Grovedale Winery in Wyalusing is as loaded with history as the vines, this time of year, are loaded with grapes. The Welles family began farming there in 1812, qualifying the property in 2012 as a Bicentennial Farm with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
“It’s got a lot of history,” explains Kim Homer, whose husband Jeff’s family were the first to farm this place. “The farm started on land given as a gift to the original owners for serving in the war.” (That would be the Revolutionary War.) The cattle farm started by Lt. George Welles and his descendants was called Grovedale, so Kim and Jeff kept the name for the winery they’ve created. The Welles also owned a feed mill and petroleum business. Jeff’s mother, Kay Welles, and his father, Dean Homer, were involved in the funeral home business. The farm also served in the past as a home to the local historical society.
But it was the planting of a vineyard in the early 2000s and the subsequent opening of a winery and tasting room that formally endeared Grovedale Winery to the community and brought it national acclaim. Weekends are especially busy at the tasting room, as visitors mingle with locals trying out the wines distilled from the nine varieties of Minnestota and Vinifera grapes grown in the adjacent fields. Jeff and Kim often provide the entertainment.
Grovedale Winery has also grown into a destination for weddings. In 2017, Manhattan Bride magazine, a classy, splashy publication dedicated to all things wedding, named Grovedale Winery “Best Bridal Vendor.” Why? There are lots of reasons. The mostly shaded lawn around the tasting room provides, in Kim’s words, a “nice open space,” that appeals to those seeking a flexible indoor/outdoor venue. There is plenty of on-site parking. The comfortable tasting room opens to the versatile patio and includes a great view. Grovedale can provide a tent, along with tables, chairs, and the services of an event coordinator. Outside caterers are permitted. Guests are welcome to roam the vineyards, but Grovedale staff will also provide tours that can include the historic and iconic big red house where Jeff and Kim and their kids live.
That house, with its striking exterior and elegant interior restored and decorated under Kay’s guidance, has a history of its own. Some folks think (or want to believe) that it’s haunted. Family members living there in 1900 did move out in something of a hurry.
“No one knows why they left,” Kim notes, “But they literally left scrambled eggs on the table and clothes in the closets.” Old-timers like to stoke the ghost stories with accounts of sneaking into the empty house, seeing the petrified eggs on the table, and hearing ghosts. “I was kind of hoping it would be haunted. It’s honestly not,” Kim laughs. “It’s a very peaceful place.”
Grovedale Winery is at 71 Wyalusing Lane, not far off Route 6. The tasting room and gift shop are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 5 pm. To plan your wedding, call (570) 746-1400, visit grovedalewinery.com, or send an email to [email protected].