BZA tables winery production request, so the latest news about River City Winery’s future isn’t much clearer than the last update.


At this point, seemingly nothing about River City Winery’s future seems clear. The last update came in late February.

River City Winery: “We are exploring the relocation of our entire operation to another part of Southern Indiana.”

Beats me. As for winemaking in a pole barn off Old Vincennes Road: NIMBY, at least so far.

New Albany BZA tables request for River City Winery production site, by Brooke McAfee (Tom May Content Multiplier)

NEW ALBANY—The future of River City Winery remains up in the air after a Tuesday zoning appeals meeting.

The New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-0 to table a motion on a land use variance regarding River City Winery proprietor Gary Humphrey’s request to use his home at 1800 Old Vincennes Road in New Albany for wine production. Board members Marcia Booker and Steven Schmelz were absent from the meeting.

The River City Winery location on 321 Pearl Street in New Albany has been closed for months, and Humphrey is going through possible liquidation of the property with his ex-wife, he said. If the liquidation occurs, he would like to acquire a farm winery license for Old Vincennes Road and maintain the winery’s tasting room in Franklin.

He also grows grapes at a vineyard in Washington County. However, if he loses the Pearl Street facility, he will not have enough space for wine production, so he wants to use the Old Vincennes Road property until he finds another location.

“If [liquidation] happens, River City winery will not have a place to go,” he said. “This plan is a backup plan.”

Humphrey is also looking at three other locations in Jeffersonville, Seymour and Evansville for additional tasting rooms, he said. If approved, the land use variance for the Old Vincennes Road property would be temporary, and it would need to last about three years.

While he is considering presenting private events and tours, there are no plans to create a tasting room or restaurant at his property on Old Vincennes Road. He hopes to move the wine production to a pole barn and plant additional grapes on the property, where he would be the only operator for the most part, he said.

At the meeting, a number of residents voiced opposition to Humphrey’s request to move his wine production into a residential area. Several expressed concerns about agricultural runoff, including the use of pesticides and fungicides for the grapes.

Many discussed safety concerns regarding traffic and speeding on Old Vincennes Road. Susan Johnson Nguyen, who lives near Humphrey’s property, said she is concerned about the “integrity of the neighborhood,” and she does not want to see any kind of business operation in the area.

Board members cited the absence of two members and the need for additional information as reasons to table Humphrey’s request. Board member Daniel Riggs said he would like to have input from New Albany’s wastewater department about possible waste issues before making a decision.