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Build your cellar at Sunshine Coast Winemaking

Jun 28, 2018

There’s lots to celebrate as SC Winemaking enters its 7th year of operations.

Under its current owners, Sunshine Coast Winemaking has been growing and thriving steadily since Alison Maxwell, Dean and Amanda Boettcher partnered to acquire the business and rebrand it in August 2012.


The ‘face’ of the operation is chief vintner Alison Maxwell. With 22 years in the industry, she’s a tremendous resource for novice and experienced winemakers alike. Over the past two decades of working with wines and winemakers, Alison has watched the industry (both commercial and ‘home-made’) change significantly. Once heavily dominated by retired wine enthusiasts focused on saving money, the ‘U-Brew’ market is opening up to younger people exploring the whole experience of making and enjoying wines. The fact that every product SC Winemaking sells is already 75% free of sulfites (a preservative added by commercial wineries) and also offer a readily-available totally sulfite-free product is a huge plus for those wanting a pure, additive-free product.


Virtually any vintage found on the shelves of liquor and specialty wine stores can be duplicated at SC Winemaking – with the exception of vintages based on BC-grown grapes. “At the moment, we just can’t get any BC juice; we don’t grow enough grapes to supply more than the existing commercial wineries in the province. Our juice is primarily from the US, but we import from all over the world: South Africa, Australia, Europe, South America – pretty much all the big wine growing areas.”


SC Winemaking assists with selection of the wine base (Alison advises: “start with something you know”), then hosts the winemaker’s carboys during the 6 – 8 week fermentation process. The home vintner then comes in to bottle their product and take it home to age, often taking advantage of the “bottling day discount” to start the next batch and ensure a steady rotation of product.


The aging process is crucial. “Really, if you age your product properly there’s virtually no difference between the wine you bottle and that $20 bottle sitting on the liquor store shelves,” Alison notes. Therefore, for home vintners planning to ferment a supply for a special event – birthday, anniversary, wedding – it’s wise to start the fermentation at least two years in advance. While that younger wine may be drinkable, it won’t be fully on a par with the commercial product until it has aged the same 18 – 24 months as the commercial wines.


SC Winemaking is not just about the grape – they also do a brisk trade in beer, selling kits from Lower Mainland craft breweries and offering in-house space for beer fermentation (although most home brewers are just that – brewing and bottling at home.) The burgeoning BC craft beer industry expanded the homebrewers’ horizons with new tastes and a broader appreciation for hops and malts. Forget those vintage 1970s kits; homebrew enthusiasts are experimenting with exotic yeasts, rare hops and specialist malts recommended in countless online forums. If it’s not in stock, SC Winemaking will gladly order in whatever supplies are needed.


Sunshine Coast Winemaking celebrated their 5th anniversary in August, and they’re inviting all Chamber members and friends to visit and discover the magic created on their premises each day.


Sunshine Coast Winemaking

747 North Road (behind Rugrunners)


Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a..m. – 5 p.m. (closed Sunday and Monday)

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Office Location
Sunnycrest Mall, Unit 20
900 Gibsons Way,
Gibsons BC

Mailing Address
PO Box 1190,
Gibsons, BC
V0N 1V0

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