Friday, November 06, 2015

DIY Vintner, or Places to Make Your Own Wine in the Tri-Cities

Wine spilling

Home-made wine always conjured up images from my childhood of harvesting peapods, demijohns bubbling quietly in the airing cupboard, alcohol explosions, and going to school in clothes smelling not-so-faintly of booze. In my experience, UK home brewing was a niche hobby with variable outcomes.

In BC I am still pleasantly surprised – not that homemade wine is popular but that it is brewed away from the house. No explosive puddles to mop up. Every neighbourhood I’ve lived in so far has had at least one winemaking store where all you do is select your wine, start the batch going then come back a month or two later to bottle up.

Most of the on-premises winemaking shops have a great selection of starter kits to choose from, with expert advice on grape varieties. Once started, batches ferment in temperature-controlled storerooms until completion. Bottling is easy, using an industrial-style set up that’s easy to manage solo. Apart from buying your kit, the only investment required is the bottles for the final product.

Here in Port Moody, our local shop – Beyond The Grape – has never disappointed in terms of both wines produced and friendly, knowledgeable service. Choosing the wine to make has always been the hardest part but the staff is always ready with a recommendation based on gently quizzing you for your tastes, drinking intentions and previous purchases. Once chosen, it’s easy to set the batch going and a convenient reminder service brings you back when the fermentation is ready.

Bottling is a do-it-yourself task; bring your empties (or buy them in-store) along to a pre-arranged appointment (hours are generous, with evening slots available during the week) and use the bottling stations. Once staff connects the wine demijohn into the system, the process is easy to manage with bottle sterilization, filling, and corking requiring only minimal hands-on time. Newbies get expert teaching on-site; veterans can ask for a refresher. Shrink wrapping the cork with a heating coil and adding one of the professional-looking labels completes the process, leaving you with a respectable batch for the home cellar. Don’t forget to sample a mouthful before leaving as there’s always a splash left over at the end. Staff will recommend how long your brew should be laid down before sipping – it’s best to take note as the flavour improves within this time.

In the Tri-Cities there are a few neighbourhood winemaking stores to choose from. Get a recommendation from a friend or check out the list below to get you started. If you choose a five-week wine, then you might just have a batch for quaffing at Christmas and New Year.

SlĂ inte mhath!

Beyond The Grape
3030 St Johns Street, Port Moody

Como Creek Brewing
228 Cayer Street, Coquitlam

Classically Corked
#304 – 1194 Lansdowne Drive, Coquitlam

Oak Barrel Wines
115 – 2918 Glen Drive Coquitlam

1044A Austin Ave, Coquitlam

Just Fine Wine
#311 – 2071 Kingsway Avenue, Port Coquitlam

Find out more about making your own wine at

from The - Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam » Amanda Maxwell
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