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Making wine is a winning endeavor for George Wolf

Enjoying a nice wine with dinner is something to appreciate. Making a nice wine to go with dinner is a craft that takes time to perfect.
George Wolf of Tyrone has perfected his wine making and was rewarded with Best of Show ribbon at the Sinking Valley Farm Show.
Originally from Johnsonburg, Wolf moved to Tyrone in 1986.
Wolf became interested in making wine back when he lived in the Erie area.
“I made some Elderberry wine as a teenager,” said Wolf. “I had a lot of friends back home who made wine. I had access to free grapes when I lived in Erie. I was friends who were grape farmers and they let me pick. I was always interested in cooking, canning and baking and I thought I would give making wine a try.”
Wolf has been working on his wine making talents since 1964.
“I made a bottle of Cherry wine in 1964,” said Wolf. “I made 30 gallons in 1964 and I still have one bottle of it left.”
His winning wine at the Sinking Valley Farm Show was a Merlot.
“I bought the juice for that wine two years ago,” said Wolf. “I added some black raspberry jelly and some skins a year ago and this winter I added some blackberry juice.”
Wolf enters a wine making competition in Pittsburgh in April of every year and has come home with prizes from the big show there as well.
“I took third place in 2002 for a Riesling wine and a second place in 2001 for an Alicante Bouschat,” said Wolf. “The Pittsburgh competition is very competitive. They judge by the individual wine in over 15 different categories. In Sinking Valley they judge in red, white and pink.”
On top of the two ribbons won at the competition in Pittsburgh, Wolf has compiled 12 place winning ribbons at The Sinking Valley Farm Show.
“I plan to take this year’s Merlot to Pittsburgh next year,” said Wolf. “I just bottled some of it up for the competition. I’d love to win the competition there. It’s very tough. We’ll see how this year’s wine does.”
To make a quality wine, Wolf says it is all in the grapes.
“Sometimes you get a bunch of grapes and the weather that summer hasn’t been good for growing them,” said Wolf. “You have to know who you are getting your grapes and juice from. Sometimes you will order juice and by the time you get it, the juice is oxidized and the wine gets a bitter taste.”
Wolf said he gives away between 80 and 90 percent of the wine he makes.
“I keep my sister and her friends in wine,” said Wolf as he chuckled. “I enjoy making it, but I don’t drink it all myself. I have a friend in Ohio who I take wine for her Bridge club when they meet.”
If you are wanting to get started in making your own wine, Wolf has a suggestion.
“I got the Beginners Book of Winemaking,” said Wolf. “It’s by Douglas Moorehead who runs the Presque Isle Wine cellars near Erie. It will help you along the way.”
To make a good red wine, Wolf says it takes a good one to three years and a good white wine takes a year.
What started out as a hobby has brought many awards to George Wolf. The best of show at the Sinking Valley Farm Show and the possibility of winning an award for his Merlot in Pittsburgh next April. Congratulations and good luck to a local man who is enjoying his hobby.