“A Train Station Tasting” is being billed by the Vineyard and Winery Association of West Georgia as a “soft opening” for the 1882 depot once used by the Savannah, Griffin and North Alabama Railroad. The tasting will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the large warehouse section of the Bradley Street building.
Jessica Reynolds, executive director of Carrollton Main Street, said the wine tasting will be “kind of a trial run” to help the city plan future activities at the train depot.
“We’re not booking anything there until January,” Reynolds said. “We’re still in the middle of trying to figure out costs of having events there, and until we get it nailed down we won’t set a price.”
Carrollton City Manager Casey Coleman said this first depot event comes a little earlier than he expected, but he believes the renovation work will be completed in time.
“They (wine association) understand there may be a few loose ends,” Coleman said. “It will certainly be finished enough for them to use and we’re really as excited about it as they are.”
He said if inmate crews can finish the inside work early enough, it may be possible to pave the outside parking lot, which would provide about 30 parking spaces.
In the meantime, the city is considering some kind of shuttle service for the wine tasting. Attendees are being asked to park in the lot on Bradley Street, across from City Hall, or at the two downtown parking decks.
Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner said in September that the total renovation cost of the 9,500-square-foot train depot should be about $1.5 million or less, far below the original estimate of $4-6 million. He said the savings are due to using inmate labor.
The front passenger area will be heated and air conditioned, while the back warehouse area will not. The back area has large doors on both sides which can help keep the area cool except during hot weather. The new metal roof has 3-4 inches of insulation and the plywood flooring has been laid, with tongue and groove pine on top.
“We can visualize the building being used for such things as a farmers market, wedding receptions or civic club meetings,” Garner said. “The front area has a warming kitchen.”
Residents tried for nearly two decades to get possession of the old train depot, known as the Bradley Street Station. Passenger service to the depot stopped in the 1960s, although the building continued to be used for freight service into the 1980s.
The railroad originally wanted $1 million for the depot, but the city worked out a deal in which the it took over maintenance of the nearby wooden Croft Street bridge over the railroad tracks in exchange for the depot.
The Friends of the Carrollton Depot, with about 240 members, was formed to act in an advisory capacity on the project.
The Nov. 9 event will be “a tasting of wines produced from the same grape varieties that our West Georgia members are now growing,” said the wine association’s CEO, Doug Mabry. “These wines will include Blanc Du Bois, Lenoir and Norton. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by the Little Hawaiian Restaurant.
Mabry said the first crops of West Georgia grapes will be harvested next year and wine produced in the fall. These particular kinds of American Heritage hybrid grapes are being grown here since the French variety of grapes don’t do well in this area.
The tasting event will also include sales of $20 raffle tickets and a drawing for a Savannah vacation for two.
In conjunction with this Friday event, Mabry said the association will hold a free Saturday symposium, with speakers, workshops and field demonstrations, at the AG Center.
Admission for the wine tasting will be $35 for singles and $60 for couples. Pre-registration is required by Nov. 5.
Registration, with cash or check, can be made at the Kevin Drummond law office, 410 Tanner St., Carrollton, or Southeastern Quilt Museum, 306 Bradley St., Carrollton.
Check payments can also be mailed to the AG Center, 900 Newnan Road, Carrollton, GA 30117. Checks should be made payable to: Vineyard and Winery Association.
Payment can also be made by PayPal to the Vineyard and Winery Association, online at www.vinewinewga.com.
More information on the wine tasting is available at the Vineyard and Winery Association webpage, or by calling 770-836-8546.