At the beginning of summer, a winery might join businesses in downtown Stevens Point .
The City Plan Commission approved an operation-permit request for Sunset Point Winery, a micro-winery owned and operated by Don and Kelly Guay of Hull. If Common Council passes a zoning-code amendment in June, the winery will be operational at 1201 Water St.
The Guays are graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Both have degrees in paper science and currently work for New Page. Kelly has made wine at their home for many years and sometimes for large events. Her wine received good reviews, and the couple saw the opportunity to start a business in Stevens Point.
Kelly said, “The wine industry is a growing market, especially in the Midwest.”
Kelly said studies show an average winery in the Midwest can expect to draw around 6,000 people from outside the area per year, a figure that could have a large impact on the downtown area.
“The community at large has been very supportive,” Kelly said.
The winery will use locally-sourced ingredients for some products. The Guays plan to partner with Great Northern Distilling, who Kelly said is in need of raw wine for brandy.
“It’s a cool business aspect in addition to what we’ll be selling in the winery,” Kelly said.
The winery is also considering a non-glass option that could allow people to enjoy wine from Sunset Point during downtown events like concerts without fear of broken glass.
Work is in progress at the winery’s location and nears completion. The Guays tailored the space to their needs and made major changes. Kelly said they removed ceilings and restored the original floor.
“The second floor was already gorgeous,” Kelly said. “We’re adding an elevator so we can get people with disabilities to our upstairs tasting room.”
Kelly said patrons can expect eight to 10 wines during opening, with the menu expanding to about 20 wines later on. Signature wines include pomegranate zinfandel and homemade cran-raspberry.
“In the long run, there will be server positions,” Kelly said. “We’re hoping to add one or two people to our staff every year.”
The Guays are interested in providing internship opportunities for UWSP students in chemistry and business fields.
Pending council approval, a soft opening is expected during June or July with a grand opening planned for Labor Day weekend.