My company takes groups to Erie, PA on day trips. We end the day at Arrowhead Wine Cellars for tasting and shopping. While I have arranged trips to Arrowhead, I hadn’t visited until Memorial Day weekend. My husband and I were on our way to Buffalo and had time to stop by. The winery and Mobilia Fruit Market are located ½ mile West of Exit 45 off I-90 in North East, PA. The physical address is 12073 East Main Road, North East, PA 16428.
We were greeted by Dominic who was stationed in the tasting area. The extensive retail shop is nicely decorated with a fireplace that is certain to warm patrons during the cold Erie winters. Arrowhead Wine Cellars has one of the largest winery gift shops with unique gift items for wine lovers or anyone. Among the gift items chosen by Kathy from New York gift shows are clothing for women, men, infants and children; food; kitchen items; wine accessories; and wine glasses. The open and unobstructed space is conducive to large groups for tasting and shopping. I was especially intrigued with the jewelry line. I wanted to meet Kathy Mobilia who I knew from our email and phone conversations. She graciously spent the next two hours guiding us through the bottling, fermentation, cold storage and fruit market areas.
Kathy, who oversees the daily operations, explained that she and her husband Nick have been producing internationally recognized award- winning wines since 1998. Mostly all of their European, native and hybrid grapes are grown on their 250-acre farm in North East. Next to the retail store is the Mobilia Fruit Market. Customers can ‘pick your own’ or purchase already picked fresh seasonal fruit – cherries, peaches, and apples. The farm market also sells frozen fruit, fresh grape juice, home winemaking supplies and assorted jams and jellies.
The Mobilias give back in many ways. A small garden is dedicated to growing fruits and vegetables donated to the 10-county Second Harvest Food Bank of northwest Pennsylvania. They also donate to the local North East Food Pantry. Nick sits on the Erie County Farm Bureau, the North East School Board and the North East Community Foundation. Arrowhead is one of the stops on motorcycle poker runs such as the 16th annual Bikes for Vets. They also participate in road and bicycle rallies.
Customer service is an important part of the Arrowhead Wine Cellars mission. Earlier this year, a mystery shopper was hired by the local wine trail organization. The consultant visited each of 24 wineries to evaluate the trail in general, observe what the wineries had to offer and evaluate each winery’s customer service. Chris, from Arrowhead Wine Cellars, won the Customer Service Award from among all of the wineries and was referred to as the model for customer service. We met her, too, and I can see why she won the award. She is caring, knowledgeable and takes a genuine interest in each customer.
Dominic is also knowledgeable and suggested samples based on my preferences. We also met Nick Mobilia, 3rd generation owner of Mobilia Fruit Farms, who took time with us to answer questions about the winemaking process even though he had a busy work schedule. This family is passionate about and lives their business. It shows.
Arrowhead Wine Cellars is fully handicapped accessible, offers plenty of free parking and welcomes buses. There is excellent level bus parking. A staff member greets the bus and directs the passengers into the shop. Although advanced group tour reservations are recommended, the Mobilia’s can accommodate two buses with no reservation and can even accommodate three coaches on a very busy day. They recommend calling from the road. In these cases, the groups alternate between touring, tasting and shopping. Each bus driver and tour guide receive a free bottle of wine. That’s what I call hitting the customer service bullseye.
Arrowhead Wine Cellar products are available locally at Soergel Orchards/Wexford, PA ,
Trax Farms/Finleyville, PA and Godfrey Run Farms/Lake City, PA. in addition to restaurants in North East and Erie. Visit them at www.arrowheadwine.com or call (814) 725-5509.