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Castlerigg Wine Shop Making Small Steps for Pennsylvania Wines

By Elisha Neubauer

Alan Tumblin, owner of the Castlerigg Wine Shop, always had a penchant for wines. In fact, wines became such a passion of his that, in his free time, he would visit wineries and wine shops. He became enamored with talking to the people that made or sold wines, learning about the industry for pure enjoyment. When the time came for Tumblin to make a career switch, he quickly realized that his hobby could become a legitimate business venture and Castlerigg Wine Shop was born.

The first step on the road to his new career was finding a winery that would allow him to sell their wines in the Carlisle area. As he had been visiting wineries quite frequently, he was familiar with some of the businesses in the surrounding areas and was able to convince the Seven Mountains Wine Cellars,and the Vineyard at Grandview, to allow him to sell their wines in Carlisle. The day after Thanksgiving in 2013, Tumblin opened the doors to his very own wine shop.

The shop itself is a beauty to behold, nestled in an authentic brick building and featuring bright, bold accent colors. Once inside, you're welcomed by imposing wooden doors with stunning stained glass inserts, hardwood flooring, and soothing colors. Plenty of cozy seating and open spaces are not only welcoming, but comfortable enough to spend an afternoon. While the shop has been open for three years now, Tumblin admitted he has had some hurdles.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of preconceived notions that all Pennsylvania wines are sweet and fruity," he said. "While it is true that we offer a lot of sweet and fruit wines, Pennsylvania wineries have really come a long way in the last 15 years and are now making some excellent dry wines, too."

In fact, the two wineries Tumblin stocks from have both won numerous awards in Pennsylvania and international competitions for their wines.

To help generate an increase in interest for Pennsylvania wines, Tumblin has set up a variety of events at Castlerigg Wine Shop. He works with the company aMuseUncorked to host wine and painting parties. He offers live music two or three Saturday evenings a month. Private tasting events are available, in which Castlerigg shows people how to pair wine with different foods and appetizers. An annual five-course Irish dinner takes place in March for those who are looking to get an authentic taste of the inspiration behind the Castlerigg name.

"Two of our biggest events each year are with the Pomfret Group Shop the Block initiative," Tumblin said. "And we hold an Art, Music & Wine walk in April and a Beer Crawl in the fall in October."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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