Warm Lake Estate Vineyard and Winery, the shuttered winery that helped launch the Niagara Region Wine Trail's renaissance, could have a new owner by noon on Friday.
The property on which the Cambria vineyard sits will be auctioned during a mortgage foreclosure sale slated for 10 a.m. Friday at the Niagara County Courthouse.
Mortgage holders Jerome Adner and Dr. Andrew Cappuccino are hoping for a sale price of at least $140,000 to recoup $120,000 owed for the mortgage and $16,000 for past due real estate taxes. Adner and Cappuccino, an orthopedic surgeon, were among many investors in the failed winery, which closed last summer.
Raymond Fink, a partner with Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, represents the mortgage holders in the sale.
"We'll see how the bidding goes, but presumably there will be a tentative new owner after the sale," he says.
The new owner could end up with multiple properties: Fink says several existing winery owners from the Niagara region have been inquiring about the 46-acre site on Lower Mountain Road.
Michael VonHeckler, who was the managing partner of Warm Lake, started the vineyard in 2000, planting Pinot Noir grapes on two acres. By 2004, he was producing 30,000 bottles of wine and sold out its entire 2005 vintage. The vineyard had problems in recent years, with VonHeckler closing the winery last summer.
VonHeckler did not return calls seeking comment.