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Rodrigue Family Wines - my journey into a start up

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toddrod

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I am going to use this as a mini blog of my journey into opening my home based winery called Rodrigue Family Wines (name may be tweaked at some time). I will be focusing on semi sweet muscadine wines made from only muscadine juice or muscadine juice blended with other juice. Examples possibly to include red muscadine with Elderberry, blackberry or Concord. I already have 5 vines that are 2-7 yrs old vines on my property that are producing around 500lbs a yr with only 2 vines in full production right now. My 1st year goal is 50cs with sales at mostly farmer's markets and direct to consumer sales.
 
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DoctorCAD

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Good luck, but if your location is anything like it is around here, every Tom, ****, and Harry sells muscidine wine. Most of it sucks really bad...
 

toddrod

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To date this is what I have done

1. made a verbal agreement with a current winery owner for assistance with the permitting process.
2. Have an agreement for winery space to place fermenters
3. Have aquired rights to the fruit from 30 additional muscadine vines that a retired friend of mine has. Will supplement this fruit with mine to be able to increase production until I am able to get more appropriate varities planted.
4. Have a verbal agreement for land usage to plant more vines that is on the same property where my winery will be.
5. Have bought a bottle of every muscadine wine on the store shelves I could find and have ordered another 12 bottles of wine from a North Caroline winery with similar styles to what I will produce. I will use these wines, plus the my own wines to have a wine tasting party to compare them to my wines.
6. Have 100lbs of grapes frozen to be ready when my permits are approved.
7. I have an initial label design drawn but need someone familar with a graphics program to get it on paper in color
8. Will be doing acid testing and residual sweetness measurements on the above wine for comparison to my wine.
9. Will apply for the certified Cajun / Certified Louisiana product lable offered by the State of Louisiana.
10. Will be checking with the state to see if there are any grants, or assistance, available for new business start ups.
 
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toddrod

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Good luck, but if your location is anything like it is around here, every Tom, ****, and Harry sells muscidine wine. Most of it sucks really bad...
Where is here?

Where I am at there is not much available commericially. I am right in Plantation country and there are over 1 million tourist that come to the 3 plantations in my town. That is a huge under served market right there.
 

toddrod

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Financing - I get paid very well at my job and double time shifts are frequently available. I just need to pull a couple of OT shifts to raise additional cash.

As a nurse I am only scheduled to work 14 days a month and I am a shift supervisor so I can adjust my schedule as needed to take time off during harvest andprocessing time. Plenty of time to put my efforts into this venture.
 

Julie

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I'm thinking North Carolina, is that right DoctorCAD? I have had some good muscadine and I have had some bad muscadine wine but I do know you can buy muscadine wine all over North Carolina
 

grapeman

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Good luck with the whole adventure. It sounds like you have given it a lot of thought.
 

DoctorCAD

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Where is here?

Where I am at there is not much available commericially. I am right in Plantation country and there are over 1 million tourist that come to the 3 plantations in my town. That is a huge under served market right there.
I am living in the sandhills area of North Carolina, south of Raleigh, east of Rockingham over to just about I95.

There are at least 6 wineries within 2 hours of me.
 

toddrod

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I did a label design today but for some reason I can link to photobucket to show everyone

Figured it out. See below
 
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toddrod

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Here is a rough label design I did today. The main image is my families crest.

 

Julie

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Todd, good luck, I really think you will do good, you have put a lot of thought into this.
 

Sacalait

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Hey Todd, good luck with your venture. What varieties of muscadines will you be using?
 

toddrod

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Reds will be Isons but I am getting a Noble to help with the color stability. White will be just a mix of Pam and Sweet Jenny but I am thinking of adding a Magnolia or Carlos to to add production and another pollinator.
 

Sacalait

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Sounds like a plan. You're using pure juice, are you going to press or steam juice?
My vines didn't produce as much as normal this year, maybe I over pruned them.
 

toddrod

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Down here in my area the people like a lighter bodied muscadine wine so that means juice plus water for the reds. For the whites, I have made it using 1,2 and 3 gallons of juice per 5 gallon batch and 100% juice and really can not tell a differrence. My normal procedure is to crush and treat with pectic enzyme. I ferment white and reds on the skins for around 5 days then press very lightly. I am averaging 1 gallon juice / 10lb white muscadine and 1.5 gallon juice / 10lb Isons.
 

Sacalait

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I have a 5 gal batch in a carboy that is pure juice from a steam juicer. It took about 80# of mixed muscadines for the batch. This is my first attempt using 100% juice.
 
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