Grant Hill turned his hobby into his career when he opened Kettle Valley Vintners, Grand Forks’ only u-brew beer and winemaking facility.
Making beer or wine in a u-brew, such as Kettle Valley Vintner, is a fairly simple process.
“Customers comes in and purchase a wine or beer kit, they put the yeast in to make the wine, leave it in my care, I do a couple of steps through the process, they return to bottle the wine and then they can take it home,” said owner Hill.
Wine kits range between $100 and $220 for completing the kit in store, which can also be done at home but requires a lot of space and costly start-up equipment. Customers will get 28 to 30 bottles out of a wine kit.
Hill’s business idea all started four years ago when he came to the Boundary and wanted to go to a u-brew to make some wine.
“There wasn’t anything here and I had trouble finding work so I turned my hobby into my career,” he said.
Hill has been a hobby wine maker for 10 years and when he was introduced to Winexpert, which is an international manufacturer of wine-making products, his passion grew even stronger.
“I learned that there is a big difference in the quality of juice,” he said.
Hill paired up with Winexperts, to sell their kits, which he believes are one of the world’s best u-brew wine kit producers.
“Winexperts set me up with a u-brew in Kelowna. I worked there for a while, got the feel for something that is a lot bigger scale than what I’m doing and I was able to see what I needed to do to ramp it up, to meet the community’s needs,” said Hill.
In terms of community needs, he said, that this is a service that’s been missed and the people are happy to have back in the community.
“Traditionally it’s been a business that has worked here before,” he said in reference to a few other u-brew facilities that have come through town in the past.
“It has a broad market and it can appeal to a lot of people on a lot of levels, the family, husband and wife, baby boomers, retirees and seniors love it, they have a real blast,” he said.
For residents not interested in making wine, Hill also has beer kits available. “We have a carbonation unit and a filtration machine as well,” he said.
Anyone interested in making beer or wine can visit Hill in the old Black Night Market on 68th Avenue.