Wine Company Breaks Ground

Dusty Timmons admires the groundwork for what will soon be the headquarters of his new wine- and juice-processing facility. Texas Custom Wine Works will be fully constructed and operational in less than three months, he anticipates.

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The ground is nearly ready, and in a couple more months so will the wine.

Texas Custom Wine Works broke ground this week, preparing dirt for their foundation. The next step will be to pour cement, then construct a 16,500 square-foot building that will be operational for wine production nearly immediately.

TCWW President Mike Sipowicz told the Brownfield News his company was just pre-approved for a loan they had been seeking and was more than ready to begin construction.

“We got all the paperwork and financing taken care of,” he said.

The facility, located southwest of town just off C.R. 460 between F.M. 403 and the Lamesa Highway, will provide services to the Texas wine industry such as grape crushing and wine processing, incubating and storage. They are in various stages of contract with a prospective client list of about eight-to-10 wine and juice companies.

“We’ll try to fill whatever any need that a winery or stores have,” said co-manager Dusty Timmons.

Timmons added that after months of unfortunate delays anxiously awaiting loan-approval announcements and business negotiations, he planned to waste no time on construction. The building should be complete and ready for wine production within the next two-and-a-half months, he said, unless any unexpected rain showers delay the groundwork.

“We’re really excited about it,” he said. “It’s been a slow and frustrating process.”

TCWW was recently formed, but Sipowicz, Timmons and Jet Wilmeth and Steve Talcott, Ph.D. – the rest of the management team – all have backgrounds in business, horticulture and wine and food processing.

As the News reported in August, the company chose to come to Brownfield after negotiating with Director Economic Development David Partlow for more than six months.

In accordance with terms of an incentive package from the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation, TCWW will purchase 10 acres of land in the Industrial Park for $35,000, divided into $7,000 annual payments for five years. TCWW must remain open five years and have 12 full-time employees to receive the offer. Sipowicz said those jobs will include vineyard management, wine and fruit processing and grape crushing, among others. Most will require training.

If the company meets those operational goals, BIDCorp. will pay $1,000 per month toward the cost of the processing facility for five years, and reimburse them up to $15,000 for the cost of their lateral line from city main line to their building. They will also reimburse 50 percent of their property tax each of the first five years they are in operation, to be capped at $10,000 per year.

The total value of the five-year incentive package is $160,000.

“The incentives are performance-based, meaning they must earn them before we pay out on them,” Partlow said. “Each incentive, with the exception of the land, has restrictions on it to ensure that we use taxpayer’s money wisely. We are obligated to use our citizens’ tax dollars as efficiently as possible to bring good, honest businesses to our community to provide core jobs.”

TWCC’s founders selected Terry County mainly based on its prevalent grape industry. Because this year’s anticipated grape harvest of more than 3,000 tons is the largest in the state, the company’s founders were surprised about the lack of commercial wine-making in the area, and decided to take the initiative on what could easily become a booming market.
“The overall quality of the wine in Texas stands to improve through this facility,” Sipowicz said.

Guided by research that indicates recently-harvested grapes make the highest-quality wines, they wanted to keep the processing facility as close as possible to the grape acreage. Just as France, California’s Napa Valley and many other top wine-producing regions are famous for their vineyards with nearby wineries, they felt the Lone Star State could similarly benefit from tighter collaboration between both aspects of the industry.

(Courtesy of Brownfield News)

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