Eleven Winery Expanding to PoulsboNovember 29th, 2010 by brynn grimley
Matt and Sarah Albee have made the decision to boldly go where no Bainbridge Island winemaker has gone before: Off Island.
OK, so maybe their decision to expand off island isn’t quite that dramatic, and they’re probably not the only ones who’ve left Bainbridge, but it is pretty exciting for wine lovers in the north end looking to expand their wine-tasting horizons.
The Albees hope to open a new tasting room in Poulsbo on Front Street by Dec. 8. Matt Albee had originally hoped to be open by Dec. 1, but is running into some delay with the state’s Liquor Control Board, which is taking a little longer to issue the liquor license than originally planned.
Eleven Winery already has one tasting room in downtown Winslow, which has proven successful for Albee. Deciding it was time to expand the reach of his wine operations, Albee chose Poulsbo for the location of his second tasting room because its downtown is similar to that of Winslow.
The pedestrian traffic — usually filled with tourists from out of town — and great restaurants situated all along Front Street, were also big draws for Albee, he said.
Since becoming a licensed winery in 2003, Albee has seen an increase in demand for his wines. He built up a wine club — which offers a discount on wine to members and offers them the first taste of new releases each year — and has seen his single sale numbers increase because of people trying his wines at the Winslow tasting room.
Demand has increased now to the point where Albee isn’t able to meet the request of wholesalers and restaurant owners wanting his wines, he said.
Looking to the future, Albee made sure to make more wine this year than he ever has since opening seven years ago. He plans to release 1,500 cases over the next two years — whites in 2011 and reds in 2012.
Until then, people will just have to fight over what he has available in the two tasting rooms. The Poulsbo location will be open seven days a week through December to accommodate holiday shoppers. It will likely open noon until 7 p.m.
In January it will likely be open Thursday through Sunday. Albee hasn’t decided yet how long the tasting room will be open on those days, saying he’ll let shoppers drive that decision. But, his Winslow tasting room is open Thursday-Friday, 1 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.