Black Dog Wine Co. opens a tasting room in North Fayette




A cozy new winery tasting room is open out in the country in North Fayette.

Black Dog Wine Co. opened it on Nov. 3 in a rustic farm market at 600 North Branch Road, offering free tastes of about a half dozen wines it makes — two reds, two whites, a rose and two fruit wines, strawberry and a very popular pumpkin spice. Customers also can buy glasses to sip there, including wine slushies and bottles to take home.

The building belongs to Half Crown Hill Orchard, and its honey is available for purchase, too. The orchard and farm market is leasing the space during its off season to the winemaker, Mark Rozum, who opened the winery in his nearby garage in the fall of 2016. He’s planning to construct his own building for production, tasting and sales in or around Oakdale. In the meantime, he’s also planning to open a tasting and retail outlet at Penn Hills Lawn and Garden by this spring.

Just before opening the North Fayette tasting room, Mr. Rozum was in Denver to be part of the Denver Wine Festival’s Pairsine Chefs Fine Food & Wine Pairing Competition. He got invited after his Keelboat Red won a double-gold medal in the Denver International Wine Competition this summer. (He also won a silver and two bronzes.) The Keelboat was paired with mussels with pickled fennel and radishes, which he could not try because he’s allergic to shellfish.

But he had a blast. “It was an amazing experience,” he says, adding with a laugh, “They didn’t even know we made wine in Pennsylvania.”

He recently quit his day job in software development to focus full-time on wine, which he’s been selling and publicizing at festivals around the city and the region. He’s soon planning to bring out more wines, including peach, blueberry, apple spice and a sweet Diamond white. He says all the fruit and grapes come from the region, much of it from along Lake Erie.

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He and his family really do have a black dog — a Labrador retriever named Elvira — as well as the red one (Sydney) and yellow one (Riese, as in Riesling) also depicted on some of the labels.

From 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the Black Dog tasting room is hosting a workshop on using paint and other materials to transform wine bottles into holiday decor. The $50-per-person admission includes all materials, appetizers and one glass of wine.

The tasting room’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thurs.; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri. and Sat. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. Most of the wines are priced at $15 per 750-milliliter bottle.  Learn more at blackdogwinecompany.com or by calling 724-485-WINE.  

Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.





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