Wine makers enjoy the fruits of a vineyards labor - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wine makers enjoy the fruits of a vineyards labor

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - When you think of picking your own fruit, apples and strawberries come to mind. But with the growing popularity of do-it-yourself wine making, one area vineyard is letting the public share in the fruits of their labor.

By the pail, bucket or vat, grapes are in high demand.

"It doesn't take long to actually pick a lot of clusters; you can rip through them pretty fast. You just grab the tool and the cluster of grapes and slide it right on there," says Randy Feuling, the owner of C.R. Vineyards.

After repeated requests, the Feulings opened up their vineyard this year so people could grab their own grapes.

"We've had people come from Minnesota and Osceola, Wisconsin. They've come from all different directions," Feuling says.

Some even come from as far away as Texas.

"It is fabulous out here, just fabulous," says Herb Janc, a do-it-yourself wine maker.  

The grapes are used for snacks, juice, jams, and pies but mostly for wine.

"It's a homemade wine-makers paradise," Janc says.  

"You'd have to taste them to actually realize how sweet they are" Feuling says.  

"On the bottom of my bucket are red grapes. I mix those with the green grapes to sweeten them," Janc says.

A good grape is where it all begins for novices and professionals.

"We have 30 different varieties of wine here, all the way from dry reds to sweet whites," says Tracy Kluge of Cap-n-Corks, a micro-winery and supply store.

Galloping Gertie, Bumpa, Roo and Skeeter Pee, to name a few, but Cap-n-Corks doesn't just sell their concoctions, they teach people how to make their own wine too.

"When you buy an equipment kit from us, you get a free wine-making class and that will go through all the steps of making your own wine, from the start all the way to where you bottle it and cork it. Usually we would have maybe five or six people when we first started out. Now our wine classes sell out," Kluge says.

A hobby that has grown in popularity since the days of I love Lucy and thankfully, the technology has changed as well.  

"Do you crush the grapes with your feet? No, I don't. I have athletes foot, so I can't do it," Janc says.

Both of those businesses are so unique to our area: one customer who was picking grapes at the vineyard this morning went straight to Cap-n-Corks to get the rest of his wine-making supplies.

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