Two Brothers Wine clears initial hurdles for move to Richfield
Business would be in vacant half of downtown post office building

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

Sept. 8, 2017

Jim Heyden of Richfield walks out of the United States Post Office Wednesday afternoon near a vacant side of the building in Richfield. The Two Brothers Wine business that operates in Pewaukee is showing interest in moving into the vacant part of the building.
John Ehlke/Daily News


RICHFIELD — A Pewaukee business is two steps closer to a permanent move to the village’s downtown.

The Richfield Plan Commission Thursday night recommended approval of a conditional use permit and a plan of operation for Two Brothers Wine which is looking to move from its Pewaukee location to 1925 Highway 175 in the vacant half of the post office building. The company, which is owned by brothers Joe and Henry Gutmann and Peter Laundre, has been making wine for nearly 20 years and has operated from a Pewaukee location for about 10 years.

“We are running out of room at the Pewaukee location and the space in Richfield will give us that needed space so we can produce more wine.” Laundre said.

Village Administrator Jim Healy said a large portion of the new space in Richfield will be used to produce more wine.

“Other areas will be used for wine tasting and for a retail art gallery,” Healy said.

The three owners are already working inside the new space they will be leasing in Richfield preparing and remodeling the building to their needs.

“It would be great if we could be open before Christmas, but realistically we probably won’t be able to open until some time in January,” Joe Gutmann said.

Healy the business gets its grapes primarily from wine country on the east and west coasts and is bottled on site after the fermenting process.

“On average they bottle 11,000 bottles of wine annually (less than 25,000 gallons) and have distributorships all over the state,” Healy said. “The produce several fruit wines as well as red and which wines each year.”

The Plan Commission gave unanimous approval to conditional use permit and the plan of operation.

There were questions raised about how much water the business may use and the impact on nearby wells. Dr. Douglas Cherkauer, the long-time consultant behind Richfield’s groundwater monitoring program said “the proposed winery is an appropriate occupant of the vacant space from a groundwater perspective.”

“It will only have a negligible impact on the water levels in the wells of the adjoining properties,” Cherkauer said. Healy told the Commission “the water demand for this operation is far less than that for a typical single family home.

Commissioners were pleased with the business’s proposal.

“This really fits into what we were looking to happen when we rezoned the downtown,” said Commissioner Bob Berghammer. “It should fit right in — it’s what we were really hoping for.”

To better understand the business’s operation Healy visited the Two Brothers Wine location in Pewaukee in August.

“Their wine-making room was immaculately clean, bordering on surgical cleanliness,” Healy said. “As the business owners stated, ‘bacteria is the enemy of wine.’”