CHEYENNE, Wyo. (WyomingNewsNow) - In recent years, Cheyenne has added a distillery or two and a few breweries as well, giving residents a place to buy locally made beer and spirits. Now Cheyenne is adding a winery to that list. Tucked away on the West Edge of town off North American Road, just North of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, is a new experience for wine lovers.
Vintages winery offers a chance for customers to blend their own personal wine, and to be involved with the process on a more intimate level than simply buying a bottle.
“It’s a winery, but it’s an experiential winery,” owner Lino DiFelice says, “So we involve the clients in the selection of their wine.”
Customers get to literally make the wine their very own – from tasting different wines with Lino to figure out blend ratios, to bottling and labeling the wine. The bottles are bought in bulk, which keeps the price down to about $10-$15 a bottle.
One customer, Seena Spencer, says the idea is attractive to wine lovers like herself and her husband.
"The idea of blending our own wine for something a little over 10 dollars a bottle is very appealing."
The wine itself is made in house from scratch by Lino and his team. With nearly 40 years of experience with the business, Lino is no greenhorn with it comes to wine making. Lino has been working with wine since he was a child in Canada. He learned to make wine with relatives before getting into the business of importing wine grapes as an adult. That business eventually led him to Colorado where he first started the Vintage’s business model in the U.S. That recently led Lino to a decision to move to Cheyenne.
For some, Cheyenne may seem like an unlikely place to put a winery.
“Well you don’t think of Wyoming as a place where venders make their own wine.” Seena tells Wyoming News Now.
But for Lino, Cheyenne is the place to be.
“It just looked a lot easier to do business here in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” He says “So I decided to make this the head office and bring my Colorado customers to Cheyenne."
Lino imports grapes from all over the world and freezes them – a process Lino says is unique to him. Freezing the grapes allows Lino to make wine all year long and not just when things are in season. When the time comes, a hulking mass of grapes and juice are punched down in a plastic container, then fermented for about 2 weeks. Then the grapes are pressed and the wine is left for a second, longer fermentation. After that, the wine is presented to customers in a tasting.
So far Lino says the reaction has been strong and positive and that he loves working in Cheyenne. But for him, it’s really not about the wine or making money or even running a business. In typical wine loving fashion, Lino says it’s all about passion, love and friends.
"This is something I love doing. It's all about the relationships that we create.” Lino explains, “I get to have a ‘customer,’ but it really becomes a friendship."
You can find Vintages on 309 North American Road.