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New Winery Preview – Cellardoor at the Point

Thompson’s Point welcomes it’s first alcohol producer this weekend as Cellardoor Winery opens their doors on Saturday. Find out more about this award winning company, and our future tours that will stop by their stunning space.

In 2007, Bettina Doulton bought Cellardoor Winery of Lincolnville, ME. The purchase was quite an impulse buy, the former Boston-based Fidelity Investments money manager was looking for an investment project of her own. She knew that she really liked wine, but didn’t know the first thing about owning and operating a working winery in Maine.

Once she visited Lincolnville in December 2006, and saw the 68-acre, 200-year-old farm that featured a 1790s post-and-beam barn and old farmhouse, as well a state-of-the-art winery across the road, it was a done deal. She became just the fourth owner of the property in the previous 100 years.

Cellardoor Winery was first started by a husband-and-wife team in the 1990s. They fell in love with the place, and after buying it they cleared the land to plant vines and start Maine’s first commercial vineyard.

Cellardoor Winery, Lincolnville (Source: Jim Gamage)

The wines are made in small, handcrafted batches with grapes sourced from premier vineyards from Washington, California, and New York. They also produce estate-grown wines made from cold resistant grapes that are grown on their five-and-a-half-acre vineyard on the property.

Not many years ago, drinking wine made from Maine-grown grapes was not really an option. Wineries in this state were noted mostly for wines made from blueberries, apples, cranberries, and honey, but not really from grapes. The experts suggested that our harsh winters and short growing seasons made it too difficult for wine grapes to thrive or even survive.

But Cellardoor Winery sources the best grapes and grape juice, and grows their own vines very carefully in order to give their winemakers access to exactly what they need to craft a wide range of wines that can suit every taste.

Relais & Chateaux Gala in the vineyard at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville. (Courtesty photo)

The winery also owns a tasting room and retail space called The Villa in Rockport. Based on the success of that satellite operation, Bettina started looking for a location in Greater Portland that would be suitable to showcase the Cellardoor Winery offerings in a larger market.

The redevelopment of Thompson’s Point became the perfect location for their Portland operation.  Here are some pictures that we took in late April with the space still under construction.

Cellardoor at the Point is a 5,000 square foot tasting room and event space that will be open seven days a week. It will feature a large horseshoe public tasting bar, a smaller private bar that can be reserved for groups, and a large event space suitable for bigger gatherings.

With these different spaces they will be also to host wine tastings, dinners, cooking classes, food-and-wine pairings and other special events.

One of the wines that will be available in the new Portland tasting room is Vendange, an award-winning sparkling rosé made with the first grapes harvested at the Cellardoor vineyard after it was replanted in 2008 with those cold-hearty grapes. That wine, made with grapes that were harvested in 2012, was debuted at a release party in Lincolnville in May.

They will also have retail space for selling their Cellardoor at Home product line, which includes food items such as oils, vinegars, jams and jellies, desserts, syrups and more.

The Maine Brew Bus will be the first organized tour group to visit the new Cellardoor at the Point, opening this Saturday at Thompson’s Point. We will be bringing a VIP group from New Zealand and Australia to their facility on Sunday in cooperation with Brand USA and the Maine Office of Tourism.

Check out these pictures from this week as Cellardoor at the Point prepares to open their doors in Portland:

The Maine Brew Bus is excited to partner with Cellardoor at the Point, and we look forward to bringing guests through their doors to learn and taste more from the company. Look for them to appear on many of our weekday tours, as well as select tours each weekend.

Want to visit Cellardoor at the Point on your own? They will be open Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. And beginning on May 26th, they will be open 7 days a week.

Don Littlefield is the General Manager of The Maine Brew Bus, and a graduate of the Foundation of Wine class offered by Chris Peterman of American Sommelier Maine. However, he very much enjoyed a beer called Whistle Punk Double IPA from Sebago Brewing Company while preparing this post. Twitter: @BeerinME