First Street business — Ancient Cellar Wines re-opened in its new First Street location Thanksgiving weekend

by: GARY ALLEN - In view -- After opening a tasting room four blocks away in 2012, Ancient Wine Cellars has relocated to 718 E. First St. Chris Baker, winemaker, pours a glass for Tom Small during the room's opening Nov. 29.The move may only to a location four blocks away, but Brandi Nash, manager at Ancient Cellar Wines, said she hopes it will make the winery’s tasting room more visible.

“We felt invisible in (the former) space,” Nash said. “We’re hoping to do the things we wanted to do (in our old space) and be visible in community.”

The move from 1505 Portland Road to 718 E. First St. also quadrupled the tasting room’s space.

“We’re going from 225 square feet to 1,100,” she said.

With the original tasting room it’s a very cute and intimate spot, but at 225 square feet you can only fit so many people before it gets crowded.

She said the decision to move became apparent during a summer downtown winery event.

“I couldn’t use my own tasting room,” Nash said.

Ancient Cellars had to rent out the empty space next door to host the customers participating in the event.

“That hit the point home that we needed to find something else,” she said. “Luckily the space was available. The timing was right to move and grow a little bit.”

But, she said the first space certainly served its purpose.

“It’s like a starter home. I eventually felt it was time to move on,” she said.

Nash started remodeling the First Street space in September, the peak of harvest season.

“My fiancé, (winemaker) Chris Baker was basically invisible,” she said. “I was really by myself until November. I did as much as one person could do.”

Now, with Nash and Baker working on the space every night, the tasting room hosted its grand opening Nov. 29.

“(We were) 85 to 90 percent done (with remodeling) by the opening, but it’s just little things like décor,” Nash said. “You can’t be that close to being done on Thanksgiving and not open.”

In the future, she said they hope to host more tasting room events, and will eventually be home to a rotation of small boutique wines. But with the extra space, she said she decided to give one smaller winery a permanent home.

“Long-term our primary focus will always be Ancient but we will also be a permanent home for project with Fortuitous Wine Company. It’s an economy brand,” she said. “We have so much space so I said let’s give it a home.”

During the opening, the tasting room also hosted Macindoe Family Cellars and released its 2012 Gilt pinot gris.

Ancient Cellar Wines will be open noon to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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