Family-run central Pa. winery shuts its tasting room, switches to new distribution model

By Paul Vigna | pvigna@pennlive.com

Link to original article on Penn Live, here

Nicco Dalpiaz and his parents, Linda and Charlie, opened their Dalvino Wine Company tasting room in April 2017 in Snydertown, Northumberland County.

The goal at the time was to open for business Fridays through Sundays and introduce customers from around central Pennsylvania to their primarily dry wines.

Since then, it has been a roller-coaster ride for the family, starting with the restriction promoted by the pandemic and most recently a stroke that felled Charlie.

That took place more than three weeks ago, forcing the tasting room to close and the family to switch their focus to more immediate priorities. With Charlie on the mend and Linda helping him out, the tasting room likely will stay closed as Nicco looks at a different business model moving forward.

A graduate from the now-defunct enology and viticulture program at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, Nicco continues to make the wine around his full-time job in market research. “For me, the winery is a passion,” he said during a phone call Saturday. ”It’s something I want to do to put a good name out there for Pennsylvania wine. I am kind of excited, transitioning the business to B to C (business to consumer) and direct to consumer and not having to wait for people to come around the tasting room.”

Nicco already is adding volume to a wine club, where customers receive a quarterly shipment of wine, in addition to selling his wine to other restaurants and breweries in the area.

He sources grapes from a small vineyard he maintains, where he’s growing Carmine, Chambourcin, Lemberger and Gruner Veltliner. While many of his small-batch wines are dry, he does make an off-dry Pinot Grigio and Riesling and a Cayuga that’s semisweet.Production amounts to around 500 cases produced each year, he told PennLive in December.

While the tasting room has eliminated its regular hours, Nicco said he still plans to open it occasionally for seasonal events such as harvest and also around Thanksgiving and Christmas. He’s also considering opening by appointment; right now, he’s just trying to sort out the situation and become more knowledgeable about raising the winery’s profile while improving distribution without having tasting room visits to lean on.
“It’s something I need to figure out,” he said.

“Our website is optimized and developed for e-commerce,” he said, “so consumers can go to our website and place an order, get it shipped right to their door.” From what he’s seeing in his full-time job, “essentially we’re seeing a shift from people buying in store. It’s still a lion’s share of the business, online is still outpacing the growth. People are doing more click and collect and curbside.

I think COVID kind of fueled that, that desire of people being open to ordering online. So I’m hoping that I can kind of ride that coattail,” he said.

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Tasting Room Update

The past couple of weeks have been taxing as we navigated my fathers health concerns. We sincerely appreciate everyone who supported us by reaching out, sending meals, cards, and well wishes. Y’all have been great! It’s humbling to see the customer base we have built over the last six years.

We are a family run business and it’s at the heart of our brand. With that said, we have decided to transition from on-site retail sales at the winery and focus on our e-commerce, distribution, and wholesale segment of our business; including our wine club membership. This change will also relieve pressure from our family on the weekends.

With that said our tasting room will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future as we make this transition. We plan to have pop-up events from time to time at the tasting room as well. We would like to thank our customers who have supported us at the tasting room and look forward to serving you in a new way moving forward. More information will be available in the coming months as we evolve into the next chapter of our journey.