WINEaLOT Vineyards celebrates two years of growth
By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
When Miranda Demske planted her first grapevines four years ago, she had no idea just how far they would bring her. Those grapevines grew into a business and this weekend, WINEaLOT Vineyards will celebrate its second anniversary.
Demske said that when she and her husband first bought the land WINEaLOT Vineyards resides on, it served a much different purpose.
“My husband and I, we bought a house quite a while ago and it came with like 12 acres of hay fields and stuff, so we had been just cash cropping the hay fields for really no reason at all — we don’t have animals or anything,” she said. “It was just kind of a hobby and I didn’t like doing it, so in 2019 I told my husband, ‘Why don’t we plant a vineyard?’ I thought that sounded more romantic… So we planted about 300 grapevines. Then, in 2020, COVID hit and I lost my job, so I decided now is an opportunity. I had the vineyard and I decided to see how far I could take this. Exactly one year later, in July of 2021, we opened our doors.”
Since then, Demske said all of the pieces seemed to just align to grow WINEaLOT Vineyards into what it is today.
“Everything just kind of fell into place,” she said. “It was one of those things that you’re like, ‘we’ll just let this happen. Let’s make this pivot and let’s try that.’ And everytime you do, it just works, so you just keep going.”
That’s not to say the whole process was smooth-sailing, though, as Demske said she had to do a lot of learning along the way when it came to growing grapes and starting her business.
“It was very hectic, very confusing,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about grape science at all when we planted them. It was a lot of research, a lot of networking and a lot of trial and error. We screwed up a few of them, of course. It’s just kind of crossing your fingers and diving in to see where you can go… That happened with the wine, too,” she said. “I didn’t know how to make wine when I decided I was going to start a winery. It was a lot of research, a lot of practicing at home and a lot of networking.”
Through it all, Demske said she had plenty of support from her family.
“My family was so supportive,” she said. “My mom and dad helped me so much. My mother-in-law and my father-in-law helped in any way that they possibly could, and of course my husband was always there to help with everything, too. We all kind of learned together.”
Demske said WINEaLOT Vineyards also received significant support from the community once it opened — so much support, in fact, that it quickly had to expand to accommodate larger crowds.
“When we first opened, I really didn’t anticipate the business to build so fast,” she said. “The building that we’re in is my mother- and father-in-law’s shed and I told them I only needed half of it. We opened in July, and by August I was already emptying out the other half of their building… It was that winter that we actually completely revamped the whole building. We got a much bigger bar — a much bigger space. We moved the entire tasting room into its own space and the production room got its own space. We went from holding five people to 300 people all in one winter. That was absolutely huge. And then the vineyards went from 300 vines to 1,000 vines… It all grew so fast with what seemed like little tiny things that, when you look back, were actually really, really big things.”
And WINEaLOT Vineyards isn’t done growing yet, as Demske said she hopes to expand the building even more and add on space for private events.
“I want to expand our kitchen space for sure,” she said. “I want to get everything to be made on-site, fresh to order. And we’re working on possibly expanding the building itself to make more space. Especially in the winter when we have live music, that room gets so full so fast. I’m getting quotes on that right now and then we’re looking at expanding our private party spaces as well so we’ll be able to do private events like birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers and stuff like that and also be open at the same time… That will take us to a whole new level, too, because I’ve been finding private event spaces are kind of hard to come by. That’s going to be huge. I think that’s going to grow a lot.”
On the topic of growing, Demske said this year will be significant for WINEaLOT Vineyards, as the grapevines on the property start to produce fruit and the opportunity for wine to be made with WINEaLOT Vineyards’ own grapes comes to fruition.
“Because the vines take about three or four years to produce, they are actually just starting to produce and we’ll actually have estate-grown wine this year for the first time,” she said. “We’ve been buying grapes and juice and stuff from other vineyards and wineries, so I’m super excited to have our own estate-made wine this year.”
To celebrate its second anniversary, WINEaLOT Vineyards will hold a second anniversary party this Saturday, July 15, from 2-5 p.m. with live music by Gravity of Youth, food from the Blue Suede Foods food truck and steam engine hay rides.
To learn more about WINEaLOT Vineyards and to get in on the celebration, visit winealotvineyards.com or check out WINEaLOT Vineyards LLC on Facebook.