The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 5, 2013

Popping cork on new venture

We’re bubbling with joy for wine operation

— It’s all, well, rather intoxicating.

Just over a week ago, two local entrepreneurs had the official opening of the first-ever winery in the Cambria City neighborhood of Johnstown.

Last week, an area delegation of businessmen and women held a press conference to share potentially good jobs news from an excursion to Argentina’s wine fields.

While our region has never been known as wine country – that is unless you’re talking about drinking the crushed berries – that’s apparently changing.

The 15-member delegation led by Cambria County President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder spent five days on a mission to the South American country. The fruits of their labor, Lengenfelder reported, include a bottling operation involving Argentine wine. The business, initially involving only a handful of workers, is expected to start within a few months.

“We could not have asked for anything stronger coming from the Argentines,” Lengenfelder said. 

While the initial bottling will take place in a building owned by W.C. McQuaide Inc. trucking on Vo-Tech Drive in Richland Township, the venture is part of a bigger plan to establish a foreign trade zone at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport. That idea is the brainchild of Lengenfelder, who also put together last month’s trip.

It’s expected the bottling company will serve as a model for more foreign business ventures here.

We hope the excitement continues to grow with further business development sprouting in the near future. Our economy badly needs a shot in the arm. We commend those who are leading the way to hopefully better days.

What some folks might not realize is that while wine-production talk might be low-key in our region, a lot of expertise on the subject exists in the Keystone State. According to the Pennsylvania Winery Association website, our state has more than 150 wineries.

Who knows? Perhaps in the not-too-distant future Johnstown will show up in the winery association’s brochures as one of its suggested tour destinations. 

How sweet would that be?

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