Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.
After the pandemic dampened spirits during the Christmas and holiday season last year, Mike Lauderbaugh is full of cheer this year.
Lauderbaugh, who owns Red Fox Winery in Hickory, said things are quite different this year.
“It’s been good the whole month of December,” Lauderbaugh said. “Especially after last year and COVID, we see more people and more of them purchasing our wine.”
Lauderbaugh attributes much of the winery’s success to its Christmas Pop Up bar with decor from floor to ceiling. He added the Pop Up has been there the “whole month of December with Christmas music, trivia and decorations the entire time.”
And Christmas naturally isn’t the only time many will be imbibing festive drinks during the holiday season. National Champagne Day is celebrated informally Dec. 31 on New Year’s Day.
While Lauderbaugh said the winery isn’t open for New Year’s Eve, it is taking advantage of the holiday season, offering and featuring its winter wines and snow drift. Red Fox also offers a chocolate cherry wine – “Hey Toots” – a chocolate Tootsie flavored concoction.
“It tastes like a Tootsie pop,” he said.
“The excitement for the season is evident, we’re seeing that increase in purchasing and it’s great for us and great for all small business when people buy from us.”
Lauderbaugh said it seems the season is attracting a lot of married couples, along with dating and engaged couples. They see the Pop Up and are really getting into the holiday spirit.
“We’re excited to see this,” Lauderbaugh said. “We’re excited to see the increase in sales and are hoping it continues into next year.
Vinoski Winery in Belle Vernon is offering four new varietals this holiday season. The winery will re-open at 12 p.m. Wednesday and will be offering lunch in the Castle along with a variety of wines and Christmas decorations.
Ripepi Winery, Monongahela, has offered December Happy Hour, holiday edition of its best-selling Ripepi White estate blend. It has also introduced Winter Red, a new sweet and fruity – with a touch of oak.
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