Impassioned sipper Lance Castle wanted to try his hand at winemaking. As luck would have it, a neighbor was selling his old equipment, and Castle quickly snapped it up. Now, almost a decade later, he and his partners are celebrating the grand opening of Chester County’s Black Walnut Winery.
The real work began in 2001, when Castle, his wife, Valerie, and friends Jack and Karen Kuhn crushed 500 pounds of grapes to make 2 tons of wine. It was so much fun that the group decided to expand the operation outside the Castles’ Kimberton home. In 2006, they settled on a 3-acre plot in Sadsburyville with a 200-year-old bank barn, which they renovated themselves. “I didn’t want to be 80 years old and say, â€˜I wish that we had tried to start a winery,’” says Castle. “My philosophy is to always give it a shot.”
The partners have spent the past three years balancing full-time careers with their work at the winery. “We basically paid money to do a second job,” Castle laughs, deeming the project “a true labor of love.”
For such a new winery, Black Walnut offers an impressive selection of reds and whites that range from dry to sweet, including merlot, chardonnay, and variations of Pinot Grigio and Bordeaux. In the end, Castle has one simple goal for Black Walnut. “I want people to consider it a refuge,” he says. “So they can open up a bottle of wine, relax and hang out.”
3000 W. Lincoln Hwy., Sadsburyville; (610) 857-5566, blackwalnutwinery.com