Janine Aquino purchased Camelot Cellars in January and plans to relaunch the boutique winery, located at 958 N. High St. in the Short North, next month.
Aquino had been consulting the winery since November and when it went up for sale, the serial entrepreneur and fourth generation wine professional jumped at the chance to buy. Though Camelot Cellars will continue to sell wines by the glass, by the bottle, and in flights, the winery’s look and feel will be distinctly different.
“We are redesigning the space to showcase that we are a real working winery, adding many wine-related pieces, adding touches of Tuscan and French wine culture,” Aquino says.
It will also feature custom tables that are locally made, as well as an extended wine bar and a larger event space.
“We are opening up a room that will be used for food that can be brought in by customers, whether they make it themselves or have it catered in,” she says. “This will allow for more seating in the event space room. It is used for bachelorette parties, anniversary parties, corporate team building events, fundraisers, birthday parties, and more.”
After the redesign, the winery will be able to accommodate 100 to 125 people.
Camelot Cellars currently makes more than 60 wines, 10 of which have won 19 medals (10 bronze, eight silver, and one gold for the winery’s 2009 Montagnac Syrah/Mourvedre) in 2011 alone.
“I knew we had great wines being aged and it takes someone who understands wine to know which to enter and where,” Aquino says.
So far, the biggest challenge she’s faced as a business owner is taking on staff she did not train herself or who were not trained as they should have been.
“I work with them every day on teaching them about customer service, putting guidelines in place, adding structure, team building and staying close, working with them hand in hand,” she says.
Aquino wants the people who walk through Camelot Cellars’ doors to learn a thing or two, as well.
“A big part of the Camelot experience is to educate customers about wine, winemaking, and related wine topics,” she says. “I want customers to leave having a bit more knowledge that they did when they came in and to also feel some relief from the day by making them feel welcome.”
The Camelot Cellars grand reopening reception will take place July 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will include live entertainment and hors d’oeuvres from Edible Columbus, Food Embrace, and other local food purveyors.
Guests will have the opportunity to purchase wine by the glass at special prices and a drawing will be held for a Camelot Cellars winemaking experience valued at $200.
The reception is open to the public and valet service will be available for guests.
To learn more about Camelot Cellars, visit CamelotCellars.com.