Wednesday, June 10, 2015

8 Wineries in Eccentric Buildings

Winery folks are always looking for something to make their business stand out - a special feature that makes them a little different from everyone else. These eight wineries have found the perfect thing - unusual buildings to call home that will garner comments, and customers.

Back to the Barn
Cellardoor Winery
Hobo Speak
While barns are pretty standard structures to use as tasting rooms and wineries, the barn at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine has an advantage, it's 220+ years old, and it has a cool story. Legend has it that at the turn of the 20th century, a hobo, traveling across the country, left this decorative H-symbol carved on the barn door. The reason? Hobos left signs for each other to indicate what kind of welcome they would get at certain houses and farms. This H indicated that this was a safe stop that offered shelter, possibly food, and hospitality to those on the road. Today, Cellardoor maintains that tradition by offering visitors a warm welcome and almost three-dozen libations to enjoy.

Spelunking for Wine
Looking Out The Cave
Cave Vineyard and Winery in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri has a pretty cool set-up, literally. The tasting room is located above a natural cave, which was mined for saltpeter by the early French settlers to make gunpowder. Today, you can purchase a bottle of wine (10 varieties are available) and enjoy it with homemade biscotti at picnic tables set up inside the cave.

Just Milling Around
Old Mill Winery
In the 1860s, grain was brought to this grist mill and ground into flour for the folks of Geneva, Ohio. Today, the mill is home to the Old Mill Winery and Restaurant where semi-sweet and sweet wines are carefully crafted, and steak and ribs top the menu. The wines give a nod toward the building’s past with names like Grindstone Red, Grindstone White and Grindstone Blush.

All Aboard
San Sebastian Winery
Standard Oil founder, Henry Morrison Flagler fell in love with St. Augustine, Florida and decided to move there in the late 19th century. But Flagler soon realized that the state needed a railroad system, so he purchased short line railroads all the way to Key West. By 1912, the route had become known as the Florida East Coast Railway. Today, San Sebastian Winery is located in the original St Augustine railway station, offering you a ticket to try nine wines that have won over 500 awards in the past 20 years.

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Original Rapid City Firehouse
Firehouse Wine Cellars was only a spark in the minds of the owners of the Firehouse Brewing Company just a few years ago. But it wasn’t long before the Rapid City, South Dakota brewery decided to expand their business to include the winery concept. The building was the original location of the Rapid City Fire House, and the combination of a winery /brewery has become a smokin’ hot idea with locals and visitors in the downtown area. Take a tour, try the wines, and check out the cool fire-centric wine labels.

Lock’em Up
Entrance to The Drunk Tank Winery
Hoosier ingenuity knows no bounds: when the Park County Jail came up for sale five years ago, two local Rockville residents bought it and turned it into the Old Jail Inn. One year later they added The Old Drunk Tank Winery in the basement. This is a testament to how times have changed when you now pay to sleep in one of the cell rooms, and can imbibe in a glass of wine where once locals were forced to sleep it off …

It’s Insane
Outside Left Foot Charley
Former Traverse City Insane Asylum
The Traverse City State Hospital in Traverses City, Michigan served as an insane asylum for over 100 years, but in 1989 the hospital was closed; that’s when developers began to get ideas. Today the complex is known as The Village At Grand Traverse Commons, housing retail shops, restaurants and a winery. Left Foot Charley is the area’s first urban winery offering eight wines crafted from grapes purchased from the best grape growers in the region, and three hard apple ciders made from Michigan apples. Grab a bottle to enjoy inside or out – it would be crazy not to.

Give Me An Amen
Inside the "Church Winery"
South River Vineyard
Wineries always sing the praises of their local and regional grapes, but one Buckeye winery has taken it to the limit by crafting their wines in a former church. What was once an abandoned Methodist Episcopal Church located in rural Harpersfield Township, Ohio is now the South River Vineyard, better known to locals as “The Church Winery.” Boasting over a dozen wines, acres of vineyards, two outdoor pavilions, a huge fireplace and a wine cave, this is one winery that follows through on that reverent, peaceful vibe.


~ Joy