Portland gets new juice. Winery to open tasting room

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Cellardoor at the Point will feature wine and food pairings. Open windows will create a seasonal alfresco like ambiance

Forget circus acts, Thompson Point’s newest tenant aims to put wine and food under the big top. Joining the Circus Conservatory of America in Portland’s rapidily changing industrial park is Cellardoor Winery of Lincolnville.

The midcoast winery plans to usher in a California-style wine and food experience to Maine’s largest city next year. No clowning around.

“I have announced it really early,”  said Bettina Doulton, owner of a growing wine and food empire, which includes Cellardoor at Home, a line of gourmet sauces and jams. “I saw a raw, brick space that with the right flooring can turn into an open space with all new windows … it’s a beautiful palette.”

When Cellardoor at the Point opens next winter/spring, guests can expect “complimentary tastings, a place to buy a glass of wine, get a little education, entertainment and learn about wine and food in a nice relaxing place,” said Doulton, who will sell her wines and gourmet goods in this 5,000-square-foot emporium.

Wine and food pairings and culinary-focused events (she may go all Napa on us and hire an in-house chef) is the focus for her newest venture. She is not simply duplicating her midcoast magnet, but creating “an approachable experience to learn about wine and enjoy it. There is such wonderful energy on the food and wine side in Portland. I want this to be a place for tourist and locals to come and enjoy.”

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Cellardoor tasting room in Lincolnville

Looking out over the Fore River, the network of long abandoned buildings no longer seems like an island at sea. With the announcement of a new outdoor music venue and hotel, Thompson Point is on point.

“The Portland peninsula only has so much space,” said Sarah Delisle, an associate broker with Vitaluis Real Estate Group. “As real estate becomes more desirable and more expensive for businesses it causes other close neighborhoods, like East Bayside and now Thompson Point, to develop.”

As rents go up in Portland, increasing more than 5 percent a year according to Delisle, “in order to keep growing a desirable Portland development is inevitable.”

And Doulton is a canny player. Before buying the winery in 2007, she had a 21-year career at Fidelity Investments. If she is betting on Thompson Point, might be a good time to put in for a condo now. What, no condos are planned? No worries. TBD.

Known for high-wattage events —she brought Chaka Khan and Salt-N-Pepa to the midcoast for her Vinfests — Doulton’s Cellardoor south will be a shot of adrenalin for this new zone. Her two year search lead her here.

“It should be fun. I’m glad I kept looking,” she said. “Lincolnville is so special, it’s a wonderful destination type place, but these neat old brick buildings feel really good.”

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.