Sometimes a family recipe is so good, it just has to be shared with the world.
Following years of Sunday family dinners with homemade berry wine, Denise Schupbach decided to bottle the wine and get it out into the world.
Last month, She opened Wynoochee River Winery. And the growing business is now a family operation — with relatives picking the berries and helping the process all along the way, from berry to glass of wine.
The whole process takes about four months, however it depends on the berry.
“It’s a very long process of getting the wine right where it needs to be,” said Schupbach’s father-in-law Tom Skinner.
Some wines require immediate attention— the cherry wine, for example, has to be prepared the same day due to oxidation. While the family picks, Schupbach’s mother-in-law Kay Comin removes the pits.
“I’m the pitter — it’s the pits,” Comin says laughing.
And they have several different varieties of wine at Wynoochee River Winery.
“We specialize in fruit and berry wines. We don’t do grape wines right now,” Schupbach said. Schupbach is the lead of the operation as owner and manager. “We grow a lot of our own fruits on the farm. Apple and pie cherry. With those we pick them in the morning and start the fermentation process in the afternoon. We have a lot of specialty wines you won’t find in a store. They’re very unique products to our location.”
This year, Wynoochee River Winery used 300 pounds of berries to make 100 gallons of finished product.
Wynoochee River Winery, located on Wheeler Road up the Wynoochee Valley, is about 25 minutes from downtown Montesano. At the end of the drive, however, is beautiful scenery.
Now that the business is up and running, Schupbach says she’s received positive feedback from the community.
“We’ve been asked if we do a wine club,” Schupbach said.
The next step for Wynoochee River Winery is to find its place on the market. Schupbach says she’d like to see her wines available at local grocery and liquor stores. In January, the winery will have its products at the Elma Chamber of Commerce Winter Wine Festival on Jan. 20 at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds pavilion in Elma.
And while it’s officially a licensed business, Schupbach still looks at it with a muted perspective.
“This is basically a hobby. It’s something I do on the weekends and when I get home from work,” she said.
Wynoochee River Winery’s tasting room is at 79 Wheeler Road.
Tasting room hours vary throughout the week with set hours on Wednesday and Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Each bottle of wine is either $13 or $14, depending on the berries.
For more information, visit the winery’s website at wynoocheeriverwines.com.