NORTH ADAMS — The Northern Berkshires may not exactly be known as wine country, but a local couple hopes to change that when they open the city's first winery later this month.
Glen And Cheryl DeMarsico plan to take the award-winning wines they've been concocting at home for the past five years — and an array of new recipes — and craft them commercially in their new space on Marshall Street.
Dubbed "DeMarsico's Wine Cellar," the business will produce its wine in the basement at 28 Marshall St. and offer monthly tastings through their upstairs neighbor, Grazie. Although production has been underway for some time, the first opportunity the public will have to sample the wines will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the restaurant. Grazie also will the DeMarsicos' wine by the glass and bottle.
The monthly tastings will also include wines from Grazie's menu, which Grazie co-owner Matt Tatro hopes will elicit useful feedback from customers.
Glen and Cheryl began making wine at home — they now live in Adams — as a hobby and worked to perfect their blueberry and strawberry wine recipes.
"Once you get into this, you can't stop," Glen said.
They knew they might have something special when they began to win awards, like a silver medal at a competition in Hartford, Conn., for their blueberry wine.
"We entered that wine contest and got some great reviews out of it," Glen said.
The DeMarsicos have traveled, met with people in the business, and brought them samples to hear their feedback and cement their recipes and methods.
In addition to their flagship berry wines, DeMarsico's also has plans to craft a chardonnay, pinot grigio, and merlot. DeMarsico's will also offer seasonal wines — this fall, they'll be pouring a wine made with pumpkins from Cheshire and a mix of seasonal spices.
"We're trying to keep everything local" when possible, Glen said.
Their blueberry mead, made with blueberries harvested in Maine, is also a favorite. The DeMarsico's berry wines have even won the approval of Cheryl, who prefers red wines.
"I could never really find a berry wine that I liked," she said.
It can take 90 pounds of fruit to make 30 gallons of wine, Glen said, which would fill about 120 bottles. The production process can be lengthy, and it can take between three and five months for the fruit wine to be ready for consumption, and the berry wines have a shorter shelf life than traditional grape wines.
The business' setup relies on a strong relationship with the restaurant upstairs, which opened earlier this year. Tatro, Grazie's chef and co-owner, recruited the DeMarsicos after he tasted one of their homemade wines.
"It was very intriguing as I like to make everything from scratch, so they gave my wife and I a bottle and we drank it and really liked it," he said.
With plenty of room in the cellar, Grazie framed out a space for the wine operation.
"It adds another dimension to the restaurant," Tatro said.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376