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Indiana: Oliver Winery & Vineyards

Three years ago we visited wineries in Indiana and discovered large and boutique wineries offering a variety of experiences. One of the larger wineries we stopped at was Oliver Winery & Vineyards in Bloomington.

Oliver Winery in Indiana

Oliver Winery & Vineyards offers a wide variety of experiences. 

COVID-19 has caused the winery to adapt the experiences; however, many of the experiences are currently available with certain limits. 

At Oliver Winery, the following is open with some adaptations. The retail shop and tasting room are open but with a limited capacity and social distancing. The Lower Patio and Hillside have seating with limited capacity and also social distancing. The Hillside venue is also limited to groups of up to six. Reservations for picnics require bookings and only for a maximum of four people. Reserved wine flights for up to four people are available and the winery recommends advance reservations for weekends. According to the winery’s July 6 update, live music and wine tastings are not taking place. Watch the winery website for changes to the current adaptations

Oliver Winery offers several types of wine clubs that reflect the types of wines people enjoy. Members can receive wine by shipping or pick-up. Other specials for members include wine, food and merchandise, private event rentals and special events ticket discounts.

  • Creekbend Club is an exclusive club that recently opened for new participants. The wines in this club focus on Indiana wines from estate bottles from the Creekbend Vineyard collection. Shipments of six bottles (with 15% off) are in April and November. Members receive six complimentary individual wine tastings in the tasting room. (Est cost: $100 to $125 plus shipping and taxes.) Members will also receive access to new release and library wines pre-sales.
  • The Drier Side Club: As its name suggests, this club focuses on dry red and white wines. Shipments of six bottles are sent out in April and November. Est. cost is $85 to $125 plus shipping and taxes.
  • The Sweeter Side Club: The focus for the Sweeter Side Club is on semi-dry, semi-sweet and dessert wines. Members will receive six bottles of wine in April and November. The cost is $65 to $85 per selection plus shipping and taxes.

It should be noted that the winery ships wine to more than 30 US states. So if you are hesitant to visit, consider ordering wine from Oliver Winery online.

Check out the Wine Trail Traveler article about our visit to Oliver Winery & Vineyards.

Cheers, Kathy

Ontario Winery: Between the Lines Family Estate Winery

A number of years ago, Wine Trail Traveler traveled to Ontario and visited many of the wineries in the region. One of the wineries we visited was Between the Lines Family Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Check out our article here.

At the time, one of the questions we had for the owners was, “Why did you choose the name Between the Lines?” In the Wine Trail Traveler review of the winery I wrote about their answer, “The name ‘Between the Lines’ refers to the winery location. Current plans are to sell out of the tasting room. In order to do that, people needed to find the winery. People would call to ask them what lines (roads) they were between. They would say they were between Line 5 and Line 6. It just made sense to call the winery “Between the Lines.” The wine bottle labels show a map of the location of the winery between the lines. GPS coordinates are also part of the label design.”

Since our visit to Between the Lines Family Estate Winery, the winery appears to have made tremendous growth. Today the winery offers four types of Wine Clubs. The Loyalist Package is free and includes the monthly BTL newsletter mailing, first-to-know status for BTL events and exclusive Loft Member events. The only requirement is that you visit the winery occasionally. The next step in the wine club lineup is The Economist. In addition to the benefits of the Loyalist club, members receive six bottles of wines delivered four times a year. Merchandise  purchased at the winery will have 15% off. This also includes free tasting for you plus three friends at BTL any time. Price: $475. The Reservist Package, in addition to the Loyalist offerings, you receive six bottles of Reserve wines delivered four times a year, a copy of the winemaker’s notebook, a special t-shirt and two VIP tickets to BTL events. This also includes free tastings for you and three others at anytime. Cost: $800. Looking for a more extravagant wine club, check out The Hedonist Package priced at  $2400. As above The Hedonist members receive what the Loyalist receives plus 12 bottles of wines which arrive at the beginning of every month. The Hedonist Package also includes a private winery tour and tasting with Greg and Yannick for you and friends. Members receive four VIP tickets to all events, Yannick’s Notebook and a special t-shirt.

Currently Between the Vines winery offers several types of wine tasting opportunities. When planning to visit, check the winery’s website for events and be sure to receive a ticket. Note that the tours/events are limited to a maximum of 10 people.

