With shortages of disinfected and antibacterial products growing every day due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a local winery has stepped up to fill a gap.

"All distilleries (in) the country, pretty much, got contacted by the government and said, 'If you're able to, you have permission to,'" said Walter Novosel, owner of Fractured Grape Wine Cellars in New Wilmington.

"Any wine, beer or cider that we've had sitting around that wasn't in a bottle yet or wasn't in production, we sort of just ran that through distill and came out with the alcohol we needed," Novosel continued.

After giving bottles away to nursing homes and healthcare facilities, Novosel began to sell bottles to the public Tuesday in order to cover the cost of production and the donations as well as put money toward Operation Grape.

Operation Grape is a nonprofit group that takes mission trips to the Dominican Republic. Although the group had a mission trip planned for April, it has been pushed due to the pandemic.

Novosel said they only make 80 bottles a day.

"People call in and sort of reserve them, you know, it probably drops to about 33 available a day (through the drive-through)," said Novosel. "If people call ahead, that's probably best (so we can) set them aside."

"Obviously people who need them (we're) sort of putting them at the top of the list," he continued.

Since the closure of so many businesses, the other businesses Novosel owns such as Nova Cellars Winery and Knockin Nogggin Cidery & Winery, have been consolidated to the Fractured Grape location due to the drive-through window.

The winery will be selling bottles during their regular drive-through hours of noon until 8 p.m. 

"It's our way of giving back to the community," said Novosel. "We support efforts here and abroad with it."



Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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