January 1, 2015 | By RJS Craft Winemaking
The Fine Vine and Kirton family are a bit of a local legend among craft wine making enthusiasts in Western Canada. Throughout their 17 years in the craft wine making business, the Kirtons have racked up more than 50 international amateur winemaking awards. This year, the younger generation celebrated as their son Paul entered his own Chocolate Mint, Blueberry, Chocolate, and Irish Cream Dessert Wines into the 2014 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition winning several awards, including two gold awards.
Frank and Mavis Kirton first discovered wine making in their native England decades ago, bringing their love of the craft to their new home in Alberta where they opened their craft wine store. Their son Paul eventually took the helm of this tightly-knit, and award winning family business. Their store, The Fine Vine, offers customers a wide variety of RJS Craft Winemaking kits that deliver customers the discovery, creativity and satisfaction of a traditional wine making experience, not to mention high-quality finished wine, at home.“Our customers have started entering their wines into competitions and they’re winning, too,” said Paul. “I remember when I was younger, having that experience of being really impressed with how well my wine turned out. When I see that on the faces of customers now, it reminds me why I do this.”
A perfect paring of true entrepreneurial spirit and passion for wine, the Kirtons were early adopters in the wine kit making industry. As part of the RJS Craft Winemaking Academy, they represent a network of over 100 retailers across Canada that are continually raising the flavour, consistency and quality standards of craft wine. “The product has just been elevated so much,” said Paul. “Time and time again we hear people say ‘I had no idea the wine could be that good.’ It’s like any hobby though, in that you get out of it what you put into it. We teach people how to use the equipment and we do our best to get them into making products they’re really going to enjoy.”
Members of the RJS Craft Winemaking Academy, like the Kirtons, are knowledgeable, passionate and committed to providing the best possible craft wine making experience to their customers. Canadians who dream of backyard vineyards, and well-stocked wine cellars are now learning and enjoying a personalized experience of craft wine making at the hands of these wine industry aficionados. Using juices and concentrates carefully selected from some of the world’s leading wine regions, RJS Craft Winemaking kits offer everything from the most sought after varietals like Pinot Grigio and Merlot to more obscure wines like South African Pinotage and Verdiccho.
“Looking ahead five years from now, I anticipate craft winemaking will grow in popularity with a younger crowd,” said Paul. “There’s a definite movement toward entertaining at home and cooking from scratch, and we’re finding our new customers are excited about the craft aspect, whether they’re making beer, cider or wine.”