Sunday, January 14, 2001

Mason approves tax breaks for wine company

Vintner Select plans to move headquarters from Blue Ash

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — City Council approved tax breaks this week that will allow Vintner Select to move its company headquarters from Blue Ash to Mason.

        Vintner Select, which plans to build a 23,500-square-foot facility in the Tri-Way Industrial Park just off U.S. 42, will receive a 100 percent tax abatement on real property for five years. The deal is worth nearly $70,000.

        The 11-year-old company, which specializes in the sale and distribution of premium wine, is relocating 15 jobs and promises to create 10 more in the next three years. The average yearly salary for employees at Vintner Se lect is about $50,000.

        Total investment by the company for the headquarters, which is double the size of its current one, is expected to be $1.1 million. The building will house Vintner's central sales office, a specialized temperature- and humidity-controlled warehouse, distribution operation, and possibly a custom meeting and tasting facility to host its clientele.

        “Things were just getting way too tight at our 10,000-square-foot facility in Blue Ash,” said Gordon Huller, president of Vintner Select. “We were looking at a place that would give us plenty of room now, and room to expand into the next 15-20 years.”

        Mr. Huller said he was considering 12 sites in a three-county area, but was attracted by Mason's proximity to Interstates 71 and 75. Vintner Select operates warehouses in Cleveland and Kentucky, making access to prime trucking routes vital, he said.

        “We were somewhat concerned initially by all the growth that has occurred here lately, because some cities that have developed rapidly have had problems adjusting to that growth,” Mr. Huller said. "But here in Mason, the city officials have handled that growth and managed it well.”

        Mason City Schools will receive an annual compensation of $3,735 for the term of the abatement.

        City officials say Mason will receive about $221,000 in revenues from the company's relocation.

        Vintner Select was started in 1989 by Mr. Huller and his wife, both of Mount Lookout. The company represents more than 50 wineries in France, Italy and California with a customer base coming from the specialized wine and gourmet food sellers.

        The company has an annual payroll of $820,000 and projects that it will increase to $1.4 million by 2004.


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