Plan Commission Green- Lights Downtown Micro-Winery
City Plan Commissioners Dave Cooper (left) and Jerry Moore look over plans for a new micro-winery in Downtown Stevens Point. (City-Times photo)
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Plan Commission on Monday unanimously approved a new micro-winery to open its doors in the downtown Point Bakery building.
Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski said the new business would be subject to a 2- year conditional use permit and operate with a Class B Wine License. The production area is 10,000 square feet, but Ostrowski said the city would place no restriction on the volume of wine the new company could produce.
“A lot of communities now are looking at allowing small- scale alcohol production facilities; micro-breweries, micro-pubs, micro-wineries, that sort of thing, within their entertainment districts as opposed to a manufacturing district,” Ostrowski said, adding the business owners, Don and Kelly Guay, would be required to get approval from the Historic Preservation/Design Review Committee before making any changes to the exterior of the building.
“There’s actually not much we need to do, the building is already pretty much set up like we need it, so we won’t really need to do any kind of construction,” said Don Guay Monday night. “The only thing we really need to change is, one of the doors is too small- we need to make it a double door so we can get our equipment in and out.”
Guay said the couple has an accepted offer on the property but the offer is contingent on final approval of their business and various licenses they need to obtain.
“There’s a lot of permits and whatnot we need to apply for- the next step is the federal license we need, and a state license, and we also need a food processing license,” he said. “But knowing where we’re going to be, where the business will be located- that was a big step. That was the first step, to identify where we’re going to do it.”
Guay said they plan to offer 8-12 different wines from their winery. They’ve been producing small amounts of wine as a hobby from their Stevens Point home and he says their favorite is pinot noir.
“But you name it, we’ve tried it,” he said. “We do a lot of fruit wine; we love cranberry. Cran-raspberry is one we’ll probably roll out because that’s one our favorites. After that, sweet, spicy mixes and probably some citrus.”
Guay said the couple’s goal is to open thew winery’s doors next May.
“We’re absolutely trying to create a ‘destination’ location; the average winery gets about 6600 visitors per year,” he said. “Ultimately, to be successful, we need foot traffic. The downtown area is beautiful, all the renovations are attractive, and we think the Point Bakery building has got great appeal, so it’s a great fit.”
Provided the Guay’s obtain all the appropriate licenses, Sunset Point Winery would become the latest in small-scale breweries which have opened their doors over the past several years, including Plover’s Great Northern Distilling and O’so Brewery & Taphouse, as well as Central Waters in Amherst.
The full Common Council is expected to give final city approval later this month.