Sparks’ First Winery Set To Open
Engine 8 Urban Winery is the brain-child of Mike & Wendi Rawson. Both decided to leave the corporate world behind and become a bigger part of the community. Being wine enthusiasts, the idea of a winery fit right in with what they wanted to accomplish. The winery is located in the heart of Victorian Square right next to the Galaxy Theater. The location has special significance; for almost 20 years, Wendi used to set up for the Star Spangled fireworks with her family right in front of where they are now. Also joining the winery is Vintner, Nic Olson who comes with more than 10 years of wine-making, distilling and brewing experience.
The space is very roomy with a large bar in the center of the room and plenty of space for tables. There is an adjacent room that can be closed for meetings and events. Wendi has plans to host private dinners/pairings, blending parties, business meetings and more. Art from Sierra Arts Foundation adorns the walls and will be changed on a rotating basis. There will also be an outdoor space for some great people watching.
The actual winery is in the back and can be seen from just about any spot in the room. Fourteen, 1000 liter, stainless steel fermenting tanks line the walls along with 4 wood barrels for aging. One of the reasons that the name “Urban Winery” fits so well is due to the manufacturing process. The grapes, which come from Lodi and Woodbridge, CA, are not crushed locally. Rather they arrive post-crush as juice. That juice is fermented, aged, bottled and served within this location.
Engine 8 is currently making 10 varietals. The reds include a merlot, cabernet, malbec, and pinot noir; for whites look for a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc. There will also be some fruit wines including a peach chardonnay, blackberry merlot and strawberry/raspberry white zinfandels. Engine 8 will also have three ports available in flavors such as Ruby Red (barrel-aged), chocolate cherry and chocolate raspberry. Locally produced wines will be available starting in a few weeks and going forward. Engine 8 will be serving wines by the glass, by the bottle, and in flights.
Additional offerings are in the works. Unfortunately, things got of to a slow start due to inconsistencies in the laws between city, county and state regulations. A lot of it has been worked out but there may need to be some changes in the law at a legislative level to iron things out. It’s not always easy being a pioneer.
A soft opening may come during the week of April 15th. A Grand opening planned for Saturday, April 27th. Check their social feeds for more details.
Click on photo to see a larger version.