Monday, July 28, 2014

Winery to open in former W-B silk mill

Business partners plan to release some varietals this fall and Pennsylvania-made products in 2014

September 18. 2013 11:13PM

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WILKES-BARRE — In preparing to open a winery in the city this fall, business partners Joseph Mirin and Joe Marx didn’t take long to settle on the names of two of the wines they plan to release.

They’ll introduce red and white varietals under the Silk Mill Hill and Tin Knocker labels next year from MM Micro Winery Inc. on High Street. The duo received approval Wednesday from the Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board to set up their 2,300-square-foot shop in a former silk mill where Marx Sheet Metal and Mechanical Inc. is located.

“This is the third urban winery in the state of Pennsylvania,” Mirin, 50, said.

Within the next month or two they’ll release Divine Diva and Domestic Goddess wines made to their specifications in California. The Pennsylvania wines will be released next year, they said. Even though the Pennsylvania wines will be made from grapes grown in the Napa Valley and aged there, they cannot have a California designation under labeling rules, Mirin explained.

Still he touted his product and matched it against others. “It’s a very good wine,” Mirin said.

A wine aficionado, Mirin, 50, who grew up and lives in Wilkes-Barre, said he decided to make his own. Through a process of trial and error he became a vintner and decided to go into business with Marx, 45, of Hanover Township.

They have a few products planned for production.

“We’re going to be kegging wines,” Mirin said. The winery will be selling plastic kegs containing slightly more than 5 gallons of wine that have a months-long shelf life after opening, he added.

They were reluctant to go into detail about the cost of setting up production. Marx said they’ve invested “quite a bit” into the venture.

The zoning hearing board also approved the installation of a sign with an electronic messaging board at the Coal Street Complex, the training facility and ice rink for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team and the headquarters of GWC Warranty.

Separately, at the request of Nabil Abualburak, who does business as Mr. Pizza on South Main Street, the board continued until Oct. 16 the hearing on his request to open a hookah bar on the site.

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