If you’re going to open a winery in Glenwood, it seems appropriate to locate on Vine Street.
That’s exactly what Jim Gapinski, Ralph Ahsam, Doug Grave and Dennis Adams are doing. Next spring, the four entrepreneurs plan to open the Vine Street Cellars winery in the former Anderson Auto Parts building at 17 N. Vine St.
A complete renovation of the property on the east side of Glenwood’s Town Square is well under way. When completed, the business will house a full-fledged wine-making operation, tasting room, retail store and outdoor seating area.
“Our goal is to have it up and going in the summer,” Ahsam said.
As renovation work is being completed on the structure, wine-making has already begun in a machine shop building located behind the main structure. Grapes were harvested late last summer from two Glenwood-area vineyards - Gapinski and Ahsam’s Black Wing Vineyard and Grave’s Chateau Grave Vineyard.
Vine Street Cellars is a co-op between the two vineyards.
Gapinski and Ahsam initially acquired the Anderson building to house an office for their information technology and services business called Spiral Solutions. They soon determined that it would be too costly to turn the building into an office so they began tossing around the idea of opening a winery on the site instead. The Spiral Solutions office will now be housed in the former Pinnacle Construction building south of Glenwood at 22060 S. 221 St. Pinnacle is relocating into a building directly behind Spiral Solutions.
“It made sense to go in with retail downtown,” Gapinski said. “It’s just a nice square - it’s really Americana. We are very much into arts and crafts and you’ll see that in the winery. The look inside the winery will be upscale.”
The ultimate goal is for Black Wing Vineyard and Chateau Grave Vineyard to open wineries at their rural locations, giving Glenwood three wineries and making the community a destination for wine enthusiasts. The plan has the attention of the Western Iowa Grape Growers Association.
“They’re very interested in seeing how it goes and they’re all watching it,” Gapinski said.
In addition to selling its own label of wines, Ahsam said Vine Street Cellars will also market locally-produced food products, arts and crafts.