Friday, January 19, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 19, 2001

Business would let customers make wine

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A businesswoman plans to open the state’s first wine manufacturing company that will allow people to purchase kits and bottle their own wine.

Val Texeira’s company, Valtex Inc., will do business as Diamond Head Winery and operate out of a Sand Island Access Road building.

Texeira said she got the idea while visiting a winery in Alaska. She said the wine kit concept is popular in Canada, but has yet to catch on in the United States.

"It’s a real fun thing to do. When I went to do it in Alaska, it was just the neatest thing," said Texeira, who last October sold her Coastline Pumping company, a cesspool-pumping and waste-hauling business.

Valtex yesterday received preliminary approval for a manufacturers license from the Honolulu Liquor Commission. A public hearing on the application will be held in March.

If the license is approved, Texeira said customers will buy a kit for $180 to $230 and choose from 50 different wines. Each kit will come with grape juice and all the ingredients needed to make the wine.

Customers will mix their own blends and Texeira’s company will store and filter the juice until it becomes wine eight weeks later. The bottling also is done by the customers.

Each kit produces about five gallons of wine, or 26 bottles, she said. During the eight weeks, customers are welcomed to "visit" their wine.

"Men do that," she said about the Alaska operation. "I haven’t seen a woman do it, but men come in and they want to see the progress of their wine because when you put it on that first shelf, it’s dirty. But by the time it gets down to the bottles, it’s clean and really nice."

State law allows people to make beer and wine, as long as the beverages aren’t sold. The law also prohibits customers from removing the kits from Valtex premises.

In addition to the kits, Texeira said she will provide labels at an additional cost. But she thinks many people will make their own labels.

"It’s your own signature wine and a lot of people want to put their own pictures on it," she said.

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