Germantown to get grape, apple winery

Jan. 8, 2013

Germantown - Residents looking to find a wine suitable to their tastes will soon be able to test or purchase custom wines at Apple Works Winery on Fond du Lac Avenue after the Village Board on Monday approved a permit for the operation.

Kevin Behnke applied for a conditional use permit to plant a vineyard, produce wine and open a retail store from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week at W179 N12536 Fond du Lac Ave. Behnke owns and lives on the 10-acre property that was formally an apple orchard.

He plans to make wine from both apples and grapes.

The permit also allows for the construction of an outdoor patio on the west side of the property, said village Planning and Zoning Administrator Jeff Retzlaff.

Three adjacent property owners spoke during the public hearing, citing noise concerns that could result from alcohol consumption or special events held on the property.

"I don't think we need another bar; we have one a quarter-mile and half-mile down the road, and I don't see us needing another alcohol business in the area," said property owner Steve Schultz. "If it does go through and we have problems, they will be around forever."

Those concerns were alleviated, in part, because of conditions placed on the permit.

Behnke would have to ac quire an additional permit for any of the following to occur:

a special event of more than 50 people,

an event that includes the selling of alcohol other than wine, and

hosting of a band or live music on site that could cause a noise disturbance.

In addition, Behnke has to obtain a Class C liquor license, which pertains specifically to wineries. This must be renewed each year. Village President Dean Wolter told neighbors that, should concerns arise once the winery is in full operation, the license renewal process allows for people to share their issues with the Village Board.

"A winery is a lot different from a bar; they attract a lot different clientele than you do at a bar," Behnke said. "We are catering to people that aren't going to be out late at night."

He said he hopes to open the winery by summer.

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