Story by Rick Hiduk / Submitted Photos
(Also published in Mountainhome Magazine)
Grovedale Winery in Wyalusing offers serenity at any time of the year. Its bright red farmhouse and outbuildings are iconic to locals. The Welles family began farming there in 1812, qualifying the property in 2012 as a Bicentennial Farm with the PA Department of Agriculture. To many residents, the grounds are sacred, as a funeral business has been operated there since 1986. It also served in the past as a home to the local historical society.
But it was the planting of a vineyard in the early 2000s and the opening of a winery and tasting room that formally endeared Grovedale Winery to the community and brought it national acclaim. Weekends are especially busy at the tasting room, as visitors mingle with locals trying out the wines distilled from the nine varieties of Minnestota and Vinifera grapes grown in the adjacent fields. Grovedale’s owners, Jeff and Kim Homer, often schedule entertainment.
But Grovedale Winery has also grown into a destination for weddings and other family gatherings, corporate functions, class reunions, and holiday parties. Grovedale Winery is home to an annual bluegrass festival, and the Homer’s invite area children there for a safe Halloween-themed outing called Trunk or Treat. The comfortable tasting room opens to a spacious patio with a roof. The view from there extends to the large campfire pit and the vineyards themselves.
In 2017, Manhattan Bride Magazine named Grovedale Winery “Best Bridal Vendor.”
The mostly shaded lawn around the tasting room provides the aesthetics that appeal to those seeking a flexible indoor/outdoor venue for an event. “It’s nice open space,” says Kim Homer. Guests are welcome to roam the vineyards at their leisure, but Grovedale staff can also provide tours of the wine making facilities and other buildings to preregistered groups. The big red house is always a favorite.
“It’s got a lot of history,” Kim explains. “The farm started on land given as a gift to the original owners for serving in the war.” The cattle farm started by Lt. George Welles and his descendants was called Grovedale, so Kim and Jeff kept the name for the winery. The Welles also owned a feed mill and petroleum business, both of which were situated along Route 6. Jeff and Kim’s children are eighth-generation Welles/Homer inhabitants.
Jeff’s mother, Kay Welles, and his father, Dean Homer, started the funeral home there in 1986. Dean’s family was already involved in the funeral business in nearby Dushore, Sullivan County. Despite its striking outward appearance and elegant interior restored and decorated under Kay’s guidance, a number of people think (or want to believe) that the red house is haunted. Perhaps it is because the house did sit vacant for some years.
In 1900, the family members living there at the time moved in a hurry. “No one knows why they left,” Kim notes, “But they literally left scrambled eggs on the table and clothes in the closets.” Old timers like to stoke the stories with accounts of sneaking into the empty house, seeing the petrified eggs on the table, and hearing ghosts.
“I was kind of hoping it would be haunted,” Kim laughs, conceding, “It’s honestly not.” She and Jeff and the kids live in the house, and Kim attests, “It’s a very peaceful place.”
Grovedale Winery is at 71 Wyalusing Lane, just two quick turns off Route 6 via Wyalusing-New Albany Road. The tasting room and gift shop are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm and Sundays until 5 pm. For more information about booking an event at the winery, interested readers may call 570-746-1400, log on to GrovedaleWinery.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.