Meta Wine plans to open in warehouse
by BRIAN NADIG
A winery that would offer a tasting room, private banquets and live musical performances is planning to open inside a former carpet warehouse at 4300 W. Montrose Ave.
It would not be a traditional winery, where grapes are crushed and wines are made from scratch, according to Meta Wine founder Walter Clements.
"We buy finished wine, high quality a thousand liters at a time," Clements said at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Mayfair Civic Association. "We manage the supply chain to get it into market … more efficiently (and) at a much better value."
For several years Meta has operated on a wholesale basis, creating different blends from the wines it buys from around the world and then packaging them.
The facility on Montrose would allow Meta to have a permanent home where retail patrons would be able to sample wines, including the use of a self-service "pull handle." Customers also would be able to create their own blend and packaging label, he said.
Plans also call for customers to be able to save a few dollars by re-using their empty wine bottles as part of Meta’s environmental friendly philosophy, Clements said. "Unless you drop it to the ground and it shatters, it will last 4,000 years," he said.
There also would be a private event space for up to 250 banquet patrons and occasional concerts, for which tickets would be sold. The latter would require a public place of amusement license, which would be contingent on a zoning variation because the site is next to single-family home zoning on Kildare Avenue.
Clements said that operating hours have not been set but that "nobody should be drinking wine at 1 a.m." outside of their own home, explaining that beer is more of a late-night beverage. "We want to be good neighbors," he said, adding that family-friendly events are planned.
Meta is leasing the 14,660-square-foot ground floor of the two-story warehouse, which features an approximately 30-foot tall ceiling. There is an approximately 20-space parking lot, which is sufficient to meet any parking requirements, and valet parking is planned for large events, according to project officials.
At the meeting, residents expressed support for the project. "My personal opinion is the neighborhood wants stuff like this in Mayfair," association zoning committee chairman Chris Lambesis said. The association will try to get feedback from residents who live near the warehouse, he said.
Association president Ron Duplack said that the warehouse location is ideal for a destination-type of business given its proximity to both the Edens and Kennedy expressways and Blue Line and Metra stations.