A new state-of-the-art custom grape crushing facility could be operational by this summer, according to plans presented Friday by Texas Vine Country, LLC.
Directors of the new company told the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. board at its monthly meeting in City Hall that they aim to be the first player in the Texas wine/grape industry to handle bulk juice sales.
“Our goal is to provide Texas juice to larger producers who can bring the price of a bottle of wine below the $10 price point,” said Rusty Dutton, spokesman for the company. “We will be growing our own grapes, but we will also welcome the excess tonnage from other growers, so they have a place to go when everyone else is full.”
The site for their new facility will be a 17.5 acre tract in the High Plains Winery Estates, the industrial park owned by BIDCorp. on the city’s southwest side.
The board voted unanimously to sale the tract to the company for $40,000, taking into account that more than $3 million will be invested in buildings and equipment on the site and the company will support an initial payroll of more than $500,000 annually.
A business plan provided to the board indicates that the company will maintain eight full time employees year round, with additional help seasonally.
“This is a great opportunity for our community and our local vineyard industry, which we consider to be an integral part of our future in Brownfield and Terry County, that we proudly know is the Grape Capital of Texas,” said BIDCorp. Executive Director Brian Brisendine. “This land has been part of our portfolio for several decades and I’m excited to see it being used to further our vision for expansion and growth.”
Phase one construction on the property will begin in February with the intention of being operable by Summer, in time for grape harvest.
Matt Moreland, financial analyst for the company, said time is of the essence and they are ready to move forward aggressively to meet their construction deadlines.
In other business, the board heard an update from Brisendine on efforts to attract developers for construction of housing in the city, regarded as a priority need for growth. State law prevents Type 4A economic development boards like BIDCorp. from directly incentivizing home construction, but cities across the state are exploring options to spur housing developments, viewed as vital for growth.
“We can’t just write a check to have some houses built,” Brisendine said. “But we’re looking into how other communities our size have worked to attract builders and developers. There are a lot of aspects to consider and we will be discussing the matter further in the future.”
The board also conducted routine business, including approval of financial statements and minutes from a previous meeting. Board members present were Judy Besler, Michael Franke, Kelly Riley, and Steve Carter. Board member Dan Jackson was unable to attend.