Nation Valley News
WINCHESTER — Forget the half-empty or half-full debate, the proverbial wine glass always overflows with optimism and positive vibes when speaking with The Town Vintner’s Shawn Brownlee.
Production has already effectively doubled at The Town Vintner since the do-it-yourself winemaking operation moved into new 3,000-square-foot digs at the Terry’s Washmart building on St. Lawrence Street, says the ebullient co-owner, who runs the place with wife Irene.
At the shop’s Nov. 18 official ribbon-cutting, Brownlee counted 100 carboys — large glass vessels — of fermenting wine on racks of shelving, up from the maximum of 55 he could shoehorn into The Town Vintner’s previous Main Street store.
Working long hours to get the place ready in time for the previous weekend’s annual ‘Winchester Shop Crawl,’ the local entrepreneur described that event as a “crazy, crazy success.”
“Shop Crawl really brutalized me in a really good way,” he joked.
The proprietors still plan on making some finishing touches to the new shop. That includes a planned unique sign made from the sawed-off ends of a giant wine casket. Set to be inscribed or sandblasted with the company name, the round pieces will be mounted to the outside of the building and should appear as if they are protruding through the shop wall.
In addition to the wide selection of do-it-yourself wine kits that are its main stock in trade, the expansive shop carries some gift items from Winchester’s local florist, The Planted Arrow Flowers and Gifts. Brownlee also hopes to bring in a line of home furnishing made from the staves of old wine barrels.
And when the store isn’t open during regular business hours, the proprietors are usually still inside, toiling more long hours to look after batches of customer wine. But it’s obvious Shawn Brownlee wouldn’t have it any other way. See his enthusiastic ribbon cutting and recounting of The Town Vintner’s history in the video below.