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A FINE WINE: Local business takes top spot on state wine list

A local winery is pouring with success after recently being ranked No. 1 on a recognized state list.

The Winery at Wilcox took the top spot on the “Pennsylvania producers that made the most wine in 2016” list at, which was published in May of this year.

The Winery at Wilcox operates its Wilcox location in Elk County, a Pittsburgh location and the outlet store in the DuBois Mall.

The Winery at Wilcox at the DuBois Mall holds regular events and has a tasting room to accommodate around 20 people. The wine list includes more than 25 dessert wines.

Stefanie Kear, Manager of the DuBois location, said the winery has done a great job at staying involved with local businesses and the community as a whole.

“As an employee, it’s so exciting to be a part of a family-owned business that continues to grow,” she said. “‘Community’ is what I think of when people are talking about the winery.”

According to the site, the winery produced 85,518 gallons of wine, and 50,072 gallons of grown grapes or juice in Pennsylvania. Total out-of-state grown grapes or juice purchased was 9,741 gallons.

Winery at Wilcox Owner Jamie Williams said it was started in 1994 by Mike and Carol Williams, and he entered ownership in 2004.

At first, the Winery at Wilcox was the smallest winery in the state of Pennsylvania, Williams said. There were only 40 wineries at that time.

According to the Pennsylvania Wine Association, the state is home to more than 200 wineries that produce more than 1 million gallons of wine each year. In 1968, the Pennsylvania Limited Winery Act changed laws to allow the sale of wine to consumers and licensed establishments.

“I was surprised to see our name on the top of the producers list for 2016,” Williams said. “I knew we were probably one of the top five wineries in terms of raw production, but I would’ve never guessed we were number one.”

The wine producers on this list made at least 15,000 gallons of wine in the year 2016, according to

In the past 20 years, the WAW has grown to provide around 90,000 gallons of wine at the Wilcox facility. The Winery at Versailles, another location, was started in western Ohio in 2002, and now produces around 90,000 as well. In 2017, The Winery at Hunters Valley was opened in Liverpool, Pennsylvania, north of Harrisburg.

“We employ 80 amazing people that really make our business go,” Williams said. “We have been lucky to have so many good employees who take pride in the work. Anyone who walks into one of our retail locations or tastes our wine can tell.”

Other local wineries that made the list were Star Hill Winery in Curwensville, which also has a location in the DuBois Walmart, and Deer Creek Winery in Shippenville.

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Structure fire in DuBois caused by fireworks

DuBOIS — The DuBois Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ben Blakley said fireworks set off by the owners were the apparent cause of a structure fire to which the department responded at 10:10 p.m. Sunday.

“When we got there, heavy smoke was showing from the garage,” said Blakley, noting that the fire started on the outside of the garage attached to a bi-level home at 201 W. Logan Ave.

“There was a retaining wall outside, the garage and a 6-inch gap between the retaining wall and garage,” Blakley said. “A bottle rocket landed between the two and no one saw it. It burnt through the siding and in the wall and went into the garage. It spread up the wall across the ceiling into the garage and then into the insulation in the ceiling.”

The fire, contained to the garage, was under control in about 10 minutes. Overall cleanup was another 45 minutes.

Damage was listed at approximately $5,000.

“They had a car parked in the garage that had heat damage. The rest of the house had minor smoke damage,” Blakley said.

The adult male house owner sustained minor burns to his hand while trying to extinguish the fire before firefighters got to the scene. He was treated at the scene by DuSAN Ambulance.

With new fireworks laws in effect this Fourth of July, Blakley urged residents to still be cautious. He said he has noticed more fireworks being set off in the city this year since bigger fireworks have been made legal in Pennsylvania.

“If you are lighting off fireworks, people need to pay attention to their surroundings and make sure their fireworks are accounted for when they are spent. It could land anywhere,” Blakley said. “Any type of fireworks can burn your house down.”

The fireworks law changed in October and there are several rules consumers need to follow, according to the Pennsylvania State Police website.

According to House Bill 542, one must be at least 18 years old to purchase, possess and use consumer fireworks. The law also states a person may not intentionally ignite or discharge:

  • Consumer fireworks on public or private property without the express permission of the owner;
  • Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices within, or throw consumer fireworks or sparkling devices from, a motor vehicle or building;
  • Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices into or at a motor vehicle, building or another person;
  • Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or another drug;
  • Consumer fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

Under the new law, the Fireworks Act of 1939 was repealed and replaced in its entirety. The law states that Pennsylvania residents can now purchase and use “Class C” fireworks, commonly known as consumer-grade fireworks.

They can include firecrackers, bottle rockets and other fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive materials, according to the law. Those items previously were available only for out-of-state residents to purchase.

Consumers are not allowed to purchase “professional grade” fireworks that contain more than 130 grains of explosive material, according to the law. Professionals must have proper permits through the state and local governing bodies.

High-explosive fireworks, including M-80s, M-1000s, quarter and half sticks are still illegal and cannot be used or possessed, the law noted.

Fireworks can be purchased at any licensed facility, including temporary ones. The licenses are issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Examples of temporary facilities include tents or other structures found in parking lots. These temporary structures can sell fireworks between the dates of June 15-July 8, and December 21-Jan. 2 each year, according to the law.

Luthersburg man accused of soliciting for sex

DuBOIS — A 63-year-old Luthersburg man is accused of offering to pay women for sex in the City of DuBois, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed before District Judge Patrick Ford’s office.

Mitchell E. Mancuso, 2255 Golden Yoke Road, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts each of patronizing prostitutes and promoting prostitution/loitering for the purpose of prostitution and two summary counts each of harassment and disorderly conduct. The charges are the result of an incident which occurred at 8:40 p.m. June 10.

In the affidavit of probable cause, the DuBois City Police said they responded to a call in downtown DuBois, where a woman reported that she was walking near Giant Eagle when a man in a dark-colored truck approached her and “asked her if she wanted to make an easy $200.” When she said no, the man stated a larger amount of money. The woman again said no and asked what for, the affidavit said.

“The male replied for you to come stay the night with me,” the affidavit said.

The woman said no she didn’t want to do that. The man then tried to exit his vehicle causing the woman to run to a nearby gas station to get away from him.

The police said they were able to obtain a video, which showed the incident the woman described and her running to the gas station after speaking to a person inside a dark-colored Toyota Tacoma.

While inside the grocery store, two women told the police there was a man in the same type of truck who asked them both similar questions. They said they saw him drive away, heading toward Palumbo’s Meats.

Several minutes later, the truck turned onto North Brady Street from West Long Avenue and failed to use his turn signal. The truck was stopped by police. When asked where he was going, the man said, “Home.” Asked where he was coming from, the man said, “Home.” The police said they asked him why he was making so many passes through the Giant Eagle parking lot, and he said he was “just driving around and was bored.”

The police told Mancuso that they saw him on video and that it was imperative he be honest with them. According to the affidavit, Mancuso said he was lonely and was trying to find a woman to go home with him because his girlfriend left him and went back to Ohio. Mancuso was asked to go to the police station to discuss multiple incidents in which he was involved earlier in the evening and he agreed.

While Mancuso was being interviewed at the station, the police spoke with two of the victims who had reported the incidents and they both agreed to provide written statements on the events that happened, stating the dollar amounts as well as giving a detailed description of what the man was driving.

The affidavit said Mancuso admitted to speaking with several women, offering money for them to have sex with him. He also provided a written statement as to what happened.