18 October, 2022
Sweet as strawberry wine
SHAYLEE Strawberries is going sweet as strawberry wine with the popular strawberry farm getting ready to release their first bottles of a special new wine before Christmas.
A sweet hit that patrons can enjoy all year round, the idea to create the unique wine is part of Shaylee’s owner Joe Barletta’s plan to extend the business season.
With strawberry season only being from May to October, the new wine will give locals and tourists “another reason to come here”.
“Instead of being a five month business, we want it to be an all year type of business so people can stop into the café and also get a bottle,” Mr Barletta said.
“The idea just came to mind one day and obviously there is a strawberry wine out there somewhere in the world and we wanted to do it too.
“I want to make the product as pure as possible. The wine is going to be made with my strawberries only and maybe a little bit of sugar.”
At the moment, the team is in the final stages of getting the qualifications and certificates needed to sell their strawberry wine whilst their first batches are fermenting in the winery next door.
The wine is made from extra ripe strawberries picked fresh from the farm which are frozen to begin the process.
After being frozen, the berries are crushed into a juice and then the fermentation process begins.
After removing any solids, the juices sit in a storage vessel for 8-10 weeks. Once this is completed, the wine is bottled.
“All of the wine is made by a professional wine maker whose name is Ross Whitford,” Mr Barletta explained.
“He has worked internationally with other larger wine companies over the years, and he is just as excited as I am about it.”
To help produce the perfect strawberries for the wine, a hybrid hydroponics system has been installed.
The system is similar to the traditional hydroponics system with the plants sitting in a raised bed of regulated water but still using coconut wood chips provide nutrients and cover the roots.
With this system in place, the plant can be regulated to produce the “perfect” ripeness and sweetness of the fruit.
Shaylee Strawberry Wine will hit the shelves before Christmas time and will be available at the farm on Marks Lane.