by Courtney Llewellyn
Winter has passed, the ground is thawed and so construction season is upon us once again. Two-EE’s Winery hit the ground running this spring with their planned expansion project.
Founded in 2013 and located in Huntington, IN, Two-EE’s is owned and operated by Emily and Eric Harris. They offer red, white, rosé and fruit wines to visitors in their 2,000-square foot tasting room – or at least, they did, until they realized that simply wasn’t enough space anymore.
“It was not necessarily a want as much as a need,” Eric said of the 7,000-square foot expansion currently underway at their facility. “We’re bursting at the seams.”
The duo said they’ve seen growth every year since they opened. They are on track to produce 27,000 cases this year in a total of 3,750 square feet – which amounts to about seven cases per square foot everywhere inside the old facility. The office space was so tight Eric has started working at home, while four employees share one 10-by-12-foot office on site.
“We just don’t have enough room,” Eric said. “We’re at a saturation point for production and in the tasting room. People want to rent the space for events but we’ve been constantly turning down requests.”
Emily said Two-EE’s hosts everything from corporate parties and presentations to reunions and rehearsal dinners. When it came time for a list of must-haves for the expansion project, many of the goals seemed obvious: larger facilities for winemaking, a sleek, new event venue and added parking to the property. The growth in these areas will complement their current space as well as their amphitheater, where they host their “Uncorked” concert series.
Eric said it was easy to choose the team to make the plan a reality. “We went with the same contractor we used originally. They have a solid history of food processing facilities,” he said. “We had quite the learning curve the first time and we didn’t want that this time around. It’s great because this firm is a design contractor, which means they handle both the design of the new space as well as the construction work.
“Emily and I have dreamed up the details of this space since the day we opened our doors and realized, ‘This is going to be big!’” he added. They broke ground on the project on March 25.
The new building is the first phase of improvements to the property. A second phase to expand its patio and add additional seating is part of their long-term plans to meet customer demand. Construction ends by 3:30 p.m. every day to ensure afternoon and evening guests can enjoy the winery’s ambiance.
“It’s actually been busier [during the construction] because people are excited to see what’s going on,” Emily said. She is deeply involved in the project as well – Emily holds a degree in interior design, and her goal with the winery’s interior is to ensure everything looks good and functions properly.
Two-EE’s plans for the project to be completed on schedule in the middle of August – “but I’m already worried this isn’t going to be big enough,” Eric joked. “It’s been about addressing needs prior to wants. For me, those two things come at the same time and it can be hard to distinguish between them.”
“It’s just one day at a time, one issue at a time,” Emily added.
An expansion of this size – or any size – can be a daunting task for any winery, but in the end Emily and Eric believe it’s worth it. “Construction in general is almost another full-time job. Even if you’re not hammering nails or digging holes, you’re involved,” Eric said. “I’m fortunate in that I trust the people I work with to help us finish this project.”
To learn more about the winery and see updates on their expansion project, see twoees.com .