Consumer-made wine for discerning drinkers? You bet.

A new study has just revealed that Canadians are drinking more wine than ever.




A new study has just revealed that Canadians are drinking more wine than ever.

Given the uncertain economic climate, it’s perhaps no surprise that more and more of that wine, at least here in the Comox Valley anyway, is being made by consumers themselves.

“We see a lot of people making their own wine for the first time,” said Lyle Brodie, who owns The Wine Cottage, a do-it-yourself winemaking studio in Courtenay, with his wife Pamela. “We’re gradually overcoming our greatest challenge, which has been dispelling the myth that consumer-made wine is inferior to store-bought varieties.

“If you do it right, you can have a consumer-made wine that’s every bit as good as a commercial one, for a fraction of the price,” he added. He and Pamela are so confident in the quality of consumer-made wines, in fact, that they offer every customer a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee if they’re not happy with the final product.

“Many people base their opinion of consumer-made wine on the low-quality products they’ve tried in the past,” says Brodie. “Today’s superior wine kits use pure grape juice and are free from non-grape ingredients that have characterized lower end kits.”

The Brodies source all of their winemaking kits exclusively from Winexpert, an industry leader and consistent winner of amateur wine-tasting competitions throughout North America. The Wine Cottage is Courtenay’s exclusive supplier of Winexpert kits, making the store a preferred choice for wine lovers.

“Wines made from Winexpert products won 244 medals at last year’s WineMaker International Competition,” explained Brodie, referring to the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur wine event. “We often get people who’ve just moved to the Valley who seek us out because we carry Winexpert kits. They’re simply the best of the best.”

The second-most common misconception about making your own wine, according to the Brodies, is that you have to be either a bona fide wine buff or a chemist to do it properly.

“We love it when people tell us they don’t know much about wine because we can then educate them,” said Pamela. “We ask them about the types of wine they enjoy, we get a sense of their budget and we match them with the perfect wine.

“We’re always on hand during the winemaking process to answer questions, give tips and help out,” she adds. “We’ll hold their hand the whole way through.”

As for their satisfaction guarantee, the Brodies are happy to report they’ve only had to honour it a few times over The Wine Cottage’s 15-year history.

“It’s no surprise to us,” noted Pamela. “When done right, consumer-made wines can rival the best commercial varieties. They just cost a lot less.”

To find out more about consumer-made wine, or to make your own, visit The Wine Cottage at 312-130 Centennial Drive, near the corner of Back Road and Ryan Road, or call 250-338-2686.

The Wine Cottage can be found online at

The Wine Cottage