A new guild in forming here in Cranbrook in celebration of all things wine. The Kootenay Wine Guild is hosting their first ever meeting this month, on Wednesday, March 18th.
Founders Barry Wood and Pauline Dawson say the wine guild will be a great opportunity to share knowledge and expertise in wine making, while also having fun.
“The two of us met through a love of woodworking, which eventually rolled into all other sorts of hobbies,” Dawson explained. “We’ve both been wine making, individually, for some time, but we decided it would be great to share our knowledge and equipment with one another. That’s what sparked the idea to get others involved as well. There’s nothing like it here in Cranbrook and we want others to develop that same passion that we have.”
Wood says he’s been making wine for 40 years. He started with wine-making kits, moved on to grapes, and now makes wine from all kinds of fruit. He doesn’t just make table wine either, he’s made sheri, ports and sparkling wine as well.
“When I found out that Pauline was interested, we thought it could be really fun to do this in a group setting and use each other’s expertise, share equipment and so on,” said Wood.
Dawson adds that her and Wood’s goal is to help others make good wine on a consistent basis.
“There’s lots of fruit around this area and the process of making wine can actually be easier than making jams or jellies,” Dawson explained. “We hope to broaden the knowledge and appreciation for members [of the guild].”
Wood says there’s no pressure for those who want to participate.
“We’re not wine snobs,” he laughed. “We’re just trying to enhance that basic knowledge of wine making. It’s fun to make, it’s fun to drink, and it’s fun to give away. It makes for a great Christmas present.”
“Not only that, but you can make wine from almost anything,” Dawson added. “Apples, cherries, dandelions, even rhubarb makes excellent wine.”
In terms of the process, Wood says you always start with fruit. The next step is to either crush it or freeze it, and extract the juices.
Next comes the fermentation process, which happens in two phases. The yeast turns the sugar into alcohol. After that, you want to keep air out to finish the fermentation process.
Then, the fun part comes; enjoy it with friends, Wood says.
The first meeting of the Kootenay Wine Guild takes place on March 18th. For more information, including time and location, call Barry at 489-8695 or Pauline at 464-0918.
“It’s a chance to make new friends and learn something new,” said Wood. “The guild is open to people of all ages [19+] and abilities. Whether you’re an experienced wine maker and just want to share your recipes and knowledge, or you’ve never tried making wine before. I was lucky enough to learn from someone with a lot of knowledge on the process. We just want to share that. If you have a love of wine, come on out.”