Here’s a novel idea: wine drinking should be fun and easy, without any attitude. The über-friendly folks at Old Town Cellars wouldn’t have it any other way, as evidenced by the cozy, down-to-earth vibe at its après bar and lounge on lower Main Street. Think chalkboard art, a wall of skis, and a tasting room overlooking the production area where resident winemakers can be seen hard at work.
It’s been all hands on deck since the get-go, with founders—and born-and-raised locals—Stephen MacKay and Jason Morgan working alongside friends and staff to bottle, pack, pour, and entertain guests. Pulling 10- to 12-hour days yields 5 or 6 pallets (56 cases) of wine—everything from Snowbunny Syrah and Old Town Outlaw to Mountain Town White and Townie Rosé—the bulk of which travels to the Utah Department of Beverage Control (UDABC) and local restaurants. The remainder is sold in-house or shipped direct to consumers. “For us, OTC is and always has been about using wine to bring people together,” explains Morgan. “It’s been amazing to be able to start a small business in our hometown and give back to the community that shaped who we are today.”
It all began three years ago, when MacKay, who’d worked at New Zealand wineries, Montage Laguna Beach, and Stein Eriksen Lodge, sat down with Morgan, who’d been running a restaurant group in Lake Tahoe. They literally wrote up a business plan on a napkin, and OTC was born. Although their grapes aren’t grown in Utah, the OTC team has their hands on the entire process, harvesting and crushing at a winery in Oregon before blending back home, which gives them the ability to sell on Sundays. That’s not a misprint. You can actually buy to-go bottles of wine at Old Town Cellars—in Utah—on Sundays, when the liquor stores are closed. Cheers.
Old Town Cellars (890 Main St, 435.649.3759, otcwines.com) serves vino as well as beer and spirits alongside locally sourced nibbles starting at 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at noon on Sunday.