I’ve been wanting to try my hand at wine and beer making for quite a few years and while I am proficient with computers, am a web designer and make my living as a renovator and handyman and have no problem venturing into the unknown of those areas, I have always been intimidated by the thought of brewing my own wine and beer.
I love wine but haven’t drunk much for the past years due to the fact that I refuse to drink low quality or mediocre brews and it has not been in my budget to afford the $600-$1000 a month I could easily spend on good quality wine.
I moved to and settled here in Calgary a year and a half ago and over that time I checked out three different stores selling wine and beer making kits and supplies. Two out of the three that popped up went belly up within a short amount of time and the third disappeared– I’m not sure where to.
All three of the places I visited, while they were definitely keen on selling their product and getting my money, I felt they lacked the passion and in-depth knowledge and knowhow that should accompany their craft, and none of them were all that keen on spending any amount of time answering many questions from a newbie who probably wasn’t even going to buy their wares. Invariably, I left less than impressed and more confused and intimidated than when I went in.
Well that changed and the light went on in a big way when I recently stumbled across The Home Vintner website and the fact that they were conducting wine and beer making seminars/classes. I emailed Ron at the NW store, he signed me up and I attended a class about a month ago.
Wow! Talk about passion–these guys are consumed and in love with their craft! Ron, the NW store manager, hosted the evening, and Paul, the owner of The Home Vintner, gave the seminar. His zeal and passion were infectious. He talked and taught, and answered all questions for three hours non-stop. I was overwhelmed, but fascinated by the sheer volume of material presented. I had to go back the next day just to get help in straightening out the plethora of stuff presented.
At one point, Paul mentioned that he had been a commercial pilot but had left that to go into this current business, and that he wasn’t exactly sure why. The why however, is evident. It’s not often you see someone so all consumed, in love with, and passionate about what they do. ( I keep using the word ‘passionate’ because I can’t think of one that better describes the situation).
I was sold and committed in the first five minutes. The idea that an inexperienced nobody such as myself, can produce such quality wine and beer for roughly $2.50 to $7.00 a bottle just tickles me!
These guys are not just there to sell product and make money. One of the first things Ron said to me the next day was to the affect of, “We’re not cheap and we don’t sell garbage and inferior quality stuff”. They have perfected their craft and more than the sale of the merchandise, they are there to infect others with the same zeal and pleasure they possess and to demonstrate that the cookies are on a low shelf, and not unattainable to the average Joe.
I’ve started my first kit and have been in the store several times since the first night. The last time I was there, Paul was there and we chatted a bit. While talking he said to me, “Come often and ask a lot of questions’. That is what does it for me. I Love to think that this will become a great hobby and I expect there will be a learning curve and problems, but knowing that these guys at The Home Vintner are going to be there and eager to offer assistance and help is very assuring and settling. So thanks so much Paul and Ron. I am very grateful and excited.