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Winemaking Wilson family plans taproom in old Sonoma Cider space in Healdsburg

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A week after getting approval to build a new winery in the Dry Creek Valley, Ken and Diane Wilson are expanding again: this time taking over the closed Sonoma Cider space in Healdsburg and turning it into a restaurant and taproom for their new label, Coyote Sonoma.

“It’s a restaurant and kind of a gathering place. … It’s a clubhouse,” Ken Wilson said of the building located just west of the Healdsburg roundabout.

The property became available after Sonoma Cider shut its doors in March after running out of money. One former company official estimated the business burned through about $10 million, leaving 100 investors out to dry.

The location, however, features a bar with 20 different taps, a kitchen and production space to make wine. A liquidation company had been shopping the property since May.

Wilson said he was intrigued with the location because it offered an opportunity to move in quickly and begin service. He would like Coyote Sonoma to be open within a month.

The couple owns 11 other wineries in the area, after receiving approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 23 to build the Hale Winery on 40 acres of vineyards just a few miles north of their flagship Wilson Winery on Dry Creek Road. They farm more than 600 acres around the Dry Creek Valley.

The production volume for the Wilson wineries is concentrated more in the small boutique category because the cases are sold through their wine clubs or direct to consumers, not through wholesalers.

The Healdsburg restaurant will feature typical taproom fare such as hamburgers and fish and chips, Wilson said, though he mentioned they may try to incorporate some of Diane’s recipes.

“My wife is an excellent cook,” he said.

While Coyote will be featured, wines from other Wilson wineries will be available, too. “I did think it would be nice to have one central spot for all the wineries,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707- 521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

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