By Jacob Mathias
After months of planning and waiting, the much anticipated Sunset Point Winery in downtown Stevens Point opened to the public on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve got five kinds of wine that we can sell today,” said winery owner Don Guay. “Four we can sell by the bottle. The fifth one we can sell but the labels haven’t shown up yet so we can sell by the glass.”
He said more varieties are expected by sometime in July and even more later in the year.
Available for purchase now are a cabernet sauvignon, red zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, riesling-style Sunset Symphony and a pomegranate zinfandel.
“The wine drinkers really like the cabernet and the sauvignon blanc, but then the less experienced wine people are coming and wanting the pomegranate zinfandel or the Symphony,” said Arin Lemke, a server at the winery. “The Symphony is really popular for the sweeter wine fans.”
Coming soon is a white zinfandel, pinot noir and a cranberry/raspberry wine.
Also available for sale are wine accessories such as cork screws and wine savers and even crackers and cheese that can be eaten at the winery along with your wine selection.
Most of Guay’s grapes come from California but he is expecting to make use of Wisconsin grapes.
“We’ll be getting some Marquette grapes in the fall,” he said. “We’ll be getting grapes from Italy as well California.”
Guay said his favorite wine is a pinot noir, a varietal that he looks forward to making and selling out of the winery.
“One of the first things that we did as wine owners is we got a contact out in Sonoma, California to secure a contract for some pinot noir grapes in the fall,” he said. “We will have a Sonoma pinot noir aged with French oak available next year, probably early spring.”
The Guays began their wine making at home.
“We’d both been doing it at home for several years as a hobby,” he said. “As we started talking about it, one day we came home and said you know it might be kind of fun to open up a winery.”
They began a business plan in March 2014.
“A year and four months later and we’re open,” said Guay. “It’s been a long journey but it’s been good.”
Making and selling wine requires permits from the federal, state and city government. Guay said the permitting process has been the most difficult part of starting the winery. Even the labels have to be approved by the federal government.
“Hence why we have four varieties right now,” said Guay. “It just takes time to get all the approvals. The agencies have been really good.”
Don and Kelly Guay both attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point to study paper science. They are both employed at Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids, Don as a technical manager and Kelly as an asset operations leader. They plan on continuing to work.
Business hours for the 4th of July Weekend are Friday from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Saturday from 1:00 to 7:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Guay said he plans on normal winery hours being from about 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday but the hours are subject to change.
Sunset Point Winery is located at 1201 Water St. in Stevens Point and can be contacted at 715-544-1262.