“We already aged that wine. We were so depressed,” Stacie said. “Our building was done, so we decided there was no turning back at that point.”
Stacie and Brad were home wine makers for several years.
“It was a passion of ours,” said Stacie.
With the help of the franchise, Wine Not International, The People’s Winery was able to obtain surplus juices from other franchised wineries and start making its inventory again.
The People’s Winery celebrated a soft opening three weeks ago. Ron Shoff, Stacie’s mentor and owner of Grape Inspirations Winery, stopped by during the opening and offered a seminar on wine etiquette and wine tasting. to The People’s Winery helpers. It was Shoff’s winery that burned in Carmel.
The Angles’ passion for wine making began after a close friend — an amateur wine maker — gave the couple two bottles of homemade wine.
Stacie said Brad, who is normally laid back and usually not very expressive, drank the wine and seemed to like it. She recalled he told her how beautiful she looked.
She thought they had to look into making their own wine.
To surprise her husband for his birthday, she convinced her friend to order the equipment. To keep it secret, the equipment was set up in a neighbor’s house.
“We were thinking about opening a wine supply store for home wine makers,” Stacie said. “Once I was laid off, the idea kind of grew.”
After a trip to Grape Inspirations, Stacie discovered it was a Wine Not International franchise. After some research, she was on her way to opening the new business. Work began last spring.
The People’s Winery offers wine tasting and wine by the glass or bottle. The winery carries four white and four red wines in addition to seven to eight fruit wines. Two port wines will soon be released.
It also sells items made locally and from other cities in Indiana. Some items include jams, jelly, and salsa products by Two Cookin’ Sisters, crafts made by Down On The Farm in Peru, homemade wine carriers by local resident Sharon Glosson and jewelry made by a Fort Wayne woman.
The interior of the People’s Winery turned out just as Stacie imagined.
In searching for a location, Stacie knew she wanted to have her winery downtown. The former People’s Bank building had sat empty for a number of years and she always liked the Third Street building.
“When I saw this building, it was not the most appealing, but I saw the potential,” she said.
Now that The People’s Winery is open, Stacie is hoping to work with other wineries in the area. She said having more than one winery in the county is beneficial.
“They are totally different from us,” she said in reference to Indian Trail Wines in Royal Center.
In addition to the two Cass County wineries, there are wineries in Lafayette, Monticello and Converse. Stacie believes the area is nearly large enough to form a wine trail.
“We compliment each other,” she added. “I don’t consider them competition.”
Stacie is hoping people will stop by to sample The People’s Winery wine. She said it’s fun to make the trip with a spouse or best friend.
Her goal is to appeal to various age groups, including those in their early 20s who may just be starting to taste wine.
“It’s nice to know about the wine culture,” she said. “It’s a fun hobby.”
Stacie would like to see The People’s Winery as a vendor at different festivals in Indiana, where she could offer wine samples and sell bottles. She would also like to host a similar event and invite wineries from around the state to offer samples and sell wine.
Another goal is to renovate the upstairs into a banquet room and build a balcony.
The People’s Winery will soon begin offering r customers help making their own wine. Stacie referred to it as “adopt a batch,” where people can come in and help with the process as little or much as they want.
Her vision is to help educate people on the wine making process and let them know it’s not as hard as they may think.
Stacie is appreciative of everyone who helped the couple deal with the loss of wine from the fire.
“I’d like to thank the community for its support,” she said. “There were a lot of prayers for us and it gave us strength.”
• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: The People’s Winery
Address: 414 S. Third St.
Hours: 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Will open by appointment. Hours will expand.
Phone: 574-516-1559 or 574-721-0791