Teamwork at Westview U-Vin U-Brew

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Their motto is work should be fun – most of the time. And Jackie Marjerison and Jenny-Lee Lessard sure seem to enjoy their jobs. They are busy, knowledgeable, tidy and organized, dependable and friendly. They’ve worked together and owned their business long enough to be a well-balanced team. And it shows in the smooth day-to-day operations of Westview-U-Vin U-Brew and the happy stream of customers who stop in to bottle wine and beer or pick up a kit to make their own home brew.

And there`s always something brewing! Starting off the new year, Westview U-Vin will be offering Winexperts ™ annual Limited Edition wine collection for Powell River customers. Winexperts ™ , a division of Andrew Peller Ltd., leads the sales in kit wines sold in North America. Westview U-Vin gets the limited editions each year with five new wines being offered from January through April.

“So far we have two January releases,” Jackie said, “Barbera, a medium-bodied red from Piedmont, Italy and Pinot Grigio Verduzzo, a white blend from Veneto, Italy.”

Three more wines will make their debuts this spring. Mosaic Red, a blend of merlot, zinfandel, petit syrah and cabernet sauvignon from Paso Robles, California will be released in February. In March it will be Gewurztraminer Verdelho Muscat, a medium-bodied white with off-dry sweetness from Murray Darling, Australia and in April, Fortitude with Grape Skins, a red blend from Riverland, Australia.

Long awaited by customers, these limited editions are snapped up as fast as they enter the shop. “We also offer many four-, six- and eight-week regular wine kits,” Jackie said. “The variety is wonderful with super dry to super sweet and light to heavy, a taste for everyone.”

While customers can purchase kits to make wine on site or at home, they can also bring in their own fruit or fruit juices to make wine at the store. “Customers have been bringing in pears, apples, kiwi, raspberries, even figs,” Jackie said. “We do the work for them, we hand crush the fruit, mix it, and get the gravity up for alcohol content, 0.90 for the ‘white’ fruit and 0.95 for the ‘red’.”

Once started, the process takes three months: one week of stirring the mash daily followed by putting it through a press before it’s transferred into carboys – large consumer-grade plastic vessels. Then the wine is racked into bottles to separate the sludge before finally going through a filtering machine where it’s then stabilized to stop fermentation.

“Once it’s clear we call the customer and they come and do the work of bottling their wine,” Jackie said. “Customers often bring in their own custom labels for the wine.” And, as a bonus, Westview U-Vin offers a batch of free bottles for anyone ordering their first batch of wine.

Beer is another favourite brew to make, especially leading up to the summer months. “We make the beer, the customer bottles it,” said Jenny-Lee. “Making beer is a little complicated, things have to be very sterile so there’s a lot of cleaning involved.”

Beer is kettle-brewed using natural ingredients. After fermentation, beer is cold-filtered and force-carbonated with food-grade carbon dioxide. Westview U-Bin has more than 100 kinds of ale and lager to choose from.

Whether serving up wine or beer, if the taste is not what the customer wants, Westview U-Vin has an easy to swallow guarantee policy. “We will replace it with something different or we would give the customer their money back. We want people to be happy with their purchase, `Jackie said

While the pair spends their days helping others to produce good wines and beers they are quiet philanthropists who contribute generously to the well-being of the community. Included on their list this past year were Grace House and Powell River SPCA. “We believe whole-heartedly in giving back to our community,” Jenny-Lee said. “And to lend support where we can.”

If you’ve now caught the brewing bug, just drop by Westview U-Vin U-Brew and chat with Jackie and Jenny-Lee. “We have the equipment and knowledge to make brewing wine or beer a fun activity and we pass this along to our customers,” Jenny –Lee said. “Westview U-Vin U-Brew is like a Disneyland for adults.”

Westview U-Vin U-Brew, located at 7030 Glacier Street, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Look for them on Facebook, phone 604-485-0345, or email westviewubrew@yahoo.ca.

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