Wooden Door Winery offers historic escape in Vandergrift | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Wooden Door Winery offers historic escape in Vandergrift

Joyce Hanz
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Wooden Door Winery in Vandergrift kept much of the former church’s architecture for its dining room, even using former pews for seating.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Located in a former church along Custer Avenue in Vandergrift, Wooden Door Winery produces a variety of wines from Pennsylvania-grown grapes.
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Courtesy of Wooden Door Winery
Wooden Door Winery’s dining room as seen from the balcony in the converted former church.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Wooden Door Winery in Vandergrift produces wine on-site from Pennsylvania-grown grapes.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Wooden Door Winery owner Jeff Pollick shows off the converted former church along Custer Avenue in Vandergrift.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Wooden Door Winery owners Jeff and Krissy Pollick.

A local couple poured their passion for wine making into a year-round winery.

Winemakers Jeff and Krissy Pollick of Allegheny Township opened their first winery, Wooden Door Winery, in 2010.

Their most recent location, along Custer Avenue in Vandergrift, goes by the same name and is housed in a restored 1896 historic church.

“Our goal is to make our customers feel comfortable and enjoy our winery as a gathering place that offers great wine and food at an affordable price in a beautiful structure that we converted into a winery,” Jeff Pollick says.

The Pollicks run their original location, at 4087 Greenwood Road in Allegheny Township, out of a restored horse barn on 11 acres.

They purchased the former First Lutheran Church of Vandergrift in 2015 and dove into a two-year renovation project, keeping numerous relics such as pews, a pulpit and other church artifacts on display for customers, and opened for business in 2017.

For Krissy, the location choice for their second winery was personal.

“This was my church as a child and I think we worked really hard to preserve it respectfully while still creating a welcoming environment to our winery,” she said.

Jeff Pollick says the Vandergrift location provided the ideal year-round venue they were seeking for expansion.

“We needed a second location because our Allegheny Township is seasonal (it closes for the winter) and weather really does hinder or help that location. The Vandergrift winery is perfect because it has outdoor seating but, more importantly, it can welcome larger groups than our original winery,” he says.

The wine aficionados work together, with Krissy juggling a teaching job and sharing winery responsibilities with Jeff, a former teacher who quit to run Wooden Door full-time.

The couple makes about 30,000 bottles of wine annually, with grapes and juices purchased from California and the Lake Erie region.

More than 30 varieties of wines are offered at Wooden Door, ranging in price from $12.75 to $17.75 per bottle.

Wooden Door Green Apple Hard cider, with a 9 percent alcohol content, is available for $5 a glass.

Wine names include sweet varieties such as Guilty Pleasures and Sweet Diamond and blush wines include Door Knocker, Sweet Wine O’ Mine and Righteous Red.

Dry and sweet reds, blush, fruit and sweet, semi-sweet and dry whites are available and the wine bar menu features assorted homemade appetizers, pizza and sandwiches.

Parking is available in public lots located on Columbia and Washington avenues, a short walk away from the winery.

Groups larger than eight are asked to contact Wooden Door in advance.

Melissa Leibert-Locke of Lower Burrell, a frequent patron of the Vandergrift location, says Thursday nights offer a great meal for a bargain price.

“We love the pasta nights on Thursdays. It’s a great deal and it’s such a nice place and close to home,” Locke says.

Weddings, class reunions, birthday parties and special events can be held in the upstairs private room that includes a balcony and seats about 50.

“I knew when I first walked into that building that it would be an amazing structure for a winery. The town of Vandergrift and council has been very supportive and I have very loyal customers that have helped me out with their feedback,” Jeff Pollick says.

Future plans at the Vandergrift winery include expanding the cider inventory.

“I plan to make it more of a cider house by offering more varieties because the ciders are popular with my younger demographic visiting,” Jeff Pollick says.

•••

Wooden Door Winery

Where: 101 Custer Ave.,Vandergrift

Hours: Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: 724-889-7244, woodendoorwinery.com, Facebook

The concept: Wine bar and eatery housed inside a restored 1896 church offering indoor/outdoor seating, live music and handcrafted local wines and cider.

Menu sample: Pork pulled nachos with cheddar cheese, salsa, olives and banana peppers ($10); Flat Bread Pizza with Chicken, basil pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions and cheese ($8); Bruschetta topped with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese on a toasted baguette ($8).

Must try: Thursday Pasta Nights. Choose from five homemade pasta entrees, like chicken Parmesan and a bottle of wine ($30).

The bottom line: A unique and fun wine bar nestled in historic Vandergrift.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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