There is a saying that “There is no such thing as a problem, only opportunity.”
That couldn’t be any closer to the truth for Four Winds Cellars General Manager David Webster.
With the Six Mile Road home of nine years recently sold to the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians and an eviction notice in hand, the winery was in desperate need of a new location. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it whatever you like, but in its time of need, with all prospects pointing toward a move out of Murphys, the winery was able to nestle itself into a cozy new downtown Murphys location, the benefits of which are already palpable.
“We opened on Friday here and this weekend was fantastic,” said Webster. “If weekends can continue like this, it’s going to be wonderful.”
Webster said that when the winery was first notified that it would have to relocate, owners decided to search around Murphys for a new location to move their business. They checked out a location on Pennsylvania Gulch Road that looked promising, among others, only to find out that spot was not properly zoned. Accompanied by a few friends in the real estate business, they quickly learned that ample space to make the move was a rarity.
“When we were looking at properties, there were no locations available,” said Webster.
The situation looked dim. With the knowledge that it takes 90 days to transfer tasting room licenses, Webster thought the winery was going to be out of business for some time as owners worked on transferring their license and finding a new home. However, the Miwuk tribe offered Webster and the winery management as much time as they needed to properly handle their license and move to their next location. The additional time was well received.
“They have been fantastic to us,” said Webster. “They basically said, ‘Don’t worry. Stay here as long as you need. Get your license transferred; get the new place sorted out,’ and I’m extremely grateful for that.”
Now housed on Main Street in Murphys, Webster said the new location offers a few select benefits that the old home on Six Mile Road could not. For one, the new tasting room is centrally located in the heart of the Murphys wine market.
Murphys is dotted with vineyards and tasting rooms, the bulk of them along busy Main Street. Those after tastes of Calaveras County vintages find Main Street in Murphys the place to go.
In addition, the downtown Murphys spot allows for the winery to continue plans to grow and increase its marketability. Webster said that when they started almost nine years ago, the Four Winds wine club had just 70 members; now they have close to 1,000. Webster isn’t prepared to rest on his laurels.
“We knew that we would have a following wherever we went,” said Webster, “but we kind of wanted to get that new exposure, those new customers.”
On Dec. 15 during the tasting room’s grand opening, Webster could be heard talking over a multitude of people who filed into the new location to taste a selection of locally made wines. The increased likelihood of attracting a few passersby into the tasting room can’t be ignored.
“We discussed for many years of the potential benefits of moving to downtown Murphys,” said Webster. “The foothold, for one, is key.”
Feedback so far has been positive. The freshly designed decor and layout of the tasting room was a hit over the weekend and the excitement from the staff remains high.
The tasting room even has plans to extend its hours of operation from three days a week to five, or even seven days a week during the summer months.
“We’re hoping that it’s going to be easier for our customer base, easier for our customer base to find us open. So we’re hoping to secure more wine club members and secure more business,” Webster said.
The winery is at 219 Main St., Murphys, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Call 736-4766 or visit fourwindscellars.com.
Calaveras Enterprise, December 19th, 2017