© by Sheral Schowe
Tucked away near a place called Craft Corner along U.S. Highway 89, there is a new craft, made especially for adults. Here, Native Wines enjoys its first year of production in Sanpete County.
Native Wines is owned by Bob Sorenson and Winnie Wood. They produce all of their wines from their shop in Mt. Pleasant at 72 South and 500 West. Unlike most wineries that specialize in one or two varieties at a time in the beginning, Native Wines has blasted the market with over a dozen flavors of fruit wines. All of the fruit is hand picked by Bob and Winnie. Their selections are strictly wild or heritage fruits from Sanpete County, including apple, apricot, plum, red elderberry, blue elderberry, choke cherry, hollyberry, and rhubarb. They also make honeysuckle and dandelion wine. Most of the fruit used in the wines are either grown on their own property or within the region from farms and orchards with an organic philosophy. Bob and Winnie are very proud of the fact that the fruit and products used in the wine are natural, without pesticides or chemical manipulation.
It is the fruit that makes these wines truly native. The fruit that they grow themselves is a result of shoots and cuttings from stalks that are more than 100 years old. The process of making these special wines is time consuming and labor intensive. Bob and Winnie use from four to six pounds of fruit to make only one gallon of wine. If you count the gallons, they have picked and processed over 5,000 pounds of fruit for one season.
Sanpete County, surprisingly enough, has a rich history in wine and cider-making, dating back to its first European settlers. Many of the historic homes have up to four different types of apples growing in their back yards. These apples were not the best varieties for eating, but were perfect for the home production of hard cider.
Winnie Wood moved to Mt. Pleasant three years ago. She is a performance artist and owns a home in Salt Lake City. Bob Sorenson, a resident of Mt. Pleasant for five years, is an experienced furniture maker. His original furniture shop, located in one of Mt. Pleasantís most historic buildings, is now the winery.
Native Wines is open by appointment every day except Sundays and holidays. Their wines may be purchased at the winery, or through special order from the state liquor stores. They are in the process of making the necessary arrangements to serve their wine in local restaurants.
Sept. 23, 1999