Schorr Lake Winery ‘open for business’ after fire

Flames shoot from a large barn on the Schorr Lake Vineyard & Winery property in Waterloo on Wednesday night. (Kermit Constantine photo)

The owner of Schorr Lake Vineyard & Winery in Waterloo said his business took a huge hit after a Wednesday night fire damaged the barn that served as its production facility. Despite the damage, the winery remains in operation.

“We’re open for business,” winery owner Paul Nobbe said.

The Waterloo Fire Department responded shortly after 10:30 p.m. to a barn on fire at Schorr Lake, located at 1032 S. Library Street in Waterloo. The barn was fully engulfed, according to an arriving police officer on scene.

Firefighters responded quickly to the blaze and were able to salvage some of the contents inside.

“We didn’t lose the entire barn,” Waterloo Fire Chief Brett Wiegand told the Republic-Times. “We were able to save some stuff.”

The fire originated in the rear portion of the roughly 60-foot-by-100-foot building that housed small animals such as chickens, geese, guineas and peacocks, Wiegand said. Several, but not all, of the animals perished due to smoke and heat, the fire chief said.

An incubation light inside the animal portion of the barn is most likely the cause of the fire, Wiegand said.

A total of 28 firefighters responded to the blaze. The Waterloo Fire Department was on scene for 4.5 hours, Wiegand said.

Pictured is the damage from Wednesday’s fire. (Kermit Constantine photo)

“It took awhile to get (the fire) out because the roof was collapsing on us,” Wiegand said.

Nobbe said his winery lost its production facility in the blaze. Workers were in the process of bottling the 2014 wine harvest and had about 30 percent of it already bottled. All product stored in the winery’s tanks and barrels was destroyed, Nobbe said. It is hoped that wine previously stored in the cellar will keep the business going in the short term.

The winery’s insurance company has yet to assess the total amount of damage. The winery, which opened in 1997, offers 42 types of wine from a vineyard that contains about 4,000 plants that are pruned by hand.

Nobbe praised the efforts of firefighters for their quick response, professional conduct and strong work ethic in dealing with the blaze.

“I’m thankful for all they did,” he said.

UPDATE: Another fire occurred to the other end of the barn at the winery early Monday morning. Click here for more information.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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