AURORA — It can take several years to design a new wine, and Thorncreek Winery and Gardens owner David Thorn said the same is true of executing a significant business expansion.
Visitors to the full-service winery in Aurora will notice construction under way near the east entrance where crews are building to a new entrance with a covered porch with a vaulted ceiling and chandelier. The new roofline also will feature a cupola.
“The other piece of that which will be really important is a big circular paved space so people will be able to get out of their vehicles more easily,” said Thorn, adding the new drive will be geared toward offering valet service.
That work is phase one of a two-phase renovation “that’s been two years in the making,” according to Thorn.
“It’s definitely a huge commitment on my part to do this,” he said. “Our business now is very strong and great, but, in order to continue to offer better service and more opportunities to my employees and offer a better experience for guests, I feel like this is a step I have to take to keep growing.”
That commitment includes adding several thousand square feet to the existing facility at 155 Treat Road. Thorn is adding much of that space on to the front of the building at the west end.
“We’re tripling the size of the winery,” said Thorn. “We’re making plans to have much more inside space so that our business is not as seasonal as it is now so that we can offer large indoor events up to 200 people easily in the winter. Now, it’s very based from May to November, and we want to be open the rest of the months by offering indoor options.”
Behind the indoor winery area, there’s an open-air space — measuring about 980 square feet — that’s under roof, which will become enclosed with the renovation. Thorn also plans to renovate the existing interior space, altering the layout and location of offices and expanding the existing kitchen. Included in the addition will be space near the existing kitchen which will be dedicated to catering and service area, featuring a two-story tall wine rack visible to customers.
Thorn plans to convert existing office space at the east end of the building into a new dining area. He’ll also add a deck served by an open fireplace. A new bar also will be added in the eastern section of the building.
Thorn said the addition will enable wedding and business parties to chose to use either the east or west wings of the winery. For larger events, the entire winery can be used, as well.
“Everything will be cosmetically changed as part of phase two,” added Thorn. “It will have the same feeling, just an updated version.”
Thorn, who also designs landscapes as the owner of David Thorn Design and Project Management, said he’s adding on to the front of the building to avoid disturbing existing gardens to the rear of the building.
“We’re building forward where there are not many gardens to protect,” he said. “We have eight acres, and we’ve touched every inch of this property. When I got here, the back was very swampy and we drained it, then redeveloped it with beautiful gardens, creating great lawn spaces or new parking lots.”
The first phase – the east entry porch and circular drive — should be complete by May 23, weather permitting, and Thorn said the second phase would begin late this fall and be completed by May 2020.
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-541-9440 or @bobgaetjens_rpc.