Walking through the doors of De Vine Vintners is not what you would expect from a U-Brew store.
Instead, it’s like you’re stepping into a tasting room. Bottles of wine line the walls and tables are scattered around, making it warm and inviting. High-end finishes give customers the winery experience while they create their own wine.
Celebrating 30 years in business, owners Dale and Diane Hofer are proud of how their shop has evolved since they took over in 2004.
“In the last 10, years the quality of the juice has changed immensely,” said Dale.
“Hardly a day goes by without people saying, ‘Dale I just bottled this and it’s unbelievable,’ and ourselves, we would sooner drink this wine than most commercial stuff.”
The store was renovated four years ago when Dale and Diane were asked to turn De Vine Vintners into a Winexpert signature store.
Winexpert, owned by Peller Estates, manufactures the kits needed to produce the wine.
“They are a tier-one manufacturer, which means we get the best juice you can get,” said Dale.
The Hofers say they are amazed by the quality of the products they are able to get to create the wine.
“There are grape skins in there now which brings so much life to the wine,” said Dale.
“When you put a glass of red wine to your nose, it explodes with aromas of spice and fruit, where in the old days it was kind of flat.”
A recent feature they have added to the business is the option of using oak barrels in the wine making process to create more depth of flavour.
The goal is to make De Vine Vintners more than just a place to economically make wine.
Dale says they want their customers to have fun and enjoy their experience, with touches like personalized labels, easy-to-use equipment, and crackers and cheese to munch on during bottling.
“Everybody is happy when they come in here because they’re making wine,” said Dale, explaining why he enjoys going to work.
“We get to know our customers, build relationships and friendships.”
Dale says that he gets to see families bonding while they make their wine.
“We don’t rush people through the process. We make sure they have lots of time so they can enjoy themselves.”
Merle Kurz has worked for the business for 20 years, and she is another reason customers keep coming back.
“She’s an expert at making wine and everyone loves her,” said Diane.
Dale believes one of the main reasons they are so successful is their wine speaks for them.
“A customer brings a bottle of wine over to a dinner party and everyone starts asking where they got it,” he said.