Lo­cal winer­ies stand to ben­e­fit from new Penn­syl­va­nia Liquor Con­trol Board pro­gram

North Penn Life - - Obituaries - By Michael Alan Gold­berg

mgold­berg@jour­nalregis­ter.

com

Car­di­nal Hol­low Win­ery owner Christo­pher Boyd is a spir­ited sort of guy when he gets to talk­ing about the 31 va­ri­eties of wine he makes at his North Wales head­quar­ters — in­clud­ing his unique, award-win­ning, crit­i­cally praised jalapeno wine.

But Boyd is es­pe­cially ex­cited about a new devel­op­ment that just may get his bot­tles into the hands of PRUH ZLnH DfiFLRnDdRs WKDn ever be­fore.

The Penn­syl­va­nia Liquor Con­trol Board an­nounced this month that it’s en­ter­ing into a part­ner­ship with the Penn­syl­va­nia Win­ery As­so­ci­a­tion to get a great deal more Penn­syl­va­nia wines — sSHFL­fiFDOOy ZLnHs IURP Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture-des­ig­nated PA Pre­ferred winer­ies — into state stores by early sum­mer, if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan.

Cur­rently, there are about 75 winer­ies in the state des­ig­nated PA Pre­ferred — a brand­ing that’s earned af­ter an ex­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tion process — and Car­di­nal Hol­low is one of them.

“This is a really great op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal winer­ies like our­selves to get our stuff on shelves,” said Boyd. “Right now, if I want to get my wines into stores, they have an open en­roll­ment once a year, in March. I have to send in wines to Harrisburg for them to have tast­ings and de­cide if they want to carry them. It’s a com­pli­cated process, but this new thing is go­ing to make that a lot eas­ier, so I’m go­ing all in.”

PLCB spokes­woman Stacy Kriede­man said that the part­ner­ship marks “an ef­fort to work with and sup­port lo­cal winer­ies and open their brand to a wider au­di­ence, and to cap­i­tal­ize on the whole buy-lo­cal trend that’s hap­pen­ing with wine, food and all kinds of prod­ucts.”

Kriede­man noted that while the PLCB has heard some of the past crit­i­cism that the agency has cho­sen to se­lect and show­case wines from other states, such as Cal­i­for­nia or New York, in state stores in­stead of Penn­syl­va­nia wines, she in­sisted that “we’ve al­ways tried to be sup­port­ive of Penn­syl­va­nia wines, and there are al­most 100 dif­fer­ent Penn­syl­va­nia wines al­ready in PA Wine and Spir­its stores.”

Though all of the de­tails of the pro­gram still need to be ironed out, Kriede­man said, the way it will work is PA Pre­ferred winer­ies will be able to se­lect up to 10 of their wines (as op­posed to the PLCB mak­ing those choices) to sell at up to 10 PA Wine and Spir­its stores lo­cated in rel­a­tive prox­im­ity to the win­ery. Winer­ies will be per­mit­ted to di­rect-de­liver be­tween one and two cases a month to each store and must sell a min­i­mum of one case a month to be al­lowed to re­main in the pro­gram. AIWHU WKH fiUsW sLx PRnWKs, the PLCB will re­view sales per­for­mance to de­ter­mine if the wines stay or go.

“It’s a win for con­sumers in that they may not ever get to try some of th­ese wines if they can’t get to the win­ery, and it’s a win for the winer­ies in that they can get more ex­po­sure and sales, and it may also en­cour­age vis­its to their win­ery,” said Kriede­man, who added that the PLCB is still con­sid­er­ing sig­nage, shelv­ing, events and other ways in which it can spot­light and pro­mote PA Pre­ferred wines in stores. “We want to do what we can to help them be suc­cess­ful,” she said.

“I hope they’ll have bet­ter shelv­ing units and things like that, but I think it’s go­ing to work out really well for us,” said Boyd. Among the Car­di­nal Hol­low wines he in­tends to sell in PA Wine and Spir­its stores are his jalapeno wine, his whiskey mead wine (which is honey wine fer­mented in Ken­tucky whiskey bar­rels for 14 months “so it soaks in all that great carameliza­tion,” Boyd said), his Black For­est choco­late-cherry wine, his GHZuUzWUDPLnHU (D sPRRWK GHUPDn ZKLWH ZLnH), Dnd his or­ganic straw­berry wine; he’s also con­sid­er­ing a mer­lot or Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, and per­haps his pineap­ple wine, too.

One of the chal­lenges of the pro­gram, Kriede­man ad­mit­ted, is the pric­ing. Un­der the PLCB, all wine and spir­its sold are sub­ject to a 30 per­cent mark-up and an 18 per­cent liquor tax, “so winer­ies have to ac­count for that be­cause they’re not al­lowed to sell those wines for less at the win­ery,” she ex­plained. “For some winer­ies, that can be a deal­breaker.”

But Boyd be­lieves it’s worth it. “Just get­ting my wines out there for peo­ple to try, and to spread the word, is huge, so I’m really ex­cited about it,” he said.

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