Country Heritage Winery & Vineyard is a major Morton Buildings commercial facility in the unincorporated community of LaOtto, Indiana, just a 25-minute drive from Fort Wayne. Since the original construction in 2011, owner Jeremy Lutter has built two additions to bring the total square footage to more than 15,000.
Jeremy’s initial building vision was for a small agricultural facility. A meeting between Jeremy and a Morton sales consultant resulted in a modification to his plans.
“We were already thinking about drawing this up,” Jeremy said of the winery. “The state and the county wanted to see pictures and (the sales consultant) drew me up something right away. I liked the drawings, I liked some of his ideas and I liked the prices.”
“Long story short, we went from having a small farm building to a large commercial building.”
The exterior of the building features Morton's Hi-Rib Steel, cupolas, more than 300 feet of wrap-around porches, wainscot, windows with shutters and Morton's Energy Performer insulation package.
“We wanted the rustic look with the porches,” Jeremy said. “I wanted that old-fashioned barn feel but yet still an easy to clean, easy to maintain building. I think they pulled it off for me with the steel siding and the wainscoting and some of the windows they put in. It was nice. It just looks like something you would see out in the country as a farm building.”
In all, three separate construction projects make up the building. The expansion has resulted in several changes to the layout of the facility. The current setup features a 81'W x 16'H x 120'L production area, a walk-in kitchen, two pump rooms with glycol chillers and a walk-in cooler that can be set anywhere from 28 to 40 degrees.
“After the (original) building was done, there were no questions (to expand) after that,” Jeremy said of his decision to build again with Morton. “I loved the way the building looked, I loved the way everything was handled … I called up my (sales consultant), he came out and we met. Literally within three or four months, the (expansion) was underway.”
While the expansion was critical to the business’s operation, the appearance of the additional building space was important Jeremy. He wanted the additions to be as seamless and unnoticeable as possible.
“I think most of the people that come here can’t believe that these buildings were actually added on. They look like it was planned out. It looks like it was built all at one time. That’s something that I really wanted to happen.”
Another key component of the operation is the barrel-aging room.
“When we first started putting that in, I had that vision in my head before we even had a place to put it,” Jeremy explained. “I just wanted a room that we could age wine for not only a show piece, but to have a wine library … where we could keep our best wines for years at certain temperatures. Those rooms are insulated very well. They cool very well.
“The wine bottle-aging room holds about 9,000 bottles we can use for aging. Hopefully some of that stuff will be here in about 10 or 12 years so we can actually see how it aged.”
With two major expansions already complete, it’s easy to speculate Jeremy would being adding on again.
“If we added on again, and we probably will in the future, yes, I’m definitely going to look into Morton for a few reasons. They know my facility. They know my vision. They know what I want it to look like … if you want a quality building that looks like this, absolutely I would recommend Morton to do that.”
Jeremy praised the versatility of his Morton building. Morton’s post-frame, clear-span construction model allowed him to build a facility and create an environment for his business to thrive.
“Some of the things we’ve heard from our customers and even some of the people in the local area when they first walk in – they can’t believe this is a pole barn. People think of a pole barn and you think of an old, run-down, shoddily built building. But you can turn it into a lot of different things. (It’s) easy to add on to, easy to maintain and well-built.”
“A lot of the customers, when they walk in and see it, they’re truly blown away by the detail that you can have in a pole barn. It’s a beautiful-looking building.”