Update: Engine 8 Winery Expects to Open Ahead of Valentine’s Day

There’s nothing like a construction project to slow down a business plan. That’s the case in Victorian Square, where the City of Sparks cleared the way last summer for its first urban winery.

Mike and Wendi Rawson planned to open their Engine 8 Winery in October of 2017. While they worked toward their opening, the multiplex theater reopened next door. A nearby apartment complex took shape. Meanwhile, approval of the winery’s building plans were held up by glut of activity in the city planning office. Then construction slowed down over the holidays. Story continues below…

Exterior signage indicates progress at the Engine 8 Winery on January 1, 2019. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

“We’re finally moving along,” Wendi Rawson told GBN on New Year’s Day. “But everything is on hold with the other subcontractors until the floor gets finished.” The Rawsons are now optimistic about a late January opening.

Grape Basin News reported last summer on a change to the Sparks zoning code that enabled  the winery to locate in Victorian Square. Title 20 of the code previously restricted wineries to agricultural zones, where they were expected to be part of an operation that includes live vineyards and on-site wine production. At the same time, breweries and distilleries were allowed to operate in wide-ranging locations, including areas zoned for industrial, commercial, and mixed residential use.

City Planning Manager Jim Rundle made the case in June to write the term “urban winery” into the code, noting that craft brewers and distillers are “fundamentally similar to a winery using grapes or juice produced off-site.”

“The Planning Commission therefore determined that the Urban Winery’s use is appropriate in the Downtown Victorian Square, Mixed-Commercial, Mixed-Residential subdistricts,” according to a written copy of Rundle’s analysis.


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