The winery is following the pandemic guidelines set by the government of Ontario. The winery website notes, “The maximum people for each tour or tasting will be determined by current social distancing rules required by the Government of Ontario. For the safety of you and our staff, we ask you to comply.”

Wine tasting options include:

  • Private Group Tasting
  • Grape to Glass Tour
  • Black Glass Tasting @BTL
  • Decadent Tasting
  • Corner Store Cravings and Pairings
  • BTL Cheese & Charcuterie Tasting
  • Yoga + Brunch (only August 9)

Purchase tickets from the dropdown list for each event. The tickets are considered your reservations. 

When you plan to visit any of the Canadian wineries, be sure to check with each winery as to whether it is currently open and what COVID 19 protocol steps they are following.


Maryland Wineries Begin to Open

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, MD

Many Maryland wineries are ready to open for business. As might be expected because of COVID-19, certain guidelines are set in place. Keep in mind that not all wineries may currently be open, so contact any Maryland winery you may want to visit.

Adults in Maryland have been able to receive Maryland wine by delivery and purchase the beverage to go. Wine enthusiasts will be able to continue these options.

However those who enjoy visiting wineries, wine lovers will discover that in Maryland wineries are now able to offer new options.

According to the Maryland Wineries Association the guidelines for visitors are below. Keep in mind that anyone not feeling well should stay at home.

  • Wine may be purchased to enjoy in specific designated outdoor areas of the winery.
  • Social distancing must be maintained at six feet between visitors, although visitors from the same household may sit together.
  • The maximum number of people seated together is six.
  • When inside a winery, use of face masks are necessary.

To show people that the wineries and staffs are serious about protecting people from coronavirus, below is a list of steps that each winery is taking.

  • Winery must insure that social distancing of six feet is followed.
  • Each open winery will not allow more than six people to set together
  • Sanitation of seating and surfaces will be followed.
  • Before staff begins working, each worker will have a temperature screening.
  • Face masks will be worn by each staff member while with visitors or other staff members.

Wine Trail Traveler has visited many of Maryland’s wineries. Photos and reviews of the wineries and wines are available on the Wine Trail Traveler website.

Stay safe!

Two More Chardonnays from California

Jackson Family of Wines

After writing about four of the six chardonnays we tasted earlier this month during an online virtual wine tasting, we are writing about the last two wines tasted, one from Maggy Hawk and the other from Freemark Abbey. Both wineries are also part of the Jackson Family Wines

Freemark Abbey

Freemark Abbey Chardonnay

Freemark Abbey, located in Napa Valley, dates its history back to 1886. The winemaker, Josephine Tychson, was the first female winemaker in Napa Valley. In 1889, Antonio Forni, a friend of Josephine’s purchased the winery. Antonio named the winery Lombarda Cellars. The winery was sold again and named Freemark Abbey. In 1949 Freemark Abbey opened a “sampling room.”

The year 1976 stands out for Freemark Abbey as the winery submitted two wines, a red and white to the well-known “The Judgment of Paris” event.

Freemark Abbey sources the grapes for its wines from special vineyards in Napa Valley.

When Freemark Abbey opens to the public again, be sure to check out the the winery’s website for more information.

2018 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley – Los Carneros AVA

The grapes for this wine were harvested from three vineyards. This Chardonnay was 92% fermented in French oak with 47% in new oak. For 10 months the wine was aged sur lie. This Chardonnay was bottled in August 2019 and 4,434 cases were produced.

Terry’s Notes: The 2018 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley – Los Carneros AVA had 14.5% alcohol. The wine was a yellow color. The wine offered aroma notes of apple and pear. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel and was full-bodied. The taste included citrus, apple and pear. The finish was crisp and fruity with a faint caramel and very slight heat.

Kathy’s Notes: The Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley 2018 retails for $40.  The pale yellow wine offered a faint aroma of honeysuckle and mineral. The wine offered a rich taste with notes of flowers and spices notably baking spices. The finish had mild heat and mineral notes. The mouthfeel was smooth and the wine was full bodied.

Maggy Hawk

Maggy Hawk wines

Maggy Hawk is located in Anderson Valley AVA. It was noted during the virtual wine tasting presentation that Anderson Valley does not yet realize its wine potential. 

Maggy Hawk vineyards include: Maggy Hawk Vineyard, Edmeades Vineyard, Skycrest Vineyard and Jory Hills Vineyard in Willamette Valley’s Dundee Hills.

