Since 2009, Cork This! Winery in Montgomery has offered more than the traditional wine tastings—customers are invited to create and bottle their own varietal.
The boutique winery is the brainchild of Karla Nash, who left a career in health care marketing to start her own business. After debating various business concepts, Nash settled into winemaking with a goal to make the hobby of wine tasting more approachable.
“When you visit larger wineries, you always feel like you know less than the person serving you, and I don’t want people to feel that way,” she said. “I think [drinking]and tasting wines is an awesome hobby, and it’s very educational and fun. I wanted to make good wines in an environment where people were comfortable whether they were a wine snob or newbie.”
Nash bottles 17 wines, including reds, whites and sweet wines—about 6,000 gallons annually—and each varietal bears a humorous and cheeky name, such as the popular One Night Stand cabernet sauvignon or the Overly Committed pinot grigio. Nash said she likes to give the wines fun names and stories based on her life experiences.
Tastings are $9 for four wine samples and include a souvenir glass. Customers also receive a complimentary taste of one wine with the purchase of a bottle. For groups of 10 or more, tastings are $12 plus 15 percent gratuity.
Cork This! also has a 450-member-strong Groupies Wine Club, where members receive 10-15 percent off wines and merchandise, free tastings, event discounts and a complimentary bottle of wine for each new member recruited. Although membership is free, individuals must agree to purchase at least four bottles of wine each quarter.
Longtime wine club member Sandie Hughes said she and her husband, Roger, joined when Nash first opened the winery, and they have since remained loyal customers. She said some of her favorite aspects of Cork This! are its ability to create custom labels, which she and her husband have given as corporate and personal gifts, as well as the events thrown for club members.
“It’s a family atmosphere, and our fellow wine club members have become lifelong friends,” she said. “It’s a community thing.”
The winery also hosts events, Nash said, including bridal showers and corporate retreats. Available packages include hors d’oeuvres, dinner and wine. The winery can accommodate groups between 10 and 300 guests when using both the indoor and outdoor space.
Looking forward, Nash said she would like to expand the winery’s offerings to include more food items on its menu as well as the ability to sell local beer, possibly brew its own beer and organize more outdoor activities. Cork This! Winery’s wines can be purchased at liquor stores and boutiques in and around Montgomery.
Cork This! Winery
21123 Eva St., Ste. 100, Montgomery
Hours: Wed.-Thu. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m., Tue. by appointment only, closed Mondays.