Tasting room, winery planned in Franklin

Franklin will get a unique addition to its downtown night life when a New Albany-based winery opens a wine tasting room.

The local restaurants and breweries in downtown Franklin have created the environment that River City Winery owner Gary Humphrey was searching for when he decided to open a second location.

The tasting room will be located at 25 N. Main St., next to the Artcraft Theatre and the Willard. The tasting room will have areas inside and outside seating, Humphrey said. Visitors can attend tastings, or stop in for a few glasses of wine before heading to dinner or to another location downtown for more drinks.

Humphrey opened River City Winery in New Albany in 2007, hoping to revitalize downtown by creating a destination that would draw residents and visitors, Humphrey said. The move sparked a wave of local restaurants and breweries that located in downtown New Albany, revamping the evening and weekend night life.

New Albany’s downtown revitalization is very similar to Franklin’s and a wine tasting room is the missing element, Humphrey said

“The recent surge in downtown Franklin was a big attraction to us,” Humphrey said. “We wanted to try and find an area where we could grow as the missing piece. Downtown Franklin has a lot of local businesses, but it was still missing that one piece — a wine tasting room.”

Humphrey’s good friend, Brian Alvey, lives in Franklin and has helped prepare the inside of the building and will run the tasting room. Alvey was a big reason why River City chose Franklin over places such as Evansville and Cincinnati, Humphrey said.

The build out of the bar and other small renovations in the tasting room are almost complete in the business that formerly housed Geek in Pink. As soon as the winery receives its license for the Franklin location from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, it will open, Alvey said.

For now, the tasting room will only be a spot where visitors can stop in for a few glasses, or buy a bottle and take it home. But Humphrey hopes to outgrow the spot and one day move into a bigger building downtown where wine can be made and food can be served, similar to the New Albany location, Humphrey said.

When Humphrey visited Franklin, he spoke with members from the redevelopment commission, and soon after, was contacted by the mayor’s office, Humphrey said.

Mayor Joe McGuinness is excited about a wine tasting room coming to downtown because it’s something the city doesn’t have, McGuinness said.

“This is one of those destinations that will bring people to downtown Franklin. It’s the first wine tasting room in Franklin. This (adds to) a location where more local flair is the point,” McGuinness said.

At a glance

Name: River City Winery

Established: 2007 in New Albany

What’s coming: a wine tasting room at 25 N. Main St. that will feature as many as 50 wines

Hours of operation: Open Wednesday through Sunday, starting in August

Author photo
Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.