One of the bigger stories of the year — William and Shannon Newby’s growing Newby Farm and Vineyard — is getting even bigger. And there’s potential for even more.
William Newby has applied for a beer and wine pouring permit to open wine tasting room at 411 Broad St. in the recent home of AR Workshop. They’ve already put together a successful vineyard on 58 acres at 602D Billy Pyle Road. Those vines produced 21.5 tons of grape this year and each ton yields up to 750 bottles of wine.
“I’ve got 8,000 gallons up on the farm,” Newby said Wednesday when asked about inventory for the tasting room. The downtown storefront will help them get that wine to consumers much faster than the scheduled construction at the farm — either new buildings, renovations or a combination. The plan is to have a tasting room there — outdoor or perhaps an indoor/outdoor hybrid. He’ll let business trends decide whether to continue with both locations.
For now, he needs to secure a few more permits and licenses that will let him open as a commercial interest as opposed to a hobby farmer. Among them is the permit from Rome’s Alcohol Control Commission and, in turn, the City Commission. The County Commission in August blessed the farm operation.
Newby doesn’t have an opening date as yet and says he’ll hold off on hiring until all licenses are secured. They continue to work on the interior of the tasting, including painting and setting up the bars.
What you can expect in coming weeks:
- Eight to 10 flights of wines.
- Reds, whites and roses.
- Charcuterie boards of meats, cheese and more
- Perhaps sandwiches although probably no stove.
- And some event space as well.
The Newbys are still putting operating hours together but look for something opening around lunchtime, say 11:30 a.m., and open to 7 or 8 p.m. on weekdays, 9 or 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and probably midday to 5 or 6 p.m. on Sundays. They’ll probably close Tuesday and Wednesday.
Other plans include “a big production facility” on the farm as well as a mobile unit that would let them serve at farmers markets and other pop-up events. As licensed by the state, wineries can have up to five tasting rooms each. The farm, downtown and the mobile unit would account for three of those.
The Newbys have done their homework in terms of analyzing what other members of Georgia’s wine growers are doing, including those near Dahlonega and in Young Harris. He also is following what others are doing closer to Rome, including east of Cartersville, Paulding County and in Rockmart. He welcomes any and all new players, especially in Rome. The synergy, he says, would help draw tour organizers who already are sending buses to Dahlonega’s wine country on a regular basis.
BACKGROUND: From Natalie Simms’ story on Hometown Headlines in August:
If all goes as planned, William Newby will be breaking ground on his wine-making facility on his West Rome area farm within the next six weeks. Officially called Newby Farm and Vineyard, it will be the first in Floyd County and one of only a handful in Northwest Georgia.
Newby received a Special Use Permit for the winery on his property at 602D Billy Pyle Road from the County Commission last month. The 58-acre farm has been under the Newby name for years with both his family and his parents residing on the property.
“Back in 1995 ,I had a landscaping company and went to college to study horticulture but then I changed my major to finance and started work as a financial advisor,” says Newby, who is now a partner in Newby-Stahl Advisory Group in Rome.
“I moved onto our family farm that always had horses and farm animals. I then started planting blueberries, blackberries and raspberries but those you have to pick frequently for days on end … we needed something different.
“My wife and I both like wine and often make trips to wineries all over. From there it just snowballed to planting grapes. The idea for the winery really outgrew from my hobby.”
Newby planted his first vines in 2015 but deer ate nearly 80 percent, so he did more research and started over the next year with 100 new vines and then increased that in 2017. He currently has five varieties of grapes planted including Lenoir (Black Spanish red grape), Chambourcin (red), America (one of only a few vineyards with this type), Blanc Du Bois (white disease free vine), and Dillard Blanc.
“I have hired a horticulturalist and a winemaker. Bill Cox is my winemaker and he has been making wines for years at a number of different wineries in North Georgia,” says Newby. “We have about four and half acres of vines spread out among 20 acres. We harvested about 19 tons last year and hope to have 21 to 23 tons.”
Each ton yields about 750 bottles of wine. Newby is hoping to average about 16,000 bottles or couple thousand cases each year.
“All production will be done here on site from produce we grow or brought in ourselves. We will also have a tasting room so most of our wine will go through the tasting room. I have already had a few local restaurants say they want to carry it and we will have online sales and shipping,” he says.
“If demand warrants, we can grow more but this is all based on the economics of it. I’m really doing this for fun and to give the community something to enjoy but I don’t want to go broke…would like to have a respectable return on my investment.”
Once construction begins on the winery building that will include production area and tasting room, Newby hopes to have it completed within six months with target opening of spring 2021. He also plans to transform an old pole barn on his property into an outdoor pavilion that will be separate from the winemaking/tasting room.
“This will be a destination for visitors…I hope it draws some tourism. We don’t expect a huge amount of visitors. We working on business hours, but plan to be open weekdays until 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. Closed on Monday and Tuesday. I really don’t think traffic and noise will be an issue because we are so far back in the woods off the road,” says Newby.