WillowsAwake Winery owner Tony Lyons is making wine in small quantities while his tasting room and production areas are being built on 67 acres in Leeds. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

LEEDS — An Auburn family plans to open WillowsAwake Winery this fall, after three years in the making and planting nearly 5,000 grape vines.

WillowsAwake Winery owner Tony Lyons purchased 1½ tons of grapes from Boothby’s Orchard in Livermore to make the wines that are currently fermenting. The grapes that Lyons planted in 2018 can be harvested in three years. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover) (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slov

Operations Manager Wade Faulkingham said Thursday that it took some time to find just the right land, 67 acres on Leeds Junction Road, and then time to line up all the right permits.

The owner is Tony Lyons, Faulkingham’s stepfather.

“My brother, Aaron, handles our website,” Faulkingham said. “My sister-in-law Darcy is going to school for wine-making; I’m taking courses in the same thing as well. We’ve gone from the ground up.”

A tasting room and winery production building are under construction with a third building being started in May.

In 2012, the family planted eight varieties of cold-hardy grapes at its Green Nubble Farm in Auburn to start testing what would grow well in this climate, according to WillowsAwake’s website.

They plan to make white and red wines.

Faulkingham said they liked the Leeds property because of its location next to Route 202, commercial zoning, access to power and plenty of space. Of the 67 acres, 37 are wooded, 30 are open fields of which eight are planted.

They have several areas picked out to host outdoor weddings for up to 200 people, also starting this fall.

“There’s a spot in the woods with open pines, there’s one on a hill,” said Victoria Wilson, Faulkingham’s girlfriend, who works there as well. “The winery will have an indoor event space, whether that’s a barn feel or not, it might be a little bit more modern than that.”

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Winery owner Tony Lyons said his rows of grapes were planted in a manner that takes full advantage of a day’s worth of sun. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Codey Chandler, left, Wade Faulkingham and Dylan Whittington build the WillowsAwake Winery tasting room on a former hayfield in Leeds. The winery will be open by Maine Open Winery Day on Sept. 21. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Each color on the plan represents a hardy grape that will be grown at WillowsAwake Winery in Leeds. The grapes were designed by the University of Minnesota to withstand severe cold temperatures of Northern New England. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

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