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Grace Hill Winery to expand with new event center and patio

WICHITA — Wichita doctors Natalie and David Sollo are expanding their Grace Hill Winery with a new event center, patio and observation deck overlooking the vineyard in Whitewater.

“We’re going to make a facility out there and kind of enhance our experience,” says Jeff Sollo, the Sollos’ son, who calls himself marketing manager, event coordinator and “vineyard boy,” among other titles.

The vineyard, which is about 20 minutes from Wichita, opened two years ago and now has eight acres and 10 varieties of wine.

Previously, Grace Hill was mainly a retail outlet for the wine that the Sollos grow, press, age and bottle. The winery offers tastings and tours. The idea behind the event center and patio is they’re a new way to entice people to visit.

“The main selling point here is the experience,” Jeff Sollo says.

The 2,000-square-foot center, which will seat about 100, and 500-square-foot patio, which will seat another 40 or so, can be rented for parties and corporate events. The winery also will use the space for new wine education classes.

“Wine’s not just for the snobby elitists of the world,” Jeff Sollo says. He says he wants to bring it to the masses.

He also hopes to hold events like concerts and art shows there.

“Basically any sort of cultural event,” he says.

The point, Sollo says, is come out and “enjoy some good life.”

He says winemaking began as a hobby for his parents, and it then became an obsession.

“Obsession became business, and here we are.”

Sollo expects the new center and patio to be ready sometime in May.

“This weather’s not helping at all.”

Once it’s completed, though, Sollo says, “It’s going to be very picturesque.”