2018 Maggy Hawk Chardonnay, Skycrest Vineyard Anderson Valley AVA

This wine was produced with 100% Chardonnay grapes from the Skycrest Vineyard. The grapes were harvested at night to protect the grapes from heat. The wine was aged for 15 months in 20% new French oak and 43% neutral puncheons. The wine was bottled in January 2020. Only 495 cases were produced.

Terry’s Notes: The Maggy Hawk Chardonnay, Skycrest Vineyard Anderson Valley AVA  retails for $55. The wine had 13.6% alcohol and was a yellow color. The aroma was of apple. The taste offered notes of citrus and green apple. The mouthfeel was silky and the wine was medium/full bodied. The finish was crisp and fruity with oak entering on the aftertaste.

Kathy’s Notes:  The grapes for this wine grow at 1700′ elevation. The wine was a pale yellow color.  The aroma was fruity with hints of citrus. The taste was fresh with mineral and light lemon.  The mouthfeel was smooth. The finish was light and the wine dried on the finish.

Cheers, Kathy

Two Chardonnays from California

The early May wine tasting of six Chardonnays from the Jackson Family of Wines took place online. Below is information about two of the Chardonnays, one from Alexander Valley AVA and the other from Sta. Rita Hills AVA.

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards

Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards is located in the Alexander Valley AVA. Stonestreet was created in 1995 by Barbara Banke and Jess Stonestreet Jackson. This vineyard estate consists of 5,500 acres in the Mayacamas Mountain Range in Sonoma County. Today the second generation, Christopher Jackson and his wife operate the estate. Lisa Valtenbergs is the winemaker.

At Stonestreet the winemaking protocols include: harvesting the grapes by hand, using native yeasts for the Chardonnays and fermenting Cabernets  in French oak tanks.

In the vineyards, Stonestreet supports sustainability. The vineyards are certified sustainable with Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and Sustainability in Practice programs. Water use is carefully monitored and drip irrigation is used in the vineyards. Much of the vast estate is open space where animals and native vegetation are encouraged.

2017 Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley AVA

The 2017 Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay Alexander Valley AVA was produced with grapes that were harvested from vines planted in 1992, 1994 and 1997.

The winemaker used native yeast and the wine was 100% barrel fermented. 3600 cases of this Chardonnay were produced. The wine had 14.1% alcohol.

Terry’s Notes: This yellow colored wine had 14.1% alcohol. The aroma was of apple and pear. The taste was crisp with fruit including traces of pineapple, apple and pear. Think of a fruit salad. The mouthfeel was silky and the wine was full bodied. The finish was crisp and fruity with some mineral on the aftertaste. This wine retails for $40.

Kathy’s Notes: The wine was a light yellow color. The aroma was light with notes of minerality. The mouthfeel was smooth and there was a sense of butteriness.  An oak influence was apparent. The wine was dry and offered mineral notes. The finish was long and left the tastebuds wishing for one more sip.

Contact Stonestreet Estate Vineyards about virtual wine tasting and discover when the tasting rooms may open.

Brewer – Clifton 

The Brewer – Clifton winery is located in Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The winery and vineyards are a result of two enthusiastic people who met during a Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association committee meeting. Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton, who met in 1995,  formed the Brewer – Clifton winery. They started producing wine together in 1996. Today Greg is also the winemaker. In 2017 Brewer- Clifton winery joined the Jackson Family Wines. Brewer – Clifton now has 60 acres of vineyards, all of which are located in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The focus of the vineyards is on producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

2017 Brewer – Clifton Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

2017 Brewer – Clifton Chardonnay

Terry’s Notes: This wine with 14.5% alcohol was a dark yellow color. The aroma was fruity. The taste included notes of tangerine, mineral and lemon with a lively mouthfeel. This is a medium/full-bodied wine. The finish was fruity with mineral notes. The aftertaste was long.

Kathy’s Notes: This Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills AVA was a light yellow color. The aroma was of citrus and mineral. The mouthful was velvety, smooth. The taste included citrus notes of oranges and lemon. The long, dry finish offered hints of minerality.

Chardonnay Day is celebrated on May 21st. Why not enjoy a Chardonnay this week?


Two Chardonnays from Oregon’s Willamette Valley

The emphasis of a recent wine tasting of Chardonnays from Oregon and California was on the regions where the vineyards are located. The six Chardonnays tasted were from the wineries of Jackson Family of Wines.

