Florida Entrepreneurs Introduce New Winery Concept in Sarasota Allowing Guests

to Enjoy an Elevated Wine Tasting Experience; Location Slated to Open Spring 2020

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA – (November 20, 2019) – Waters Edge Wineries®, an innovative urban winery system bringing the cultural experience of wine to communities across the country, today announced it has signed a franchise agreement to open a Waters Edge Winery & Bistro in Sarasota, Florida. This new location will join 11 others already operating throughout California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Local entrepreneurs Michael Hayja, Dr. Sean Castellucci and Christopher McKenna of Artisan Vinification, LLC, will own and manage the location in Sarasota, which is expected to open in Spring 2020.

“We are excited to debut our brand in the sunshine state, and with the support of Michael Hayja and his two business partners, we will cultivate a new wine experience for locals – as well as for the many tourists who travel to Florida in search of unique, memorable experiences,” said Ken Lineberger, president and CEO of Waters Edge Wineries.

Hayja’s 25-year career began in the hospitality sector, eventually transitioning to finance in U.S. and Australian markets, working with esteemed companies such as Merrill Lynch. In a quest to find an outlet to incorporate his love of hospitality, wine and quality customer service, he and his most trusted friends discovered Waters Edge Wineries, venturing into research around the winemaking industry and ultimately deciding to open their own winery. The group will take over the space at 1219 1st Street, which was formerly Social Eatery & Bar, and will work to continue the legacy built at that well-known community staple. For almost a decade, the prior concept provided guests with a unique establishment that offered locally-sourced meals, in-the-know craft alcohol and an opportunity to connect with their loved ones in a comfortable, convenient spot. Waters Edge Winery & Bistro at Social will continue celebrating the importance of intimate conversation with the added benefit of the chance to explore new wines and experiences.

“We are thrilled to become part of something that allows us to bring such a fun and interesting experience to the Sarasota community in a personalized and intimate venue,” said Hayja. “I look forward to sharing my passion for hospitality and the winemaking industry to make our winery a one-of-a kind experience. I truly cannot wait to share this hidden secret with the public!”

Combining elements of the traditional winery experience with the popular wine bar concept, Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations serve as a lively hub within its communities, offering bistro-style artisanal selections including appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and desserts, custom bottle labeling as personalized gifts, private tasting areas for groups, a wine club and more. This gives guests the opportunity to engage intimately with what has historically been a somewhat exclusive lifestyle, limited to select regions.

As an emerging franchise concept, the Waters Edge Winery & Bistro model is ideal for entrepreneurs passionate about wine who seek a way to share their love and knowledge without being in the agriculture business. Franchise owners receive comprehensive training on the micro-winery tank system and are provided with pre-opening training courses, both hands-on and classroom based, to help prepare for the launch of their winery. The company also offers social media and marketing support to help franchise owners realize success.

Earlier this year, Waters Edge Wineries announced three new franchise agreements to introduce its concept in Madera, California; Toledo, Ohio; and Richmond, Texas. In August, a new location opened in Davidson, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, and a new flagship location showcasing an updated design footprint opened in Long Beach, California this month. Waters Edge Wineries® currently operates 11 locations in California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas with expansion in North Carolina, Kentucky and Montana. Each Waters Edge Winery & Bistro location is individually owned and operated by local entrepreneurs in their communities.

For more information on Waters Edge Wineries or for franchising information, contact 909-GOT-WINE, visit WatersEdgeWineries.com or email [email protected].

About Waters Edge Wineries®

California-based Waters Edge Wineries is an innovative urban winery system bringing the cultural experience of wine to communities across the country. Each Waters Edge Winery & Bistro location combines the very best of a winery and wine bar in one versatile model that can be located anywhere, regardless of topography or agricultural factors. Founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Ken and Angela Lineberger, Waters Edge Wineries currently operates 11 Waters Edge Winery & Bistro locations in California, Colorado, North Carolina Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.  The company caters to entrepreneurs who are seeking a fun, exciting career where they can share their passion for wine while creating memorable guest experiences.  


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