FAIRFIELD BEACH – Matthew Norton is a busy man. The sales and operations manager for the Buckeye Lake Winery was unloading pallets of wine Tuesday afternoon, preparing the brand new facility for a July 3 opening. “We’ll be working overnight,” he said. “This is music and wine weekend,” said Carol Thress, general manager. She said the winery will feature live music all weekend beginning with Chris Gill and Reid Coleman July 3, Forcynthia July 4, Second Story July 5, and Gayla Smith and Sticks & Stones July 6. Thress said the official ribbon cutting is set for July 11 in conjunction with a Licking County Chamber of Commerce after-hours event. The Buckeye Lake Winery is one of the only wineries locally (and possibly the only) with boat access, featuring slips for more than 35 boats, and is located between Compass Point and Crescent Cove. “I’ve always had a passion for good food and great wine,” said owner Tracy Higginbotham. “Now, after spending over 20 years in Corporate America, I’ve chosen to shift gears and turn my love of food and wine into a legacy for my family.”As a fan of the Napa Valley wines, Higgenbotham consults with Napa Valley vintner Johns Edwards. He’s blending Buckeye Lake Winery wines at the facility and he plans to begin growing his own grapes in spring. Beacon photo by Scott Rawdon.
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