Pacific Coast Chardonnay Tasting

2017 Gran Moraine Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay 2017

Gran Moraine™, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, is in the northern area of the Willamette Valley.  The winery is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA which was established in 2012.  The winemaker is Shane Moore.

The soils of the northern Willamette Valley were heavily influenced by the Ice Age when Missoula Floods added glacial sediment. The winery was named for the sediment as moraine refers to the sediment brought by a glacier.

The focus of Gran Moraine is on growing and producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Currently the Gran Moraine tasting room is closed, however; wine enthusiasts are able to purchase wines by contacting the winery. Currently Gran Moraine is conducting virtual wine tastings.

Terry and I enjoyed tasting the Gran Moraine Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay 2017 and we wrote individual notes about the wine. The Chardonnay grapes for this wine were hand harvested.  The winemaking protocol was to use whole cluster pressing and fermentation in French oak barrels. The wine was aged in French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Gran Moraine produced 2,305 cases of this wine.

Terry wine notes: The Gran Moraine Chardonnay 2017, priced at $45, was a yellow color with a light green hue. The aroma was fruity. The taste included notes of pear, lemon, apple with a hint of pineapple. This full-bodied wine had a velvety mouthfeel. The finish offered crisp fruit yielding to mineral on the aftertaste.

Kathy: The Gran Moraine 2017 Chardonnay had 13% alcohol. The wine was a deep yellow color. The aroma was intense with fresh notes of pear and white apple. The taste was inclusive of some tangerine/orange, pear and white apple. This was a full-bodied wine. The finish which was very crisp lingered. I suggest pairing this Chardonnay with chicken or shrimp.

2017 Willa Kenzie Estate Chardonnay, Yamhill Carlton AVA

WillaKenzie Estate is located in Yamhill, Oregon. The start of the winery and vineyards was in 1991 when Bernard and Ronni Lacroute purchased a large farm. The first grapevines were planted in 1992. It wasn’t long before the winery was built in 1995. The wines were quickly successful as the estate’s Gamay Noir 1995 was served at a White House gala. Since 1997 WillaKenzie’s wines have sometimes been served at State dinners. 

The name WillaKenzie is for the sedimentary soil in the vineyards. The name originally comes from two of Oregon’s major rivers: the McKenzie and the Willamette.

The WillaKenzie vineyards consist of 126 acres and are planted with a majority of Pinot Noir vines, however; the vineyards are also planted with Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Meunier. WillaKenzie was one of the very first members of LIVE Certified Sustainable. In 2016 WillaKenzie became part of the Jackson Family Wines.

Currently the tasting room is closed but wines can be purchased by contacting the winery.

The retail price for the WillaKenzie Estate Chardonnay 2017 is $75. The grapes were harvested by hand. After harvesting the grapes were whole cluster pressed and fermented in French oak. Only 150 cases were bottled.

Terry’s notes: The WillaKenzie Estate Chardonnay 2017 was 13.9% alcohol. The wine was a yellow door with a gold hue. The aroma was of aromatic fruits including pear and tangerine. The  taste was of pear, apple, tangerine with an oak influence. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel. The finish was crisp with fruity with oak in the background. Mineral was on the long aftertaste. 

Kathy’s notes: WillaKenzie Estate Chardonnay 2017  was 13.9% alcohol. The wine was a light spring yellow color. The aroma included notes of fruit and mineral. The dry wine was crisp with notes of mellowness. The taste  offered notes of tropical fruits, hints of peach with some mineral. The finish was crisp and long. This Chardonnay “leaves your tastebuds wishing for one more sip.”

If you enjoy Chardonnays, when you have the opportunity try a Chardonnay from Oregon. Chardonnay Day is celebrated on May 21st.

Kathy and Terry

Pacific Coast Chardonnay Tasting, a Prelude to Chardonnay Day on May 21st

This year international Chardonnay Day is scheduled for May 21, 2020. We were invited to attend a virtual tasting of six Pacific Coast Chardonnays by six wineries. This Zoom tasting event was organized by Colangelo & Partners PR. The event was sponsored by Jackson Family Wines. We received a shipment of six Chardonnays, two from wineries in Oregon and four from wineries in California. The wines represented in the tasting included:

2017 Gran Moraine Chardonnay, Yamhill Carlton AVA
2017 Willa Kenzie Estate Chardonnay, Yamhill Carlton AVA
2018 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley – Los Carneros AVA
2018 Maggy Hawk Chardonnay, Skycrest Vineyard Anderson Valley AVA
2017 Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley AVA
2017 Brewer – Clifton Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Stay at home wine tasting uses Zoom to chat and taste wines.

