The Fox Valley Winery has opened the doors of its new location on Main Street in downtown Oswego after almost 18 years in business on Route 34, just west of the downtown area.
The winery’s move from its 5600 Route 34 location to 59 Main Street was announced earlier this year. Oswego Cyclery, which formerly occupied the winery’s new locale, has moved into a storefront on the north side of the 59 Main Street building.
The winery will celebrate its move with a grand opening Friday, Oct. 15, that will feature a ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m. and live music from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Live music will be featured again on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The move is fitting, owner and winemaker Michael Faltz said, as the winery wanted to move into the 59 Main Street building since the Oswego Fire Protection District, the building’s original owners, vacated the premises several years ago.
“Initially, this is the building we wanted to buy in 2003 it had just been retired as the fire department, they had just moved to the new location and this building wasn’t for sale yet,” Faltz said. As the fire protection district owned the property, they were unable to rent it to the winery since they produce alcohol.
The property was purchased by Art Black, owner of the Oswego Cyclery. Years passed and at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Faltz said that Black made the decision to downsize the bicycle shop.
Originally, he continued, they approached Black to rent out the smaller space in the north end of the building for use as the winery, but it was slightly too small for their needs.
“He’s like, ‘Well, what if I move the bike shop there and you take this space?’” Faltz said. Black agreed to the move and the deal was signed.
The building is smaller than winery’s former Route 34 locale with just under 5,000 square feet that houses a production area, bar, retail space and indoor seating, Faltz noted.
But between indoor and outdoor seating, the new location boasts more seating than the Route 34 location. Inside of the winery there is seating for about 65 patrons, with an additional fenced outdoor patio seating for about 75-100 patrons.
The new location has more of an “industrial” feel, as opposed to the countryside chateau/great hall feel of the Route 34 location.
“This I wanted to go more industrial/modern, but still be warm and inviting,” Faltz said. A mix of natural wood, pipes, and block walls help to make that feeling, he added.
Currently two fermenting tanks are out on the main floor of the winery, though they may be moved back into the production space.
“I kind of like having the tanks sitting there,” Faltz said, “They’re expensive and they’re pretty.”
One of the big changes that came with the Fox Valley Winery’s move is an increase in the number of food offerings to patrons.
Along with charcuterie plates previously offered, the winery has partnered with 113 Main, just down the street and the Oswego Inn across the street to offer specialized menus, for delivery or pick up. Faltz said that he hopes to work with the recently-opened La Marimba, on Washington Street to offer a selection from their restaurant as well.
Food trucks will also be a staple at the winery, Faltz said, to accompany drinks and music from an indoor stage at the back of the winery.
The Fox Valley Winery’s move to 59 Main Street also centralizes Oswego’s local wine production and craft beer offerings, with the Oswego Brewing Company operating right below the winery in the building’s lower level.
“It’s mutually beneficial, I think, to have multiple stops in one parking spot,” he said. Wineries opening near other wineries or establishments like the OBC aren’t competition - it’s a benefit,” Faltz said.
“It’s a very different business than most retail,” he said. “For a winery, it’s like it makes it more of a tourist draw.”
As the winery prepares for its ribbon cutting and grand opening Oct. 15, Faltz encouraged the public to check out the new location.
“We have a great location,” he said. “Come and check out the new digs, I think it’s a great space. We’re doing well so far, we’ve had great reception from the other shops here on Main Street. It only took us 18 years to get to the building we wanted to, but we’re here.”