APOLLO BEACH – With the Feb. 1 opening of Southshore Uncorked, South Shore wine lovers have an opportunity to make and bottle their own private-label wines.
Longtime Apollo Beach real estate agents Kathy Lieberman and her husband, Steve, decided to open the make-your-own-wine business at 1432 Apollo Beach Blvd., Apollo Beach, after attending a wine-making party four years ago at a similar business in Brandon.
“We loved the concept and started making our own wine to give to our real estate customers during the holidays,” she said. “Our clients kept telling us they’d love to have a business like this in Apollo Beach.”
The Liebermans and daughter Stacy Tace, manager of Southshore Uncorked, spent nine months researching and planning the business before officially opening its doors this month.
Southshore Uncorked offers customers an opportunity to choose from nearly 50 wine juices from around the world including Oregon, Washington, California, Spain, Chile, France and Australia.
“The quality of the wine is excellent and it’s low in sulfides, which means no headaches,” Lieberman said.
The store provides a variety of samples for customers to try before choosing a wine kit. Then Tace and part-time employee Don Smith help them prepare the wine right there in the store. Each kit makes 20 to 30 bottles of wine.
“Customers can make the entire kit for their own use or share it with a friend or neighbor,” Lieberman said.
The newly made wine remains at Southshore Uncorked to ferment for 30 to 60 days.
“When the fermentation process is complete, we call the customer so they can come back in to bottle, cork and label their wine,” Lieberman said.
Customers at Southshore Uncorked are invited to test their creativity by designing their own private labels using personal photos or graphics.
“It’s a great way for a business to promote itself,” said Lieberman. “We also offer half-size bottles for gifts at wedding receptions. Customers can label the wine with a photo of the happy couple.”
Also popular are wine-making parties similar to the one the Liebermans attended four years earlier.
“We can accommodate up to 10 friends or members of a group or club,” Lieberman said, adding the parties include a wine tasting of three reds and three whites along with cheese and crackers.
The cost of creating and bottling wine varies depending on the wine juice the customer chooses. However, customers are able to produce 20 to 30 bottles of wine for an average cost of $5.50 per bottle.
“It’s very economical,” said Lieberman. “Even our high-end wines run about $8.50 a bottle.”
Customers who can’t wait 30 to 60 days for the fermentation process to complete have the option of purchasing pre-made wines in the store along with a variety of unique wine-related gifts and accessories, including wine holders, wine stoppers and hand-painted glassware.
Southshore Uncorked also sells home wine- and beer-making kits and supplies.
“We’ve had a great response from the community,” said Lieberman. “It’s just fun and different.”
Southshore Uncorked is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To make reservations to make wine, call (813) 649-9466. Walk-ins are welcome.
D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer who can be reached at email@example.com.