A winery just opened in Jacksonville offering a true winery experience within the city limits.
The Waters Edge Winery and Bistro opened on Saturday afternoon at 1061 E. Morton Ave. opened. It’s part of the Waters Edge Wineries franchise. This is the 19th Waters Edge winery in the country.
Mike Hayes, owner, said the winery is currently only open for wine and bar services on weekends as the restaurant inside has not yet opened for dining. He said the part should be open in about 30 days.
During the opening last weekend, Hayes said the winery had live music. There is live music on both Saturdays and Sundays, and acoustic on Sundays.
While a band is playing and someone is sitting there are monitors over the bar so people can see the band playing.
Outside the winery there are four speakers on the terrace so people can hear the music outside.
There are two 5,000 square feet buildings at the venue. One is the winery and the other is the wine bar with an event space of 3000 square meters. Weddings can be held there and can accommodate up to 150 people.
Garage doors are on either side, three on one side and two on the other. There is another winemaking room in front of this building, which is larger and used to distribute wine to other franchisees, he said.
Hayes said the idea for a winery was basically born to create a walk-in neighborhood where people could stop by in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine.
Hayes owns subdivisions and 26 lots have been developed around the Country Club golf course. These people can stop by the winery as it is close by.
“After exploring some of the wineries in the area, I just thought Jacksonville was ready for its own winery,” he said.
Wine is made directly in the winery. Behind the bar is a production room where it was specially created. All wines are produced on site.
Hayes said the grapes at the winery are sourced around the world.
“We’re assuming grapes and juices from Italy, France, Spain, Australia and California,” he said, adding that California wines are made from California grapes and Italian wines are made from Italian grapes.
There are 500 vines in the winery. These grapes are incorporated.
Sangria was the most popular choice among people last weekend, he said.
“We make about 30 different varieties,” said Hayes. “We have red wines, white wines, sangria, sparkling wines.”
Wines aren’t the only choices the winery offers. There is a full bar service, as well as craft beers and a selection of spirits to choose from.
Once the winery’s grocery section is open, Hayes expects it to be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and finally from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Then on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.
People can expect a full menu like sandwiches, salads, sausage boards and pizzas.
“We wanted people to experience a real winery, not just a winery bar,” said Hayes. “We wanted to do that to create a real winery experience, but in town.”
At the weekend, the winery is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. The winery is open on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.