Sunday, December 7, 2008

West Hanover set to close shop in Carlisle

George Kline, owner of the 21-year-old
West Hanover Winery outside Harrisburg, says he’s seen a drop in sales by about $1000 a month since the beginning of the year.

“Everybody’s hurting right now,” he said the other day. “We’re not seeing the numbers from last year, so what do you do? You sit tight. You see, I don’t have to have this. I’m retired. That’s the difference between me and someone that needs this for a living. I don’t need this. I just do it to keep myself occupied.”

The winery produces right around 5,000 gallons of wine annually, Kline said. In addition to the tasting room that’s in a separate building connected to his home on Jonestown Road, a 3-minute ride off I-81, he also has satellite locations in Carlisle and over near Morgantown. Well, for now.

“I’m getting ready to close one over in Carlisle,” he said, relaxing behind his long tasting bar. “That has not done well, we’re breaking even over there, so I’m not staying.” The other one is in St. Peters Village, in Warwick, off Route 23. It has been open a year. “On a good week, we sell a lot of wine. It’s enough to keep us there, let’s put it that way.”

Kline said he’ll count on the Christmas rush bringing in extra business, and then hang in there until
Tour de Tanks begins in March and runs every weekend. West Hanover is one of 12 members of the Uncork York trail that will be participating.

“We did almost $38,000 March last year,” he said. “That really picks up sales . . . that was the best year we’ve had [with the event]. The first 3 years, we might have done $8,000 to $12,000, but now since
Cullari’s opened down here and there’s two wineries in Gettysburg, that has helped. They can hit two wineries here, go right over, a half-hour drive to Gettysburg, hit two over there, then go to York, so they can hit four right in an afternoon just in this area. Before, they’d be coming up here just for me.”