EARLIER: Southville says yes to winery

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Special election will allow vineyard to expand

By Lisa King

Ferenc Vegh and Lisa Davis had been anxiously awaiting a special election for their winery that took place Tuesday, and the community of Southville didn't let them down.

Precinct officer Vivian Lisby said that about 175 voters turned out to cast their votes, with an overwhelming majority - approximately 130 - voting in favor of allowing Vegh-Davis Vineyard to open as a winery near Southville.

"We had a really good turn out," Lisby said.

This special, local-option election was necessary in the Southville Precinct (B-101) to give the statutory approval for their enterprise, which is located at 5916 Hempridge Road.

Now Vegh and Davis will be able to start building a winery to go with the vineyard they established last year.

Vegh was unavailable for comment soon after the polls closed, but earlier in the day, he said he was optimistic about a positive result.

"We feel real good about it," he said. "We've had a lot of positive feedback, in fact people have been unbelievably supportive." 

Vegh-Davis will become Shelby County's second winery. Talon Winery, which won similar approval in 2008, opened on Gordon Lane earlier this year.

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger recently expressed enthusiasm for Vegh-Davis's efforts.

"It would be real exciting for Shelby County to be able to add a second winery," he said. "Wineries are a definite asset to any community; they are class organizations."

Vegh and Davis planted 3,500 vines on 5 acres last May, including two varieties of white grapes, traminettes and vignoles, which are hybrid French-American grapes, somewhere close to the middle between sweet and dry.

Vegh's family is from Hungary and still operates a vineyard in there, as it has been doing for more than 1,000 years.

Vegh and Davis were required to submit a petition with at least 146 names of voters who cast ballots in last November's election. Their petition contained 149 names, which is equal to 25 percent of the registered voters in the Southville precinct.