Burned Winery Sells Again

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Rising from the ashes, Miletta Vista Winery held its first post-fire sale Saturday. Mick and Loretta McDowell have been working to rebuild since a fire destroyed both their home and their business in late June.

"We have such a beautiful view out here on top of the hill that it never even really occurred to us to not rebuild something here," Mick McDowell said.

The winery was able to salvage about 800 bottles, which they put on sale this weekend. Customers like Stephanie Anderson wasted no time getting to Miletta Vista right when doors opened at 1 p.m.

"The wine is just amazing. We started coming here as soon as they opened," said Anderson, who had been at the winery the night of the fire.

The owners said construction will continue through the winter, and they plan on re-opening the second weekend of March. It's a date that long-time patrons said they will have marked on their calendars.

"It's going to be nice to have it back, to have our favorite hangout back. Favorite place to go and take friends for dinner and wine, it'll just be great to have it back," said Betty Carlson, who noted that her family used to go to the winery every weekend.

"It's amazing and we're so looking forward to the day that they re-open," added Anderson.

This weekend also marks the winery's fifth anniversary, which the McDowells said they couldn't have reached without their community's support.

"We really appreciate everybody's support, everybody's encouragement. We've had so many people across the state of Nebraska asking, "When are you re-opening?" "I love this wine, I love that wine," and that really means a lot," Mick McDowell said.

And the McDowells said, from here, they can only grow and get better.

The winery will be selling what's left of their 2011 wines until they're sold out, and the owners said they hope to start bottling their 2012 wines in mid- or late-December.