The Story of Deer Creek Wine
Faith. Family. Follow your dream and fear not!
-Denis Brooks, founder
The Creek Starts with the Brooks
Opening Deer Creek Winery was a risk. We were in the middle of the Great Recession when the Brooks family started out specializing in fruit wine rather than more recognizable wine varieties.
The Brooks family had owned its land for five generations and knew that the farm already produced the finest raspberries available and that something amazing could grow here.
Camping on the Land: The Brooks family spent numerous summers camping and enjoying the land before starting the winery. Eventually building a rustic cabin in the location of the current Manor.
Raspberries: It all started with 2 acres of red raspberries. This included 10 different varieties. It was important to understand what grew the best in our climate and produced the type of berries we preferred. These ended up being the inspiration for our very first wine.
Denny started experimenting in the basement using 5 gallon carboys. The result of countless hours and trials was Deer Creek Raspberry. We’ve been making it ever since.
Opening Deer Creek Winery: A risk. We were in the middle of the Great Recession, and we started out specializing in fruit wine rather than more recognizable wine varieties. But our family had owned this land for five generations—we knew that our farm already produced the finest raspberries available, and we knew that we could grow something amazing here.
Denny and Rhonda designed and built the original winery building on the property with the best road access and visibility. This original building consisted of the current kitchen and tasting room. All the wine was made and sold under one roof.
We opened our winery in September of 2009. We bottled raspberry wines and sold them to local wine lovers, restaurants, and stores. Soon we had expanded our operation to include other types of wine, and our products could be found in restaurants and stores throughout Western Pennsylvania. The first Deer Creek Winery retail outlet opened in 2010, and in 2013 we created our Olive Grove label to sell flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
Building the warehouse: After 2 years, and faith filled growth, the back room could no longer contain the production needs of the company. A production warehouse was built to house the tanks, bottling line, and wine storage.
We started participating in farmer’s Markets and festivals like Wine Walks, Autumn Leaf Festival, Apple Fest, etc.
Expanding the cabin to a House: Denny and Rhonda decided to convert the rustic cabin into a 5 bedroom house that could accommodate the entire family for Christmas and summer vacations.
Expanding the Warehouse: Once again, our amazing customers exceeded our ability to produce wine. To meet demand, we expanded the production warehouse to its current size,including several offices.
Building Vino’s Den: We started hosting live music, art exhibits, and small events. We quickly realized that our tasting room was too small. To provide what our customers wanted, we extended the winery from the North side of the tasting room. The result was Vino’s Den.
Outdoor Seating: We did a large revitalization of the outdoor seating area between the winery and the road to give customers a beautiful and relaxing area to enjoy their wine and food.
Robinson: We expanded our operation to include a location at The Mall at Robinson.
Building the Inn: We decided to expand the business by building an attached 8-bedroom bed and breakfast at our main Shippenville location. This included the beautiful Gathering Place for hosting parties, events, and live entertainment when the weather was cold.
Hermitage: We expanded our operation to include a location at the Kohl’s Plaza in Hermitage, PA.
McCandless: We expanded our operation to include a location at McCandless Crossing.
South Hills Village: We expanded our operation to include a location at South Hills Village
Building the Manor: After the overwhelming success of the 8 bedroom Inn, we decided to convert our family home into 5 additional bedrooms for the bed and breakfast. This brought us up to 13 rooms.
Buying Watson Estate: The continued success of our main Shippenville location encouraged us to purchase a second bed and breakfast. This is when the Watson Estate property joined the Deer Creek family. The property lies south of Pittsburgh, PA in the outskirts of Uniontown, PA in Fayette county.
This estate traces it’s history back to a 325 acre land grant to John Watson after his service to the French & Indian War … After minor changes we were able to open a winery outlet on-site so that we could offer similar amenities and activities that we do in Shippenville.
Year of Awards:
- Our Shippenville Red was named the Official wine of the Autumn Leaf Festival.
- Best in Fayette (Winery and B&B).
- Best in North Allegheny (TribLive) Uniontown Business Choice Award 2023.