You can’t miss the big smiles staff are sporting behind their masks when you walk through the massive glass doors into the new retail space at Big Head Wines.
They are palpably happy and clearly excited to be there.
“I feel relieved, it’s been a long process, doing construction during a pandemic. This has been our aim for three years, so it’s nice to finally be here,” said Jakub Lipinski, head of operations.
The new space is on Line 6, near Four Mile Creek Road. The winery had leased a site on Hunter Road since 2014.
This ”gives us control over our environment. We had six or seven years at the Hunter farm, which was originally a sour cherry and peach farm. We learned what we wanted in our new space and this was built as a winery,” Lipinski explained.
There are three tasting bars for customers, tucked into the production space.
Twenty concrete vats used for fermenting and storing wine dominate the room. They came from Italy and needed a special crew, with a special forklift, to get them into the building. The largest holds 6,000 litres of wine.
Early reviews from visitors since the location opened on Feb. 11 are positive.
“Everyone is loving it,” said Lipinski. “They like how we still kept the raw feel to the space. We focus on quality of product, service and our people.”
The site has 23 acres of vineyards, which will provide enough grapes for about half of Big Head’s production. The operation has another vineyard in Vineland and also purchases grapes from local growers.
Like other Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries, tastings at Big Head since COVID are by reservation and will likely stay that way. According to Lipinski, it lets staff spend more time interacting with customers and provides an enhanced experience.
And this is not the end of the story. There are plans to double the space, to add more room for barrel storage, and add pizza and gourmet coffee in the future.