Harvest Ridge Winery will open tasting room in Toughkenamon
● By J. Chambless
A building at 1140 Newark Road in Toughkenamon will be turned into a tasting room and reception space for Harvest Ridge Winery by the end of the year.
By John Chambless
Before the end of the year, an empty
building in Toughkenamon will become a major regional attraction when
the Harvest Ridge Winery opens a tasting room on Newark Road.
The Delaware-based winery announced the new facility on Aug. 25. It will be housed in a long commercial building next to the Shear Satisfaction hair salon in town. On Monday afternoon, Kristi Wyatt, sales manager for Harvest Ridge, traced the winery's beginnings and its new direction.
“Chuck and Chris Nunan are the founders,” she said. “They have lived in New Garden Township for over 30 years. They were in Charleston, S.C., in 2010 and went out to a winery one afternoon. They loved it. Chuck said, 'We could do this at the farm in Delaware.' We planted the vineyard in 2011 and we were open for business in 2013. We're still very young, but have grown tremendously.”
The Nunans still have a home in southern Chester County, in addition to their vineyard in Marydel, Del. Harvest Ridge has a small retail boutique in Philadelphia, Wyatt said, and one of their wines is carried in Pennsylvania state stores, but the new location in Toughkenamon will be their big rollout.
The currently unmarked building is in good shape, Wyatt said, but the front will be redesigned to resemble the Delaware tasting room facade. Inside will be a tasting room and event space where parties, bridal showers or private events can be held. It will seat about 75 people.
In the spring, a courtyard area may be added between the two buildings at the site, Wyatt said. “The cool thing is that we're not a bar,” she said. “We're not open until 1 in the morning. That's not who we are.”
“We started the process with this building about four or five months ago,” Wyatt said. “Chuck Nunan owns the building. The township has a comprehensive plan to revitalize Toughkenamon. They'd like to get grants for sidewalks and street lamps, and get more retail space and restaurants. When I presented this to them, they thought it would work very well as the first step of what they had already planned to do. The township has been very supportive. We've gotten no objections, and a couple of letters from neighbors came to the township saying that they supported it.”
As part of a network of wineries in southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, southern New Jersey and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Harvest Ridge “has a good relationship with most of the other wineries,” Wyatt said, “and there's definitely room for more.” By linking promotional efforts with similar wineries in the area, the area becomes a regional destination for wine lovers. Harvest Ridge isn't unknown in southern Chester County. “We like to do lots of events in the township. We've done the Balloon Festival, the 'Wine & Wheels' event, the air show,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt grew up in West Grove and lives in Oxford now. She has worked with the Nunan family for 12 years.
Harvest Ridge also produces Rebel Seed Cider, “which attracts the beer crowd,” Wyatt said. The new Toughkenamon facility will offer cider on tap, as well as a full selection of Harvest Ridge wines.
“We have a huge wine club in Delaware, and we hope to be able to match that in Pennsylvania,” she said. “We do quarterly pick-up parties where people come and pick up their wine packs, and we'll have food and events with that. Our wine club always gets first releases, or they get special VIP seating at events.”
Harvest Ridge is community minded, Wyatt said, “and we do a charity event every spring with our food truck competition in Delaware. We support military, law enforcement or something involving kids. For the past couple years, our spring event has supported the Disabled American Veterans organization. We've donated about $17,000 per year.”
Harvest Ridge wines are made from the grapes grown in Delaware, supplemented when necessary by juice purchased from companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, so the end product is as local as possible. The company produces about 20 varieties.
Wyatt said 15 to 20 part-time employees will work at the new building, and applicants are being trained so everyone is up to speed when the new Harvest Ridge facility opens. In the meantime, there are building permits to secure and licensing to put in place, “but we hope things will move quickly,” Wyatt said. “We will have Friday updates on our social media as construction goes along. We will also be looking for vendors interested in working with us at our facility -- food trucks, musicians, caterers, or those with event ideas. We will have a grand opening with a ribbon cutting, and invite the township officials who have been so supportive. It's going to be a lot of fun.”
For information on hiring or vendors, email Kristi@harvestridgewinery.com. For updates on Harvest Ridge and the new facility, visit www.harvestridgewinery.com.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.