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A family winemaking affair

Posted: December 21st, 2012 | Business Profiles, Feature, Featured, Food & Drink, News | No Comments

North County-based California Fruit Wine Company features new flavors for the holidays

By Anthony King | SDUN Editor

Founded in 2009 by identical twins Brian and Alan Haghighi, the California Fruit Wine Company is launching two new wines this holiday season, Cranberry and Apple, followed by two more after the new year: Raspberry and Pomegranate.

The winery currently offers Plum, Pumpkin Spice and Apricot, in addition to new fruits Cranberry and Apple (not pictured). (Courtesy California Fruit Wine Company)

“This is a new wine for a younger generation,” said Alan Haghighi in a press release. “Not only are our wines tastier than typical grape wine, many say that it is better for you. As our California Fruit Wines are made from fresh, seasonal fruit and berries, the natural nutrients and benefits come through.”

The term fruit wine has come to describe wine made from fruit other than grapes, like cherries, peaches, strawberries and plums. Usually marketed as a dessert wine, different fermentation processes can actually produce sweeter, or dessert, wines to very dry wines, reaching the point where all sugar is consumed by the yeast.

For California Fruit Wines, the goal is to find the “sweet spot” for each type of fruit in an effort to “fine tune where on the dry-sweet spectrum each of these fruit belongs,” they said.

In addition to Cranberry and Apple, the company’s current holiday lineup includes Pumpkin Spice, Apricot, Plum and Chocolate Cherry.

“In many ways, we’re more like a micro-brewery,” Alan Haghighi said. “We don’t grow any of the fruit, we just purchase it from local growers and then turn it into wine.”

The wine makers said many customers encounter similar obstacles when navigating fruit wines as they do with traditional wines.

“When you think about the traditional wine industry, there are a bunch of barriers to entry for a first-time customer. Not only is the customer confronted with a vast array of choices, but they aren’t given the tools to navigate through those choices,” Brian Haghighi said.

“One of our biggest hurdles is dealing with people’s misconceptions about fruit wine,” he said. “They think it’s some syrupy sweet mess or some sort of wine cooler. Our wine is neither.”

The brothers operate a 4,500-square-foot tasting room in Vista, Calif., where they celebrated their grand re-opening on Nov. 17. They had over 250 guests, and the opening was a big success.

“We literally started this business with nothing,” Brian Haghighi said. “All we had was the courage to believe it was possible, and here we are, two years later, looking back in awe on where we’ve come.”

California Fruit Wine Company held a grand re-opening for the Vista, Calif. tasting room in November. (Photo by AJ Gonzales)

The grand opening also served as a Thanksgiving food drive, with the company partnering with California State University, San Marcos marketing students. The brothers are currently waiting for a Vista City Council decision to grant them a cabaret license, which would allow them to provide live music at the winery and tasting room.

“We’re the entrepreneurs created by the recession,” Brian Haghighi said. “Although we didn’t have money to invest, we did have time. So we’ve had to be resourceful.” Part of that resourcefulness included “bargain” shopping, they said, including purchasing second-hand equipment, which can be expensive if bought new.

The twins recently welcomed their brother David into the business, a move that resonates with their business motto. “Business is all about relationships,” Alan Haghighi said. “It’s all about treating your customers like people instead of like wallets and purses.”

California Fruit Wine Company is located at 1040 La Mirada Court, in Vista, Calif. Regular tasting hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 4 – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 5 p.m. For more information contact them at californiafruitwine.com or by calling 858-522-9463.

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