A Wine Affair to Remember

Bringing the Favorite Varieties Home for the Brewing

Text by Gene Betz

I love wine! I love the aromas, I love the flavors, I love the texture. And I love the vast amount of them that are out there to be experienced. Every bottle is different. And, even though I’m definitely an 80/20 kind of person, if I could drink an expensive bottle of wine with every dinner, I would. But like most of you out there reading this, I have to live on a budget and I’d rather have decent wine with every dinner than an expensive wine twice a month.

For several years before opening Vintage Sellers Jill and I made a fair amount of wine for our own cellar. It was our first Christmas together as a married couple when that very resourceful girl I refer to as my best friend put under the tree a very large box with my name on it. How surprised I was when I opened it to find everything I would need (both equipment and juice) to make about 2 1/2 gallons of Gewurztraminer. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought of making wine so this truly was a BIG surprise.

In many ways that was the start of this insanity we call Vintage Sellers. Several years and many many batches of wine later this ‘hobby’ fostered enough interest in wine for us to consider opening a small, boutique wine shop. But, we still love the economics of making our own wine to supplement what we buy. And with the right equipment and fruit/juice, one can make some pretty respectable wine these days.

So, that being said, our mentor in the wine making program was Stan Guedesse, owner and master brewer at Harvest Moon Brewing which started in 1997. In 1997, the year Jill bought our first wine kit, he and his wife also owned Big Sky Homebrew Supply in downtown Great Falls. But as his life became ever more hectic at the brewery, he sold the homebrew to one of his regular customers. Several years ago Big Sky Homebrew Supply went out of business, leaving Great Falls without a local source for beer and wine making supplies.

We’ve answered queries almost every day since then and after sending people for years to a homebrew supply store in Billings, we finally bit the bullet, rearranged the store and now have a complete homebrew and wine making department right here at Vintage Sellers!

So, if you’ve ever wanted to make good beer or wine in your basement, it’s now just that much easier if you live in the Golden Triangle. And I know from personal experience that beer or wine making kits are great gifts and often the start of a lifelong passion. Come see us soon at Vintage Sellers!