Cades Cove Cellars hopes to open mid-to late October
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
Cades Cove Cellars is on track to open in mid-to late October in Townsend; although, rain delayed the project which caused the harvesting season to be missed.
Construction is presently under way on the approximately 7,850-square-foot, free-standing structure beside the Apple Valley Country Store complex at 7138 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, which is within the Townsend city limits. Cades Cove Cellars is a family dream.
Stockholders in the business are Bill and Sheila Birkholz and their sons:
Matt and wife, Cameran; and Joe, and Jerry Reed. Cameran, the former wine maker at a winery in Loudon County, is the daughter of Reed.
To support the dream, family stockholders in Tennessee Valley Winery, located off Interstate 75 south of Knoxville, sold the winery in May to one of the original partners, John Smook.
Those stockholders were Matt, Cameran and Joe Birkholz and Reed.
“This was such as good opportunity that we waned to focus on Townsend,” Bill Birkholz said. “I can’t believe how well received we’ve been by the people in Townsend.”
Concrete for the foundation was poured Friday and contractors should have “stand-up steel in 10 days.”
The facility will contain “both retail and manufacturing space, two tasting bars and a fireplace. We hope to make it cozy,” he said.
“We missed doing any harvesting up here because the rain got us so far behind,” he added.
The grape and muscadine harvest season normally runs from the middle of August to the third week in September; although, it can run into October, depending on the season.
The operators will have to contract with other vineyards around the state to buy grape and muscadine juice. “Once we’ve exhausted all that, we’ll have to go out of state. We like to use all Tennessee fruit,” Birkholz said.
“The first year we will get juices and wines from other places and give our own touch to them and bottle and sell them,” he added.
Some of the growers have cooperatives that store and sell juices.
After that first year, the pressing of the fruit will be done on site.
Birkholz thinks growing grapes and muscadines can fill a void left by dwindling tobacco crops cross the area.
“I’d love to see people who used to grow tobacco move into grapes and muscadines because you can grow them on the same rocky hillsides and river bottoms where tobacco was grown. Wherever tobacco grows, you can grow grass,” Birkholz said.
Cades Cove Cellars will also contribute to the Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), where orphan and injured black bears are brought for rehabilitation and then release back into the wild. The facility is located in Townsend.
“Some of the by-products of pressing will be going to the ABR. They can freeze them and then feed the bear cubs whenever they need to. We will be bagging up a lot of gallon bags (with the skins and seeds),” Birkholz added.