Conversation With Marcus Partin: Wine Enthusiast to Wine Village Developer

(Today I talk with Marcus Partin about the upcoming Shasta Wine Village development. For more about Partin, go to the very bottom of this interview.)

Q: Hi, Marcus. I hear you’re the guy with the vision and plan for the Shasta Wine Village. I know you’re crazy-busy, so we are extra appreciative that you took time to talk with us. But if there’s any group who would warm up to this idea, it’s anewscafe.com readers, because so many of us are into food and wine.
I saw the Shasta Wine Village Facebook page and your website where the Shasta Wine Village is described as “poised to emerge as a premier destination of good taste.”

I’m intrigued. This sounds almost too good to be true. What can you tell anewscafe.com readers about your vision for the Shasta Wine Village?

Picture a centrally located, all inclusive community of the finest winemakers in our region. All offering their own individual flavors, wines, taste and style, within a common location. People will be able to make one stop and spend the day enjoying the different sights, smells and tastes of the North State. Families traveling have a place to stop and eat, explore and let their pets run. Locals can enjoy great dining alternatives from breakfast to dinner. Special events will be planned both by The Village and the individual wineries. Imagine music, art and culture incorporated with an easily accessible location that is designed around the concept of great taste.

Q: So it’s not a village, as in people will actually live there, but a “village” where people can taste wines, and shop and eat, right? (Although speaking for myself, I wouldn’t mind living in a wine village. But I digress.)

While some tasting villages actually do offer lodging incorporated into their concept, Shasta Wine Village focuses on wine education, dining and specialty shopping. From casual dining with artisan baked goods, fine dining offering unique wine pairings, and featured regional goods in the Village Store, such as olives, oils, nuts and fruits. There is something for every taste.

Q: How long has this plan been in the works?

We began the entitlement and design process over two years ago. Moving ahead with any sort of development in this economy is a challenge, but it seemed the right time for a big move like this. We have diligently worked through the engineering and design process prior to submittal to the County a few months ago.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of the Shasta Wine Village?

Being somewhat of a wine enthusiast myself, I visited several places based on the village concept and realized what a great match it was for our area. After discovering some of the hidden wineries in our foothills, its seemed a natural way to bring that great wine to a much larger audience.

The concept is centered around making the connection between the winery and consumer. Typically, tourists who visit a Wine Village have higher education, higher income than average and stay longer. Since 2000 wine tourism spending has increased more than 12 fold. The industry is really in its infancy, and will have dramatic growth over the next decade, offering long-term economic impact for the area. California attracts 20.7 million wine tourists a year, most spending money while visiting. If you combine that with the existing 3 million visitors that come to Shasta Cascade itself, as well as over 930,000 people that travel through the area each month, it quickly shows the opportunity available here.

Q: Do you already have wineries, restaurants and retailers on board with the Shasta Wine Village? Can you disclose any names?

We do have a number of reservations already committed. We are announcing more in the coming weeks, but notably, Moseley Family Cellars  and Dakaro Cellars are moving full steam ahead with their decision to participate, as well as our casual dining option; From the Hearth Bakery & Café , that will have everything from French omelets & other breakfast items, artisan breads and gourmet coffee drinks to sandwiches, their homemade soups, salads and hot lunch items.

Q: And the location, why there? Will it technically be considered Mountain Gate?

Being at an I-5 interchange with excellent visibility, access and being located between the City of Redding and Shasta Lake, it was a natural fit for this project. The location does not have a lot of other development, yet offers easy on and off access to the interstate. Included in the design are RV parking and pet areas, picnic facilities, fine and casual dining, as well as the great proximity to the recreational areas. While it’s the Mountain Gate Exit, our address is technically Redding.

Q: I imagine you’ve visited other wine villages, right? What are they like? How will the Shasta Wine Village compare with the others?

