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Tuscan Hills Winery: Toast of the Town

EFFINGHAM -- It's known for being the "crossroad of opportunity."
EFFINGHAM -- It's known for being the "crossroad of opportunity." A perfect example of that is a mother and daughter who have teamed up to build a one-of-a-kind business. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield gives us a taste of the town's first and only winery.
    For many reasons...
    "We enjoy the atmosphere."
    and any occasion,
    "We are celebrating an employee's last day at work."
    People flock to Tuscan Hills Winery. Kelly Marble says there's nothing like it anywhere in town.
    "You have the outdoors, you have the indoors. You have your choice of where you want to go. It accommodates small and large groups, so it makes it easy."
    Amanda Pitcher and her mother opened the winery last year. The business school graduate says they came up with the idea to open it exactly how you would imagine.
    "We were just talking over a bottle of wine one night; ironically what would go over really well in Effingham? And, we said, 'Why not a winery.'"
    They found business partners, and the rest was history.
    "Our motto is 'come as our guest, leave as our friend.' I guess that's kind of the bottom line of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish."
    In a short time, Pitcher says they've made a lot of those friends, despite a tough economy.
    "Luckily what's happening is they're calling them 'stay-cations.' People don't drive to Florida or Mexico."
    But this spring, they had a scare. Strange weather nearly ruined their crop. Two-year-old grapes that would have been ready were zapped by an early frost.
    "We were afraid that almost all of them died, but they are coming back. I know we lost at least 50 out of 380."
    A blow Pitcher says won't make or break business. Good news for customers like Kelly Marble who've already picked this place to create important memories.
    "We are getting married in September and we chose this place for the reception."
    "I think that when customers walk in the door, they feel welcome. Like they're coming home. And that's what we want."
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