County.

The winery became an extension of a lifelong hobby for vintner Ken Hadley, a self-proclaimed "horticulture freak."

From the age of 10, he has been growing things, he said.

"I was a gardening fanatic," Hadley said.

He credits his grandfather for stirring his interest in gardening by teaching him how to grow vegetables and berries in cold climates.

"He told me you can always outsmart a plant," Hadley said.

Over the past 31 years, Hadley has worked at perfecting the art of winemaking. But his first attempt, he said, didn't quite turn out as planned.

"The first batch turned out to be vinaigrette," he said. "From that point, I corrected my errors and continued on."

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Initially, Hadley made wine for friends and neighbors, and always got rave reviews, he said. But it was his wife, Sue, who challenged him to take his craft to the next level and enter a wine competition, he said.

Hadley entered four bottles in the 2009 Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition, and took away two gold awards and one bronze.

"That was a good sign," Sue Hadley said.

"That was the key turning point," Ken Hadley said.

The next step was opening a winery in October 2009 in Chambersburg, which he said met with "immediate success."

Within the first two months of opening the doors, they sold more than 200 cases of wine, he said.

"We should have done it 20 years ago," Sue Hadley said. "It does take a lot of time and commitment. I stand behind him 100 percent."

"It seems to be growing faster than I can keep up with," he said.

Winemaking is a blend of "art and science, trial and error," Ken Hadley said, adding that "TLC" is the most important ingredient.

He has created wines from peaches, apples, berries and various other fruits. He said he continues to experiment to create new wines.

"You can pretty much make wine out of anything," Ken Hadley said.

The winemaking process takes six weeks to eight months before the wine is bottled and ready to go. Tuscarora Mt. Winery puts out about 500 bottles of wine each week, from sweet fruit wines to dry red wines, he said. Prices range from $12 to $14 per bottle.

The Hadleys said they are "nervous" about opening a second store, but hope to offer Greencastle "something different."

The new store will feature a Tuscan ambiance, complete with low lighting and seating for patrons who want to sample wines or enjoy a glass with friends.

"We want to offer a place where people can just get away," Hadley said. "People say we have a very romantic atmosphere. We're finding out that a lot of people are visiting us for a first date."

The winery is family-owned and operated by the Hadley family, including daughter Tina Floor, who designs bottle labels for each new wine Ken Hadley creates. She also creates personalized labels for special orders.

In addition to wine tasting, the store will feature wine accessories and gifts. Patrons can sample up to six wines at no cost, Hadley said.

"I'll walk them through every single one of the wines, telling them what's in it and how it was made," he said.

Hadley is also willing to share his wine expertise and winemaking techniques.

"But not all of it," he said.

For now, the Hadleys plan to keep their winery operation small, although they hope to break ground on a new winery facility in Franklin County this year.

"We're small, but we want you to enjoy what you have," Ken Hadley said.

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