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Winery to open in Higgins Armory

BY Zachary Comeau

1/14/2019
Photo | Courtesy
Photo | Courtesy
Sail to Trail WineWorks hopes to open in the Higgins Armory in April.

Craft beer seems to be all the rage, with dozens of new breweries opening every year in Massachusetts, with new wineries few and far between.
Chris Simpson hopes to change that story by opening a winery in a 1,200-square-foot space in the Higgins Armory in Worcester.
Simpson is calling his company Sail to Trail WineWorks, which will develop wines via partnerships with vineyards on the West Coast and in Texas. The products will then be shipped to the Worcester tasting room and bottled for the wine drinker’s kitchen table.
According to Simpson, an engineer by trade, there is a huge demand for wine in the area, and in general.
Craft breweries are opening in seemingly every Central Massachusetts town, but not everybody is a fan of heavy New England IPAs, or any kind of beer. 
“I know a lot of people that really prefer wine over beer,” he said. “I look at this as an unfulfilled demand for locally-sourced bottled wine.”
Simpson has no professional background in wine, but was introduced to the industry after interviewing with a company with an executive who sat on the board of directors for a winery.
“I became curious and started peeling back the layers of the wine industry,” he said.
Aside from the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton and a handful of smaller wineries in the state, there aren’t many options for the local wine drinker in Central Massachusetts.
Initially, Simpson hopes to offer five labels and three varietals, including a premium Cabernet Sauvignon and chardonnay and reserves of the same kind.
Simpson is also eyeing zinfandel and pinot noir.
Despite the notion the wine business will compete with craft beer, Simpson is taking a page out of the brewery taproom vibe for the tasting room, which he said is envisioned as a laid-back atmosphere for customers to learn about the product.
“It really, more than anything, lets me get to know my customers,” he said.  

The winery is expected to open in April, Simpson said.