Vineyard Estates finally set to break ground
BAXTER – An upscale housing development that’s set to surround one of the Upper Cumberland’s most popular wineries is finally ready to break ground.
Construction is scheduled to begin sometime this month on the 23-lot Vineyard Estates, which will surround DelMonaco Winery in Baxter. To date, four lots in the development have been sold. The first round of building will include two of those homes.
Overall, the development will be higher-scale; the homes themselves will mostly be Tuscan style, 2,300-2,500 square feet. All underground utilities are in place, and all the lots, which vary from a half an acre to two acres in size, are vineyard facing, a major and unique selling point, owner Barbara DelMonaco said.
“There certainly aren’t too many homes that can be built around a vineyard, so that’s really what sets us apart,” she said. “Of the lots that have been sold, three (buyers) are from out of state. All the other lots are ready for sale.”
The development has been years in the making. The DelMonacos – Barbara and her husband David – first opened their winery in 2008 but had planned the housing development – to complement the vineyards and banquet hall – even before that. But the project hit some snags.
First, there was a lawsuit brought on by the Nashville & Eastern Railroad in 2008. The suit alleged that the DelMonacos had damaged the nearby railroad by channeling water toward and placing gravel on the tracks, plus, the railroad contended, heavy trucks could further damage the crossing on Lance Drive, the only access point to DelMonaco Winery and Vineyard Estates.
The dispute was settled in 2009. Then the economy tanked.
“That was probably our biggest delay, absolutely,” DelMonaco said. “But we have seen an overall rise in construction, and it seems like things are getting better. We’re getting more calls (about the remaining lots). My hope would be to have the Estates built up in the next two years.”
The first two homes will be built by DelMonaco Construction, but the development is open to other builders, she said. One is a custom home, and the other a spec house that will be showcased at this year’s Parade of Homes, an annual tour of newly constructed and remodeled homes hosted by the Home Builders Association of the Upper Cumberland. That event is scheduled for Aug. 22-23.
“The spec house will be for sale, and people will get the view it during the Parade of Homes,” she said. “It really will be a showpiece.”
Besides the project’s obvious economy impact, there’s also a possible ancillary effect for the winery itself. Not only has the railroad become more of an asset over the years – train tours depart from Nashville several times a year, bringing visitors right to the DelMonaco’s doors – the housing addition could only mean more business at the tasting room.
“We’re excited,” DelMonaco said. “I think it’s just going up from here.”