BLACKLICK TOWNSHIP — Indiana County’s newest winery, Country Winery and Vineyard, opened last weekend with abbreviated hours.
“I’ve made wine many years” and entered amateur winemaking contests like those sponsored by “WineMaker” magazine, said winery owner George Bogdanski.
The new winery and about 2 acres of young grape plants in a new vineyard are located on about 3 acres at 323 McConnell Road near Blairsville.
Because the grape plants in his new vineyard are immature, Bogdanski is buying juice from the Erie area to make Country Winery and Vineyard’s initial offerings. He expects that within four years he’ll be harvesting his own grapes for winemaking.
For sale now at the new winery are nine varieties, including blackberry, black raspberry and blended wines, priced from $11 to $15 per bottle.
The winery features a tasting bar where customers may sample wines before buying, and they may buy chilled wine to enjoy outdoors at the winery.
Adding a nice touch to the ambience, Bogdanski said, is that customers can see the grape vineyard from the winery.
A major expense in starting up the new venture, he said, was the purchase of stainless steel vats.
Bogdanski anticipates his wine production for the first year of his new enterprise will be about 900 gallons.
He’s continuing to work at his other career as a heating and air conditioning technician and hopes the winery will grow into a retirement business.
His daughter, Adrian, helps in the winery and his grandchildren lend a hand in the vineyard, he said.
According to Bogdanski, his is the third winery within a four-mile area in southern Indiana County, and it may contribute to a “wine trail” that wine aficionados will follow and visit.
Country Winery and Vineyard is now open from noon to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. A grand opening will be held this summer, Bogdanski said.