By Chris Bavender
It’s been almost four months since Peace Water Winery opened in Carmel’s Arts & Design District and business couldn’t be better according to owner Scott Burton.
“Fantastic and better than could have ever expected,” he said. “Biggest ‘challenge’ so far is keeping up enough production to meet demand for some of the wines.”
At 37 W. Main St. the 1,900 square foot winery offers customers a cozy respite from the winter cold with a centrally staged tasting area, fireplace and seating.
“The reaction has been 100% positive (including all our Facebook and Yelp reviews where we have 5 stars on both!) People are first really surprised by the atmosphere that blows them away when they walk in,” Burton said. “Then they fall in love with our story and how we are charity-based, finally they try the wines and are shocked by the quality and taste of the Napa and Sonoma wines.”
Wines that play into Peace Water’s unique business model. Fifty percent of the profits from tastings ($10 for five pours) and bottle sales (ranging in price from $19 to $32) go to charity. Burton’s eight children picked the charities which are featured on the Giving Wall and include:
- Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital
- The IU Dance Marathon
- The Soup Kitchen at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
- Equus Foundation
- The Jesse G. (Lebu) Library Project in Ethiopia
- Love on a Leash
- Charity: Water
- Art with a Heart
Each time a bottle is purchased; the buyer receives a peace sign token to put it in the basket affiliated with the charity they wish to support. All tips are also donated to charity.
Another feature is the winery’s wine club – the Peace Posse. There is no cost to join and members receive discounts, invites to special events like “meet the winemaker” nights, first chance to try new releases, etc.
“Another example of how great the reception has been is reflected in the wine club numbers,” Burton said. “I did a lot of research in Napa Valley and most tasting room managers there indicated a good goal would be to have 100 wine club members in their first year. We have 120 in our first three and a half months.”
As for plans for the future, Burton said he is looking at select off-site availability.
“I think it makes sense for us to target local independently owned restaurants since we have a strong belief in ‘shopping local.’ Having been a business owner for many years I really connect with those types of establishments and think they would be great partners to help us get our message out in the community,” he said. “I haven’t spoken with any in particular so it would be premature for me to name them until we are ready to take that next step (hopefully in the next couple of months).
Burton said he can also “envision a downtown location in the next few years if growth and demand continues as strong as we have seen it to date.”
“The vast majority of our customers so far are located within a 15 mile radius of our location. That fact indicates to me there may be other opportunities for us within the metro area,” he said. “With all the new development downtown, I certainly could see a location there in the next few years. The Mass Ave. area and The Arts and Design District have similar vibes so it makes sense that may be a potential Peace Water site in the future.”
Peace Water Winery
37 W. Main St.
Carmel, IN 46032
Mon. – Closed
Tues. – Thurs. – noon – 8 p.m.
Fri. – Sat. – noon – 10 p.m.
Sun. – noon – 5 p.m.