WEST PITTSTON — Winemaker Sal Maiolatesi knew he wanted to open another retail space.
He was driving along Wyoming Avenue one evening last year after having closed a location in Honesdale, Wayne County. That’s when he noticed a space at Insalaco’s Shopping Center.
The vintner’s vision for that space became reality on Wednesday, with the opening of a tasting room and retail store in the plaza, next to Antonio’s Pizza.
“We have a very good customer base down here and we’ve been getting a lot of requests from people to open here,” Maiolatesi said. “It was done based on customer input.”
Maiolatesi’s wine operations are based in Scott Township, Lackawanna County, with another retail store in nearby Mayfield.
But with Italian wines among his offerings, Maiolatesi has had his eye on greater Pittston for some time.
“There’s a good population of Italians here,” he said. “I think they would appreciate some of the wines we have.”
Three years ago, former Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo visited Maiolatesi Wine Cellars trying to get the business to open space on Main Street in Pittston. Maiolatesi was all for adding a retail location, however, parking on Main Street can be an issue.
At the new location, however, Maiolatesi sees foot traffic in the center extremely important and often heavy.
The new store will feature most of Maiolatesi’s 37 varieties of wines, together with wine-related gifts and baskets. The store also provides wine tastings, with seating throughout.
One of the other main reasons Maiolatesi loves his location is that a state liquor store is also in the center.
“People want to taste the wine first, sometimes,” he said. “Now they can do that.”
Wine and gifts won’t be the only items for sale at the new West Pittston store. According to Maiolatesi, chocolates also will be offered.
That’s because Maiolatesi also is part owner of Chocolate Creations in Peckville.
In 1999, Maiolatesi opened a winery in his house. In 2002, he moved a location in Childs, just outside Carbondale, and stayed there for five years until tragedy struck.
He lost just about everything in a massive fire, but he didn’t lose his wine-making system.
Undaunted, Maiolatesi set to work looking for a new space.
In March 2009, he opened his current, 10,000-square-foot facility on 36 acres in Scott Township. The building includes 2,000 square feet of retail space.
Maiolatesi is well-known in the wine community for making dry red wines. However, the business sells more sweet wines. One of the most popular is a dry, red wine: Coal Miner’s Red.
His winery and retail locations are open seven days a week.
In West Pittston, the new store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday; and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.