Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Building

It's not until I look back at blog posts from two years ago when I was writing about how we were deliberating over an exact site for the winery building that I realize how long of a road it has been.   Those of you who have been reading about our journey for a while know what I am talking about.

Nothing in this planning and building of a winery has been easy and figuring out how to get a new building up has been no exception.  But, I am happy to announce that we now have a permit in hand and a new building underway! Fortunately, we were able to get some of the ground work (and I literally mean... ground work) done last fall before the ground froze for the winter.  And did it ever freeze!  We spent the winter finalizing the design, lay-out, and went back and forth between the county and architects to get everything compliant. Multiple revisions, a few headaches, four bathroom stalls and a handicap ramp later, and we now have a stamped and approved plan!

We may have toasted with a few drinks that night to celebrate that win!

Many have asked what this new building is all about--what will it be for, what will it look like, aside from the fact that it will have four bathroom stalls?  I thought I would address that here.

First of all, the new building will be built on the same site as our beloved old chicken coop (pictured below), but in a much larger footprint. This cute little building served as host for so many harvest parties before we even opened up the winery and holds many fond memories. 

 ...And some not so fond memories of having to clean out the chicken coop of all it's remnants when we first moved in!

The chicken coop was taken down last fall, preserved, and being rebuilt across town.

Goodbye old friend...

We chose that site because we felt it took advantage of all the property has to offer--views of the vineyard and the lake, set far enough away from the road and residence, yet close in proximity to parking and our other special amenities like our outdoor pavilion and Bocce Ball courts.

The new building will allow us to comfortably grow and expand our wine production, and a big tasting bar will accommodate tastings indoors so we can have a longer season and be open on some of those cold and rainy days!  The outdoor areas are some of our biggest assets and we will still use those to the fullest during the warmer months and even plan to have some additional outdoor tasting bars.

The new building will serve primarily as our new tasting room, retail space, wine processing area and will feature a wine cellar below built into the hillside to give it a cool cavelike feel--the reason we excavated so deep into the ground where the ground slopes down from the pavilion!  Adding that feature made the building project a whole lot more difficult, but we think it will be well worth it in the end!

The forms are just about in...
The entrance will be on this side (north) of the pavilion with open air doors in the summer so customers can walk in and out and enjoy both spaces. 

Keep in mind these pictures were taken last week...before all this snow starting melting.  Now it is a bit muddier!

I know...nothing too exciting to look at yet.  But it will be fun to look back and see these once the building starts going up, won't it?  We'll share more on the design of the building once we have a better visual to show.

See that big silver box on the right side of the picture?  That has a story too and will play a role at the pavilion tasting bar this summer.  Have I piqued your curiosity?

Leave it to Aaron to add another project to the list.  Why am I having flashbacks to the cart corral project from 4 years ago?  That's a good story too if you want to read it here.  His inventive nature sure keeps things interesting around here.

As with any construction, these things can take time, especially when dealing with a frozen ground and melting snow and all the other things mother nature can bring this time of year in Minnesota.  But the crew is making progress.

This will be the cellar entrance side (south).  Longer term plans will also have a deck on the main level overlooking the lake.  Can you visualize it?

Just look beyond the snow and mud....and complete lack of a building.  Can you see yourself here on a warm, sunny day taking in the views sipping on some wine?

So what will happen to the old white winery building, you ask?  Well, we have some pretty exciting plans for that building too as we expand our business this year.  But that announcement will have to wait for another day...soon!  Stay tuned!