Dirt now, paydirt later for The Vineyard at HersheyIt’s amazing how much happiness a hole in the ground can produce.
But that was the story Monday at The Vineyard at Hershey, where construction began on a 12,000 square-foot building for the winery that will include a deck overlooking the vineyard and its 2 acre natural spring pond.
At the same time, the winery is awaiting approval from the state Liquor Control Board to double the size of its current building. Winery partner Jason Reimer said Monday that they expect the permission in another couple weeks. After that, they’ll knock down a wall and install a second tasting bar and a country kitchen. There, they are planning to put in a large table that will allow for private tastings and education, something Reimer said he has seen some of the higher-end wineries offer in Napa. “That’s an experience we want to bring out here, a much more private, intimate wine-tasting setting, and we thought a country kitchen with the view of our natural spring pond and the vines would be a perfect place” to locate it, he said.
They’re also planning to develop three VIP lounges that would be available for groups. Most important, following the thought that the one person you want to keep happy in the operation is the winemaker, the expansion will also give Paul Venzetti twice as much space to work his magic. Mentioning Vezzetti reminds me that The Patriot-News interviewed Vezzetti last week about life moonlighting as a winemaker while working a full-time job as web and video coordinator for the Pennsylvania’s House Republican Caucus. Here’s the story.

Assuming the PLCB delivers soon, that work on the current space would get under way immediately and be finished by sometime in October.

Meanwhile, work will continue on the deck that will overlook the vineyard. It certainly should be finished in time for the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s Tour de Tanks in March 2013. There’s no specific timetable for the completion of the remainder of the building, but the current sales and interest in The Vineyard at Hershey’s wines offer optimism that it will be finished sooner rather than later.
Proof of the current interest is that more than 1,000 tickets that have been sold for the winery’s Merlot Release party this Saturday. “It’s a response we could have never expected,” Reimer said, “and we’re incredibly excited about it.”  That party is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and continue until 9:30 at the winery.11549060-large