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IDA to grant tax breaks for winery expansion

Winery expansion

This provided sketch shows where Adirondack Winery's new 11,000-square-foot building housing its winemaking operation would be located on its Big Bay Road property in Queensbury. The Warren-Washington IDA is planning to give tax breaks for the project.

QUEENSBURY — A plan to expand Adirondack Winery’s production facility in Queensbury is getting a boost, as a local economic development agency plans to award tax breaks for the project.

The Warren-Washington Industrial Development Agency is holding a virtual public hearing on Dec. 4 to grant property tax and sales tax exemptions for the business, which has its headquarters at 395 Big Bay Road.

Co-owner Sasha Pardy appeared virtually before the board on Nov. 16 to present the plan. She said that the company has outgrown its space.

“We have significant demand to expand our wholesale distribution to downstate New York and other states,” she said.

She said the business has a severe lack of production and storage space at its current facility. Twelve of the company’s wines are selling out sooner than expected. In addition, the Queensbury location and two other tasting rooms in Bolton and Queensbury see a lot of visitors, according to Pardy.

“A lack of wine tasting and retail space has caused us to turn away large groups and shoppers, and we cannot accommodate all the customers at peak times,” she said.

Adirondack Winery is planning to construct an 11,000-square-foot building on its 2-acre campus. Pardy said this would include about 9,300 square feet of production space and 1,800 square feet of retail space and a tasting room. There would also be administrative offices and bathroom and outdoor green space.

She said construction would begin in March 2021 with occupancy in August 2021.

The business has 23 full-time equivalent employees. The nearly $2.38 million project would create seven full-time jobs and six part-time jobs within two years, according to Pardy.

The company is seeking tax breaks because of the high cost of inventory, according to Pardy. Wines take six months to three years to age before they can be sold.

Pardy said if the company did not receive the tax breaks, the scope of the project would have to be reduced.

“We also would be faced with a competitive weakness and increased risk,” she said. “Without the financial assistance, we would not be able to meet our current growth (target) and expand to new markets.”

Kara Lais, attorney for the IDA, said Adirondack Winery is eligible for a sales tax exemption of about $47,000 and mortgage tax exemption of $10,000.

The business would also receive a property tax exemption of 100% of the assessed value of new construction for the first five years and 50% for the next five years. Lais said that would amount to about $233,000 in tax savings.

The board was enthusiastic about the project.

Michael Bittel, president of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and an IDA board member, said Adirondack Winery has been very supportive of the community.

“They really care about our area and these are the folks that we need to help to keep growing and keep jobs coming into our area,” he said.

The company has done fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

It puts on the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons in Lake George in June, but the event had to be canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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