Local wine, cider showing up at Wegmans

The state's recently reformed liquor law has opened the door for local companies

Six of The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey's wines and four of its hard cider products are headed to the shelves at Wegmans. - (Photo / Submitted)

“Merlot” Mike Wilson was still in “pinch me” mode Thursday after getting grocery-store chain Wegmans to carry six of his company’s wines and four of its hard cider products.

Wegmans is one of many businesses across the state who are now selling takeout wine because of the recently reformed state liquor law.

Wilson is one of the partners in The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County.

“I was going to bring four wines, but then I snuck two extra in,” he said of his meeting with Wegmans, which will sell the products, to start, in its Silver Spring Township store as well as locations in State College and Williamsport.

The decision by Wegmans to buy will mean increased production for the Dauphin County company, one of many craft alcohol producers now looking to expand their sales efforts because of the law.

Part of the law allows for more cross-selling of alcohol products between breweries, wineries and distilleries.

“The idea is to scale up production,” Wilson said. “But we want to make sure we continue to meet production capacity without sacrificing for (current) customers and our events.”

The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey is already rolling out almost 30,000 gallons per year between its wine, beer and cider products. It will now allocate batches just for the Wegmans account, which should gradually expand to other Pennsylvania stores in the chain, Wilson said.

At the end of the day, more retail exposure should drive more people to the destination, Wilson added. “Everyone just wants a unique experience.”

The company also is partnering with AAA Central Penn on a riverboat wine cruise through Eastern Europe next November. 

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