Winemaker Courtyard opens new store at Century III Mall

cucina-2Century III Mall may not be a hot spot for shopping as of late, but a new tenant and flavorful addition to the mall hopes to help change that reality.

Unlike other retail businesses inside of Century III, Courtyard Winery is Pennsylvania-based, according to company president and winemaker Randy Graham.

All of the wine is shipped from the Erie area, where there is an ideal climate for winemaking, Graham explained.

“We have more than 125 acres of vineyards,” Graham said.

Graham said his company’s wine is different from other winemakers.

“For us, the key advantage is that we understand the wine process,” he said.

“Quality wine is something that starts in the vineyard.”

He cited his company’s attention to detail and his workers’ care of the grapes

Courtyard decided to open up a store in the West Mifflin area because of significant business from Pittsburgh area customers.

“Sixty percent of our company sales come from Allegheny County customers,” Graham said.

Graham said there is a beautiful process behind the production of good wine, including an art to it (the perceptions of the available wine flavors) as well as science to it (the laboratory tests done by their chemists).

Courtyard Winery store manager Donita Ference was excited about the store opening.

“It was on my bucket list,” she said.

Graham said some of Courtyard’s best offerings include dry varietal, sweet, and blended wines from various grapes.

New visitors to the store have become regular patrons.

“The owners are wonderful, and they always know what wines to pair with [specific] social occasions,” said Sabrina, a return customer.

Shoppers at the Century III location may taste up to three samples of any wines in the store for no charge. They also sell wines by the glass at $5 per dry wine glass and $6 per sweet wine glass.

The store is open Mon-Sat from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Story by Zach Filtz for Pennsylvania Bridges