Georgia Winery is more than doubling its capacity as Tennessee grocery stores, which were allowed to sell wine on July 1, are stocking its sweet muscadine and fruit wines.
The winery is installing 10 new 3,000-gallon stainless steel tanks and four new 6,500-gallon stainless steel tanks, which will add 56,000 gallons to the 53,500 gallons of fermenting tank capacity already in use at its wine-making facility and tasting room near Ringgold, Ga., on Battlefield Parkway just off Interstate 75.
"As we've grown over the years, there's more and more demand for our product," said Jesse Taymore, chief operating officer of the family-owned business that was Georgia's first winery when it opened in 1982.
Before 2011, you had to visit the Georgia Winery's Ringgold tasting room to buy its wines.
But in October of that year, Athens Distributing Company started to supply Georgia Winery's product to Tennessee liquor stores. And then, around 2014, Empire Distributors Inc. started to supply the wines to stores in Georgia.
Now, wine in grocery stores has opened up the entire state of Tennessee, said Georgia Winery's Chief Executive Officer Tara Taymore.
"We'd like to flood the whole state," she said. "We've got a 10-year vision and a 10-year plan."
The Food City supermarket chain carries Georgia Winery in Tennessee, and the Taymores, a married couple expecting a second son, hope to have their wines picked up by other large retailers, including Wal-Mart.
To increase its output, the Georgia Winery will buy more muscadine and fruit from growers in Georgia, as well as merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from California and Washington State. The winery also grows its own organic muscadine grapes on 15 acres near the foot of Lookout Mountain.
For the first time, the winery will start making wine from the Norton grape, a hybrid that grows well in the southeast that makes a dry, red wine.
The Georiga Winery's 10-year plan also included remodeling the Ringgold tasting room to make it more of a destination for wine-tasting, since it's no longer the only place to buy the winery's product.
The remodel created bar space for 60 people, instead of 15, and the purple-and-yellow color scheme gave way to a trendy interior with rough-cut lumber, rustic metal ceiling tiles and vintage-looking, exposed-filament light bulbs.
Other changes include more food and wine pairings, redesigned wine labels and Tara Taymore finally convincing her mother, Patty Prouty, to open the tasting room on Sundays. She said that was a big step for a winery born in the Bible Belt.
"That conversation took about six years," Tara Taymore said.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/Meets ForBusiness or on twitter@meet forbusiness or 423-757-6651.