MONTESANO, Wash. — At Wynoochee River Winery the motto is when life gives you limes, make lime wine.
"It's something you have to do fresh,” says Denise Schupbach as she zests lime after lime. “You can't do a concentrate because it just does not turn out."
With the help of family members, Schupbach will turn 700 pounds of limes into 700 bottles of lime wine. It’s a big hit in the tasting room where her husband Jeff Skinner is pouring glasses.
“See that's my favorite,” says one guest. “Just like a margarita!”
Lime wine is one of nearly 30 varieties of fruit wines the couple has been making on a farm outside Montesano since 2017.
Schupbach calls it a hobby gone crazy. It all began late one summer with a bumper crop of raspberries
“And you can only do so much jam with all these raspberries,” says Schupbach.
So her father-in-law suggested they make wine. What began with a five-gallon container in the kitchen has become so much more, thanks in large part to Skinner’s willingness to learn the mechanics of winemaking.
“He has the brains of the chemistry side of it,” says Schupbach. “He has a better nose than I do. I have a better taste. So we complement each other when it comes to fine-tuning the wines.”
In its first competition, Wynoochee River Winery’s raspberry wine won a gold medal. More awards have followed
“And it's been going gangbusters ever since,” says Schupbach who quit her office job to sell wine at the Olympia Farmer’s Market three days a week.
“They are just fruit wines,” she explains to a customer. “There's no grape in them.”
When she's not selling at the market Schupbach is looking for the next favorite flavor.
“We just purchased about 800 pounds of rhubarb,” she says. “ Fresh rhubarb.”
The hours can be long but Schupbach says the rewards are everlasting.
“The best feeling is when somebody loves your wine,” she says. “They love what you've created. It's so heartwarming.”
Their successful winery means the couple actually has little to whine about.
"We are right on the river here," says Schupbach. "So it's perfect."
They've managed to order up a sweet life, by the bottle.
You can find Wynoochee River Fruit Wine at the Olympia Farmers Thursday through Sunday. Those are the same days the winery's tasting rooms are open. Most bottles of wine cost about $15.