Small Bites: Falderal Winery offers DIY wine-making, along with wines made on site

A fascination with fermentation started early for Paul Kovacich, co-owner of Falderal Winery in Hendersonville. Kovacich says he began experimenting with the alchemy of sugars and yeast as a boy, when he was about 10 years old. Having received a more formal education in wine-making at Thistle Meadow Winery in Laurel Springs, near Boone, Kovacich continues to tweak his method and his wont to experiment in the lower level of what used to be part of a print shop, just off Hendersonville’s Main Street.

Falderal (part winery, part wine shop and part beer-making supply shop) opened last year, and has become a haven for area home vintners, with a comprehensive offering of supplies and wine kits. The winery offers classes to help those into getting started making wine at home. Falderal also has a basic selection of home-brewing supplies.

Falderal, a name that roughly translates as “trivial or nonsensical fuss,” is a winery without a vineyard attached. Unlike a regular wine shop, you’ll find only what is made on premises. A limited run of Halloween-themed wines are currently available, like a cabernet sauvignon labeled All Hallow’s Eve and a Seville orange sangria called Demon’s Blood.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, Falderal is hosting a “Trick or Treat” wine tasting from 4 to 8 p.m. Kovacich’s partner, Julia Newbold, says costumes are welcome at the event, which costs $6 and includes hors d’oeuvres. “We’ll focus on sweet wines, but some dry as well,” Newbold says. Locally produced chocolate will also be featured at the tasting, by Raw Shakti Chocolate. Falderal often offers drop-in wine tastings, with free tastings on Saturdays.

Finishing touches are now being put on Falderal’s holiday wines, like their Vaccinium Red, a chianti blended with cranberry, a Riesling called Foliage White and Turkey Snood Red — a shiraz that gives a nod to that droopy comb turkeys have. The seasonal selections add to Falderal’s list of wines themed on area sights, from its Bat Cave White to the Stubby Black, a blackberry merlot named for neighbor Flanagan Printing’s denizen cat.

Though Falderal has relied on sourcing grapes from the U.S. and internationally for their wines, they are now taking in fruit from local harvests. “Because we’re so new and this is our first season, later on in the year we’ll have wine made from local grapes,” says Newbold.

With farmers in Polk and Henderson counties growing more grapes, Falderal’s repertoire is expanding with varietals like petit manseng, a small white grape that was first grown in the U.S. in 2006. “For years I thought only hybrids and muscadine could grow well here, but clearly I was wrong,” says Kovacich of WNC vineyards. Other locally sourced grapes fermenting now at Falderal include cabernet franc, viognier, seyval and cabernet sauvignon.

For making wine in the off-season, Kovacich and Newbold believe kits are the best option when the harvest is long past. “Kits have come leaps and bounds in the last decade in terms of quality and variety,” says Newbold. Kits have offered a straightforward way to demonstrate wine making at the winery, from breaking open a yeast packet to prepping bottles for filling.

Kovacich is willing to share what he knows about the intricacies of the fermentation process with the home vintner; hes has a lot of good advice to give. “Come down to a wine tasting and pick out a kit,” he says. “We want to educate people in the off season.”

Learn more about Falderal at http://falderalwinery.com.

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