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Owera Vineyards improves with age

Cazenovia’s first winery awarded grant, plans for expansion

Owera Vineyards Director of Operations Ben Reilley holds two of the winery’s most popular products, a bottle of Cazenovia Blush and semi-dry Riesling, Jan. 20 at Owera’s location in Cazenovia.

Owera Vineyards Director of Operations Ben Reilley holds two of the winery’s most popular products, a bottle of Cazenovia Blush and semi-dry Riesling, Jan. 20 at Owera’s location in Cazenovia. Photo by Pierce Smith.

The steel structure will be constructed over the remainder of the winter season, as Reilley estimates construction will be completed by the end of May. Large glass windows are planned for inside the facility, allowing visitors to observe the day-to-day operations of the wine maker and production assistants.

In addition to the barn, a 6,000 square-foot community center/tasting facility is planned to be constructed on the East Lake Road property, 2,700 linear feet from the road. The facility will be fashioned out of mostly wood, and act as a venue for weddings and community occasions, as well as tasting events and educational tours. Reilley said construction on the events center/tasting facility should conclude by autumn 2012, opening the facility to the public by 2013.

While the community event center is being constructed, Owera will establish an interim tasting room within the production barn. Currently, four workers are employed at the winery, and Reilly said anywhere from six to 10 workers will be brought on the Owera workforce, some full-time, some seasonal.

Following a statewide application period, the CNYREDC received $103.7 million of economic development funds for 74 projects in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties. The amount of funding awarded was based on the endorsement of the local regional council and the analysis and evaluation of various state funding agencies.

“Owera Vineyards is a successful operation that is quickly outgrowing its facilities,” said Jim Fayle, Empire State Development Central New York Regional Director and CNYREDC Executive Director. “The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council selected Owera as one of its priority projects because it aligned with its strategy for the region’s growth as well as leveraged two of the council’s industry clusters — agriculture and tourism — to accelerate revenue and local job creation. It’s projects like this that will bring significant capital investment into our region and result in healthy, vibrant communities.”

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