We met on Zoom with other writers from mostly the east and west coasts of the United States. The tasting was led by Master Sommelier Thomas Price, who organized the tasting geographically. The Zoom tasting was very laid back and it was nice to see the different attendees.

In 2011 the Wine Bloggers Conference took place in Virginia. One of the keynote speakers, Eric Asimov challenged the attendees to write creatively about wines. It was at that conference that I began writing haikus for wine descriptions. For this Chardonnay wine tasting, I decided to write both traditional wine notes and haikus. 

Pacific Coast Chardonnay Tasting

Pacific Coast Chardonnay Tasting Haikus

2017 Gran Moraine Chardonnay, Yamhill Carlton AVA

A Gran Moraine Chard
With velvety fruit salad
Fruit to mineral.

2017 Willa Kenzie Estate Chardonnay, Yamhill Carlton AVA

Fruity with oak hint.
Willa Kenzie Chardonnay
Want another glass.

2018 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay Napa Valley – Los Carneros AVA

A velvety Chard
Freemark Abbey three vineyards
Blended and fruity.

2018 Maggy Hawk Chardonnay, Skycrest Vineyard Anderson Valley AVA

Fruity, easy drink
Maggy Hawk Chardonnay wine
Where is the seafood?

2017 Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley AVA

Thinking fruit salad
Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay
Easy drinking wine.

2017 Brewer – Clifton Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Fruity wine not oak
Brewer Clifton Chardonnay
Easy drinking Chard.

I do not write haikus for every wine tasting. Usually I write them once or twice a year. These Chardonnays were impressive and I was actually able to taste the grape. Kathy and I will add additional posts about these Chardonnays and the wineries.


Cabernet Sauvignon from Nichols Winery

We were gifted a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Nichols Winery in California and recently enjoyed opening the bottle and pouring a glass of it. The wine was Nichols Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2012. Upon opening the bottle there was an explosion of aroma emphasizing black fruit. The wine was dark ruby to purple color. The wine offered smooth a mouthfeel and bold tannins. Notes of blackberry, cassis, cedar and violets were enjoyed. The wine offered a long aftertaste.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Curious about Nichols Winery located in Paso Robles, I did a little online research and discovered that Nichols Winery was started in 1991 by Keith Nichols who was interested in producing ultra premium wines. In addition to producing Cabernet Sauvignon wines, he also produces Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc wines. Keith also produces the Silver Fox and Soleil & Terroir brands. 

Keith was born in New York state, joined the Navy and eventually moved to Maryland. From Maryland he went to California where he developed his interest in wine. His research into wine has taken him to France and South Africa.

Today Nichols Winery has opened a tasting room in Atascadero, California. Available are the three brands: Nichols Brand, Soleil & Terroir Brand and Silver Fox Brand.

The tasting room provides three patios, a full kitchen, an “up-side-down” wine cellar, a library/reserve tasting room, a tasting room and winery tours.

In this time of social distancing you might want to order from the winery’s online store.


Discover the Wines of Torraccia del Piantavigna

I discovered Torraccia del Piantavigna wines at the 2020 Barolo Brunello Barbaresco wine tasting in Washington D.C hosted by Empson USA

The Torraccia del Piantavigna winery is located in Italy’s Piedmont region, specifically  the Ghemme and Gattinara D.O.C.G. regions. Pierino Piantavigna planted Nebbiolo in his first vineyard.  Years later the winery was started and in 2020, the winery owns close to 100 acres of vineyards with the grape varieties of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Erbaluce. All of the vineyards are cultivated by hand and the grapes are hand harvested.

Torraccia Del Piantavigna at Washington DC wine tasting

The winemaking protocol uses Allier oak casks. According to a brochure offered at the wine tasting, “…medium sized (2,500 l) Allier oak casks are the preferred choice as they soften the tannins without masking the essential varietal notes of the grape.”

Torraccia del Piantavigna produces three levels of wine that include young and old D.O.C. wines plus the D.O.C.G. wines.

