Walter “Walt” and Katie Novosel, born and raised in Mercer County, now living in Lawrence County, are co-owners of Nova Destinations. The idea of Nova Destinations was born when Walt traveled to Presque Isle, PA with his Uncle Dave to pick up grapes. Uncle Dave made homemade wine for years and wanted to share his passion with his nephew Walt. Around the same time, Katie had to complete an orthopedic medical school rotation in Riverside California, near LA, and Walt had the opportunity to visit for the weekend. They visited the wine region of Temecula, California and instantly fell in love with the atmosphere. In the Napa region, Temecula wineries offer couples and families the opportunity to sit, relax with a glass of wine, breathe in the beautiful atmosphere, all while allowing your kids to run and enjoy. It was then that Walter knew he wanted to bring this kind of experience and atmosphere back to families in the local community.
Once home, Walt began experimenting and creating his very own wines, which ran right in line with his Italian roots. Quickly, “a small experiment” as he told his wife, turned into 30 carboys, a large old wine press of his grandfather’s, the glorious smell of fermentation, and a finished basement full of fruit flies. Once Katie returned from her medical school rotation, she quickly booted Walt out of the finished basement into the couples unfinished exterior garage. Due to the popularity of wine and as word-of-mouth news of this endeavor spread, a monthly party quickly became a weekly party, and then a daily request - all run out of our garage. With rapid success, the Novosel’s enlisted the help and support of their parents Debbie and Jerry Novosel, Pie and Linda Porter, as well as sister Amanda Novosel, and many friends.
In fact, it became so successful that in October of 2012 Walter decided to obtain his wine license and Nova Cellars Winery was born. Seeing the success and enjoyment of Nova, Walt and Katie had the desire to open another winery to extend the “Crafted Experience” further into the local community. Nova Cellars was Walt’s endeavor, therefore Katie wanted something tailored to her interests. Being a doctor, they decided to open a medical-themed winery with the primary premise of giving back to the community and helping others. After hours spent on a name, finally, Debbie, Walt’s mom, came up with the name “Fractured Grape Winery” and a second winery was born.
In 2014, just 11 months later, another opportunity arose for the Novosel’s to move their business to Volant, PA. With the success and popularity of the wineries and charity donations, they felt led to open a third location. Walter, being an engineer by trade, felt compelled to further extend his creativity and decided to try something new: cider… hard cider. Knockin Noggin was born: initially starting in the front of Volant Mill but very quickly outgrew this location and is now next-door in the historic Meeting House.
The explosion of local support with the cider business has allowed Walt to distribute those hard ciders throughout Western Pennsylvania. In 2016, while looking for property for their future” Nova” home, we came across the beautiful piece of property in Pulaski, Pennsylvania on State Route 208. It was the old swimming hole, Spring Water Acres. It was the perfect time and location to move Nova Cellars Winery once again. Walt decided to expand his interest and creativity, deciding to endeavor into beer.
Walter grew up as an athlete, playing baseball his entire life, Including high school, college, and professional ball. As well as, he grew up in his Uncle Bill’s bar, Billy’s Black and Gold in Sharon, PA. He knew he wanted a sports-themed location, featuring 1900’s black and white sports, and just like that, Brew 32 Craft Brewery became a new location.
The goal at each location is to continue to implement a family-centered atmosphere including family friendly entertainment to provide “A Crafted Experience”, all while giving back to those in need. After years of planning, in 2018 they were able to start their nonprofit, Operation Grape: Drink For A Cure; which Walt believes is his true calling. During this time, the opportunity arose to move Fractured Grape to larger location just up the road in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Walt jumped on this opportunity, realizing the expansion would fuel Operation Grape. After Fractured Grape moved, Walt was able to implement his knowledge of beer and brewing to start Hop Asylum Brewing in the same location. Just as Fractured Grape gives back to medical organizations, Hop Asylum is giving back to behavioral health organizations.
Through all of these endeavors, Walt has had two main areas of focus: 1) Remaining family focused and 2) Giving back to the community. The family's passion for creating experiences and giving back to the community is evident in all of their locations.
So sit back, grab a glass, and enjoy your “Crafted Experience”.
-Walt and Katie Novosel