Toledo Business Journal: Subscribe to the region's source for business news and research

As published in Toledo Business Journal - August 1, 2019

A Waters Edge Wineries franchise location in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

A Waters Edge Wineries franchise location in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Urban Pine winery
coming to Perrysburg

Waters Edge Wineries, an innovative urban winery system bringing the culture of wine to communities across the country, has signed a new franchise agreement that will introduce its concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro, to a high-traffic retail center in the Toledo area. If all goes to plan, the winery, Urban Pine, led by franchise group McAlear Winery LLC and owned by Jen McAlear, will open in a 5,500 square foot building in The Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg around late November.

“I have been wanting to get into the wine industry and did quite a bit of research. I first started looking to buy a current, up and running winery, but based on my research, I found Waters Edge Wineries and fell in love with the concept and decided to open up a location in Perrysburg because that’s where my family lives,” said McAlear

“We love seeing our brand continue to build momentum, attracting phenomenal franchise owners who, along with outstanding business experience, bring a passion and enthusiasm for wine that they are excited to share with their local communities,” said Ken Lineberger, president and CEO, who founded Waters Edge Wineries with his wife Angela.

The Linebergers pioneered the winery franchise concept with the launch of their business in 2004, introducing a concept that allows entrepreneurs to own a functioning winery without owning a vineyard. Waters Edge Wineries purchase high-quality grape must (crushed grapes) from vineyards around the world, where wines are carefully crafted and bottled at individual locations. Today, each winery produces more than 50 different types of wine, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir, among others, using grapes grown in California, Italy, France, New Zealand, Chile, and Germany. Specialty blends are also created on-site, as are custom vintages, noted the Linebergers.

“Essentially what we’ve done is we have disconnected the need for having a vineyard close by or even attached to the winery. We can locate our wineries in urban areas, hence the name we are using in Toledo – Urban Pine. It really emphasizes that urban setting. We’re making our winery more accessible to people than the traditional winery typically is. We’re putting our wineries in population centers where it’s easy for people to visit frequently and enjoy food and enjoy wine in a classy setting that we’re creating here in Toledo,” said Ken.

A Waters Edge Wineries franchise location in Midland, Texas

A Waters Edge Wineries franchise location in Midland, Texas

Combining elements of the traditional winemaking experience with the popular wine bar concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations serve as a hub within its communities, offering bistro-style artisanal selections including appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and desserts, custom bottling and labeling as personalized gifts, private tasting areas for groups, a wine club, and more. This gives guests the opportunity to engage intimately with what has, historically, been a somewhat exclusive lifestyle limited to select regions, noted the Linebergers.

According to McAlear, she is planning out the winery to be able to track private events into the winery. She will have segregated rooms where people can come in and use that for private events such as wedding showers and baby showers, or anniversary parties. It will also be able to be used for corporate events.

“So financial planners, travel agents, businesses, etc., can also rent that space out to attract clients to a classy, beautiful environment. It’s open to be able to bring them in and be able to sell their services while using the winery in a private space,” said Ken.

According to Ken, as an emerging franchise concept, the Waters Edge Winery & Bistro model is ideal for entrepreneurs who are passionate about wine and seeking a way to share their love and knowledge without being in the agriculture business. Franchise owners receive comprehensive training on the micro-winery tank system and are provided with pre-opening training courses, both hands-on and classroom based, to help prepare for the launch of their winery. The company also offers social media and marketing support to help franchise owners realize success.

“Waters Edge Winery & Bistro is an innovative concept that treats guests to a relaxing atmosphere, a cultural experience like no other, and the enjoyment of high-quality wines bottled locally,” said Ken. “As focused as we are on the guest experience, we are equally dedicated to providing unparalleled resources and personal service to our owners. We are thrilled about where our business is today and we look forward to an exciting future ahead.”

Waters Edge Wineries has also signed franchise agreements and will open new locations in Madera, California and Richmond, Texas. In addition, two new Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations will open this summer in Davidson, North Carolina and a new flagship location showcasing an updated design footprint is preparing to open in Long Beach, California. The new locations join nine others already operating throughout California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas, noted Ken.

“I am going after a passion here and really excited about this urban winery concept opening. There’s nothing like it in Toledo and I am so excited to bring the experience this winery will bring to the area and to the people living in Toledo,” concluded McAlear.