Torraccia del Piantavigna


ErbaVoglio 2018 was produced with an indigenous grape variety known as Erbaluce.  The wine was aged for five months in stainless steel tanks followed by one month in bottle. This dry white wine had 13% alcohol. The wine was a peach color. The aroma was of yellow stone fruit and the fruity taste included notes of peaches and apricots. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Nebbiolo 2018 (Neb) 2018 was a translucent red color. The wine was a translucent red color with a fruity aroma. The taste had notes of light cherry and red fruits. The finish began with mild tannins that built up.

Gattinara D.O.C.G. was produced with Nebbiolo grapes. The wine had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of three years . The wine was an orange-red color. The wine offered notes of blackberry and black cherry. The mouthfeel was velvety-smooth.

Ghemme 2013, produced with 90 percent Nebbiolo also included the Vespolina grape variety. This wine  was a dark orange-red color. The mouth feel was smooth and had tannins. The taste was fruity and included blackberry notes. The finish was long.

Visiting Torraccia del Piantavigna

According to the Torraccia del Piantavigna website, the winery has a large, elegant wine store where wine and distilled products are available. At the same location visitors can discover a wine bar,  tasting room and an International Wine, Grappa and Liqueur Library. Visitors can also visit the winery. “We can arrange a range of different options from a simple visit to a full tasting, a light snack of local specialities, a visit to the vineyards or a master-class with our enologist.” Please contact the winery in advance.


Distilleries Helping During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Painted Stave Distilling

Ron Gomes Jr. and Mike Rasmussen
Ron Gomes Jr. and Mike Rasmussen owners of Painted Stave Distilling

Over the years, Wine Trail Traveler has visited and written about distilleries in addition to wineries. We also had the experience of distilling some wine and infusing the brandy. A few weeks ago, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan gave a shout out to local distilleries that are stepping up by making hand sanitizer. We reached out to the distilleries in our region that we have visited and written about to see if they would like to conduct an online interview about making hand sanitizer. In this first post, we have the interview with Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna, Delaware.

Hand Sanitizer
Painted Stave Distilling is now making hand sanitizer. Image provided by Painted Stave Distilling.

Wine Trail Traveler: Why did you decide to produce hand sanitizer?
Mike Rasmussen: We were approached by a number of people in our community about making it, including our police department. Our first batch (2,200 four oz bottles) was made for the police so they would be able to meet their needs and distribute it to the community.  After the state restricted our sales, we decided to make more to help serve the need in our community and generate a little revenue to help keep the doors open.

Wine Trail Traveler: What raw materials are you using to make hand sanitizer? 
Mike Rasmussen: We are producing the WHO formulation based on their guidelines (the only formulation it is legal for distilleries to produce).  We use a corn based neutral spirit add hydrogen peroxide to denature it and then glycerine and water to cut it to the required 80% alcohol.  Noting else can be legally added to the WHO formulation.

Wine Trail Traveler: How does the production of hand sanitizer differ from alcohol spirits and how is it similar? 
Mike Rasmussen: Sanitizer production is much simpler then spirits production. We source neutral spirit for production of our sanitizer, so the production is mostly blending it in the right proportions and bottling it.

Smyrna Police Department
Smyrna Police pick up hand sanitizer. Image provided by Painted Stave Distilling.

Wine Trail Traveler: Who are the primary recipients of your hand sanitizer?  Will you sell to the public online? 
Mike Rasmussen: We have focused on supplying First Responders first (Fire, Police, EMS, Medical Professionals, etc.), but we are also supplying essential businesses and other state agencies that are in need.  If we are able to met those needs we will also offer it to our community. Our understanding is that we are not allowed to ship sanitizer so it will only be available for those who can pick it up at the distillery.

Wine Trail Traveler: How much hand sanitizer can you produce and what amount do you think that you will produce? 

Mike Rasmussen: We have produced about 1,100 gallons so far and expect to produce that much more in the next few weeks. We will continue to produce it as long as there is need in our community.

Wine Trail Traveler: Are you considering selling hand sanitizer after the pandemic is over? 

Mike Rasmussen: Sanitizer production is only allowable by the TTB and FDA during the Covid-19 Emergency.  Once that emergency designation is lifted it will no longer be legal for distilleries to produce Sanitizer unless they become FDA Certified Facilities

What is the price point that you are selling your hand sanitizer?
Mike Rasmussen:We are selling it for $35 a gallon.

We would like to thank Mike Rasmussen from Painted Stave Distilling for answering the questions.

Wine Trail Traveler’s article about Painted Staves Distilling


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