We started our first batch of wine, cranberry apple, in my apartment back in 2007. It came out so well that to everyone's delight, we served it at our wedding later that year. Our wedding cake had a bride and groom rubber ducky on top that set the theme for the wedding. A family member designed the label for us and the template was set. We continued to make wine, lots of wine, over the next several years, each with a different duck on the label. We made it from every kind of fruit we could get locally. Some of it came out fantastic like blackberry and strawberry rhubarb. Some, well, not so much (Our beet wine tasted like dirt). As we experimented we discovered which flavors and blends we really liked and perfected our process.
On a road trip to eastern Oregon in 2014 we decided to jump through all the necessary hoops, and there's a lot of them, to be able to sell our wine. So we needed to come up with a name. We knew we had to have a duck on the label but that was all. While we filed all the papers with the local, state and federal authorities, we began thinking of what we wanted our brand to be and what the labels should look like. That was a lengthy process but we are very pleased with the results. The following pictures show the evolution of the duck and label. You can see other early labels used on our homemade wines in the gallery.
We continue to make the wine the same way we always have, except in bigger batches. Instead of making five gallon batches, we make forty to one hundred and fifty gallon batches. But we still put them in glass carboys and let them ferment and settle just like the small batches. This is a bit labor intensive, but we feel it gives us better quality control as we can see what is going on in each carboy. We let our wines settle for at least three months before bottling. We do not filter our wines, we let time and
gravity do the work for us, so you may occasionally see a small amount of fine sediment at the bottom of the bottle. There is nothing wrong with the wine. That is just very fine bits of the original fruit remaining. We have experimented with filtering and found that it stripped out not only the fine sediment but color and flavor as well, often imparting a funny taste to the wine in the process. So, since we are particular about the taste and quality of our wine, we don't try to hurry the process or cut corners. We also don't skimp on the amount of fruit we use when we start a batch. So you will notice a rich color and aroma with all of our quality fruit wines. We use the best quality locally sourced fruit we can find and we do stabilize the wine with sulfites prior to bottling. This is a necessary process that prolongs the shelf life of the wine and prevents the risk of the wine yeast becoming active again and fermenting in the bottle, which could lead to the bottles exploding. (We don't want that to happen.)