One of the fun parts of pre-development was touring various wine village-type developments with tasting rooms, wineries and other amenities. Then, finding the design elements in each that would transfer to our area, picking out the very best ideas and incorporating their experience and success into our plans for Shasta Wine Village. We’ve taken hundreds of photos, learned from their successes and mistakes, met a few new friends and enjoyed some great wine along the way. The more I learned and experienced, the more I became certain this would be a success here at home.

Q: Any drawings you want to show us?

Q: Pretty impressive layout. (Readers, you can either click Ctrl + to enlarge the map, or click on the Shasta Wine Village website for a better view of the map. And here’s something that anewscafe.com readers, in particular, will find interesting: The Shasta Wine Village logo, located in the upper left side of the map, was created by Phil Fountain, proving, once again, that he’s more than just a funny guy. He’s a talented artist, too.)

But back to your plan. Marcus, you’ve kept a pretty good secret about this development for some time, but now that the cork’s out of the bottle, so to speak, what are people’s reactions – generally speaking?

I am happy to say it has been exclusively positive. People are very excited about the cultural, social and economic benefits of a project of this magnitude.

Q: Will there actually be a vineyard on the property? Can wine grapes grow in Mountain Gate soil?

The great thing about the North State in relation to growing grapes are the micro-climates. There are few grapes found around the world that can’t be grown in some capacity in a pocket of the area. We will include vineyards that are working, producing vines. This will also add the ability to see pruning, growing and round out the wine education experience.

Q: Can you talk about this project in terms of money, such as the financial scope, both in terms of investments needed to see this development to fruition, as well as projections in terms as what this may mean with regard to North State employment and revenue?

This project has the potential to impact so many aspects of the economy. Not only the wineries that participate, but the food service industry, the hotels and lodging, Turtle Bay, local retailers, and virtually every tourist-based business in the area.

Jobs will be created in an area previously fairly barren. Statistics show that 60 percent of visitors to wine villages make purchases. That’s a huge amount. The goal is to turn the millions of cars that travel Interstate 5 into economy stimulators; reinforcing that Redding is a destination instead of a place to stop for gas and fast food on your way somewhere else.

Q: What’s been done thus far to move this project forward? And what are the next biggest steps?

Right now, after a year and a half of planning we are completing final studies required by Shasta County, including traffic, environmental impact, air quality and lots more. While we did extensive advance engineering work to accelerate process, it is still a lengthy approval process. We hope to have the green light within the next few months.

Q: From ground-breaking to completion, what’s your ETA for the Shasta Wine Village’s opening?

Engineers estimate a year from ground-breaking to opening. I feel like that’s fairly realistic, while I would like to see it happen faster, we want it to be perfect. With the current state of the economy, especially in the building and construction trades, we might surprise a few people.

Q: What else would you like us to know?

Although we anticipate 10-12 wineries from our region, we intend to include a few others from the West Trinity, Lodi and Sierra Foothills regions. The restaurants for The Village are being chosen due to their own market appeal, menu and track record.

We carefully chose the Bakery/Deli café from several similar concepts and they bring an excellent reputation of great food, beverages and service. The fine dining restaurant is not envisioned as a “chain” type, but rather excellent regional cuisine, with inside and outside dining, also as its own draw.

Thank you, Marcus. And good luck. Please feel free to stop by often to update us.

Who is Marcus Partin?: Managing Partner, Marcus Partin, first became involved in area business endeavors over 12 years ago and became a full time resident of Shasta county in 2007. Mr. Partin owns Western Resource Partners, Inc./MyLand.US and its real estate brokerage affiliate Realty Services Group, Inc. in California and Oregon. Western currently has four major projects in the Redding area, but declined comment at this time on all except the Shasta Wine Village.

Partin has both owned and been in senior management of nationally recognized firms offering real estate originated investment securities over his 30 year carrier. Locally Mr. Partin was appointed to the City of Redding City Charter Committee, and currently is serving his second year of an appointment as a commissioner for the City of Redding Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), as well as the Friends of the Civic Auditorium Planning Board.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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