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What’s Next for Chamard?

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Photo by Kelly Smith/The Harbor News | Buy Photo

Chamard's Bistro, set to open in the next couple of weeks, is taking shape, with furniture made from vineyard material.

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While the initial proposal for a bistro and other expanded uses at Clinton's Chamard Vineyard were met with substantial local opposition, residents credited Chamard General Manager Jeff Vernon with addressing their concerns at the final Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing. Photo by Kelly Smith/Harbor News

CLINTON - Based on the large amount of public support at the last and final public hearing on Chamard Vineyard's Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) application to expand its farm tourism uses, it's no surprise that the winery was granted approval on
Sept. 10.

"I was very excited. I think it's an obvious excellent fit for the winery and for the Clinton community," said Chamard General Manager Jeff Vernon.

So what's next for Chamard?

Vernon said that opening the highly anticipated bistro is first priority. The restaurant, which is advertised on Chamard's website, will be known as Chamard's Bistro and will be located on the main level of the building as roughly a 513-square-foot seating room. Much of the furniture used for the bistro is made from reclaimed material from the vineyards, including oak wine tanks and barn wood.

The winery is currently wrapping up construction of the bistro and getting all of its approvals. Vernon is anticipating having the grand opening sometime around Columbus Day.

"We're just finishing getting all the approvals that we need right now from the health department and making our menus and hiring people. It's exciting stuff," Vernon said. "The bistro construction is pretty much done. We're also really excited about our chef [Brad Stabinsky], who's been on board for a little bit, so we're just sort of finishing everything up right now. We really want to celebrate local food and wine and make that be an integral part of the community."

Bridget Riordan, director of sales and brand management at Chamard, is thrilled to move forward after the months of hearings and meetings for the approval. She is also helping make sure the bistro is up and running sometime in October.

"We want the bistro to be a place where we can serve food to those who come to the vineyards, as well as have people come here once or twice a month to eat. It's going to be a place where people know there will be fresh seasonal food offered in a relaxing setting," Riordan said.

Also approved through the application were the following uses: retail and wholesale of agriculture products, retail of handcraft and artisan products, agriculture education instruction, and demonstration and production of furniture.

Vernon said the vineyard has already begun the process of melting down bottles to use and sell at the winery.

"We are recycling our bottles and then we melt our bottles down through a process called sculpting and we're making those into serving trays and other different kinds of things. We are etching our own glasses now and we can customize glasses that we etch," he said. "We also-once we have what we need done for the bistro-we would like to sell those, as well. They're very cool."

Other aspects from the application, including a farm market, will be incorporated into the winery sometime next year after work on the bistro has come to an end.

The PZC approved this application based on a number of conditions. The hours of operation for retail and wholesale of agricultural products, retail of handcrafts and artisan items, agricultural education instruction, demonstration of the production of furniture/glassware, and the restaurant are 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. through 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The eight events that Chamard is allowed to host per year must be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Other conditions dealt with the winery's warehouse building, wine tasting building, existing manager's building, and other general areas of Chamard.

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