9.8 C
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Passing the baton … and bottle

Founder of Elze’s Wonderful Wines is turning over the Elmira wine-making business to a couple from Drayton


Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta RebiszewskiFive candidates are vying for your vote in...

Kitchener-Conestoga too close to call

With less than five percentage points separating the Conservatives and Liberals in the riding, Kitchener-Conestoga has become too close...

Organizers aim to put environment at the forefront of election

The federal election underway, environmental groups are looking to make issues such as climate change a central part...

Putting the green in the initiative

The woodlot in Elmira's South Parkwood subdivision attracted 35 volunteers who planted 150 trees Oct. 5....
Faisal Ali
Faisal Alihttps://observerxtra.com
Faisal Ali is a Reporter/Photographer at The Observer.

Beer prices and availability top the agenda at Queen’s Park just now, so much so that those looking for something else to tipple might be feeling left out.

Closer to home, wine is on the mind of at least a few people, as Elze Bredenkamp looks to hand off her long-running make-it-yourself operation to a pair of new owners.

That’s a bit of news for those looking for bargain options on their next bottle of merlot or batch of chardonnay.

At Elze’s Wonderful Wines in Elmira the focus is on making, rather than just selling its wines. For 17 years, Elze Bredenkamp has kept the wine cellars and coolers in Elmira and beyond stocked with her specially created products; now the connoisseur of all things wine is passing on her business and experience to a new generation.

“She came to us, and we thought about it for a while,” explained Denise Van Dyk. “And we thought that just would be something interesting to do.”

With her husband Keith on board, she decided to make the plunge and enter the wine-making business.

“It’ll be a learning thing for us too, I mean [Elze’s] been doing it for 17 years, right?” said Van Dyk. “But as we take over the business and meet all the clients and bring some new clients in, we’re hoping it will be a fun adventure. And profitable.”

Elze Bredenkamp (inset) of Elze’s Wonderful Wines is turning over the wine-making business in Elmira to Keith and Denise Van Dyk. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]
The Drayton couple began first making their own wines with Bredenkamp six years ago as customers, and quickly saw the benefits of the practice.

“Cost. Cost is probably the biggest thing,” said Keith Van Dyk. Rather than buying their wines by the bottle, the couple found they could save a significant amount when producing their preferred choice of alcohol by the batch. A single batch produces 30 bottles, essentially making it a bulk purchase.

“It’s a wine-lovers Costco,” said Bredenkamp.

“It’s convenient too,” added Denise. “It’s a convenience too that when you come, you can get one or two batches made and then you have it at your house, and you know what you’re getting each time you open the bottle.”

It may seem like a daunting task to make one’s own wine, but the couple team at Elze’s are there to walk clients through the process, while the bulk of leg work preparing the wine is taken care of by them.

“I think the big thing is you’ve got to figure out what they want,” said Keith. “Do they like a white or a red, that’s first of all. And do they want a full-bodied or a medium bodied, or just a light sipping wine. You know, then you can go from there and decide dry, sweet. Price, that’s a big thing to.”

Clients can even arrange for a wine-tasting, so they know exactly what they are getting in their batch. But if 30 bottles still sounds like a lot to commit to, Denise notes clients can pool in to divvy up the cost.

“The way we’ve done it is, say you don’t really know if you want, like when we  first started at home, 30 bottles? That sounds like an awful lot of bottles hanging around my house. We would buy with friends of ours, ‘OK. let’s split a batch. Fifteen bottles each.’” she suggested.

“Or you want some white and you want some red, but you don’t want 30 of each. Well, OK, now you get 15.”

By law, the clients have to contribute to the winemaking process, as well, by adding the yeast and bottling the finished product.

“We’re selling juice. Grape juice. That’s basically what we’re selling,” said Keith. It’s the clients that turn the juice into wine.

The couple is excited to take over the business, and will be slowly transitioning the business over from Bredenkamp, who will continue to contribute and write for the store’s newsletter.

“I’m still going to be here for another year, in the background, writing stories, assisting them. I’ve made most of the wedding wines for the people in the Elmira area. So I’m still going to assist with that,” she said.

Soon enough, the Van Dyk’s will be running the store solo. Asked if they had plans to change the name, and for the time being the couple say they are content with keeping it as Elze’s.

“That’s what everybody knows, and for the time being anyways, it’s staying the same,” said Keith.

“Everybody loves Elze,” added Denise. “So why would we change the name?”

Elze’s Wonderful Wines is on 29 Church St. W. in Elmira, across from the township office. Visits are by appointment only, with clients able to call ahead to select their wines and schedule appointments at 519-669-0799.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted.By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


Program encourages Girls to give it a Go

Whether you’re a girl in need of a new friend or just someone to hear you out, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region (BBBSWR) is offering a seven-week GoGirls mentoring program at the...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Former Wolfpack soccer player earning accolades as part of St. Thomas University team

Former Woolwich Wolfpack soccer player Brett Springer was recently recognized for his outstanding performance and sportsmanship as the athlete of the week for the...

Music that’s designed to give you a lift

Audiences can expect an authentic atmosphere, soul-stirring ballads, and plenty of interaction with the cast in Drayton Entertainment’s latest offering.Now...

Young Breslau martial artists continue to excel, collect hardware

It’s been another successful run for a pair of Breslau siblings, who crushed two martial arts tournaments in the past month.

Shantz family doesn’t have to look far to find new owner for historic schoolhouse building

With fall’s arrival, change is in the air, but that’s not reserved just for the weather. A St. Jacobs historical landmark is being...

Scoring aplenty as Kings post a pair of wins

A pair of convincing wins saw the Elmira Sugar Kings pick up where they left off when a five-game winning streak was snapped...
- Advertisement -