New hands take on local U-brew wine business

Cranbrook Vineyards has new owners, Wayne and Sherry Kennelly

Wayne and Sherry Kennelly have taken over operations at Cranbrook Vineyards.

Wayne and Sherry Kennelly have taken over operations at Cranbrook Vineyards.

A local U-brew winemaking business is celebrating its 17th anniversary and also seeing two new owners take over the operation.

Wayne and Sherry Kennelly took over Cranbrook Vineyards at the beginning of September and have been busy brewing batches of wine since.

Wayne said the U-brew process is more personalized than just going to the store to pick out a bottle.

“You come in and take a look at what you’d like,” he said. “You pick out your flavour of wine that you’d like and we put it on for you.”

The customer sprinkles yeast on the batch and then comes back in four to six weeks for bottling.

“It’s relatively inexpensive compared to the liquor store,” he said, adding you get around 29-30 bottles per batch and the price comes out to about $6 a bottle.

“Christmas is coming and so everyone is putting on their Christmas wines to share with friends and family,” he said. “We have four and six week kits.”

He said a glass of wine a day can be beneficial health wise.

“We’re not using the preservatives, chemicals that you get out of a commercial type product,” he said. “It becomes personal because this is our wine that we put on.”

They will soon be offering custom labels that customers can create for their wines, such as putting a photo of a customer on the label of their wine.

Cranbrook Vineyards also has a new website, which has information about the business and the wines they offer. There is also a Facebook page and group where Wayne hopes people will share their wine recipes and talk about batches.

Wayne said he’s known the former owners, Bev and Reg Mitchell, for a number of years. When they told him that they were looking to retire, Wayne and Sherry decided to take over the business.

Wayne has experience in winemaking, entrepreneurship and working in the hospitality business. He’s also worked for more than a decade in the computer business. Sherry has worked for 20 years at the hospital in Cranbrook.

Both wanted to stay in the East Kootenay and saw Cranbrook Vineyards as a way to do that while also pursuing their love of wine.

For more information on the business call them at 250-417-0607, email wayne@cranbrookvineyards.com or visit the website at www.cranbrookvineyards.com. You can also search Cranbrook Vineyards on Facebook to find that site.