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It’s vino time at local microwinery, Ten Thousand Vines

Ten Thousand Vines, a microwinery within a renovated relic building, can be found next to Centennial Park on South Buffalo Street in Hamburg.

Owner Mike Ditonto bought the previous Let’s Do Wine business, six years ago. The building was originally a combination fire hall and police station, erected in 1908. The front half housed the firefighters, while the back of the building was the police station; the jail cells are still slightly embedded into the walls, according to Ditonto.

Ten Thousand Vines sells only its own name wine. The shop features 50 bottles, varying in type of grape, sweetness, dryness and blends. The shop consistently makes new wines and its selection is always changing.

According to Ditonto, the product is purchased through distribution, so he uses grapes that are currently available.

“So much of wine making is just good, raw materials,” Ditonto said. Two times per year, Ten Thousand Vines imports juices from all over the world, including California, Chile and Italy. The business produces wine for a variety of tastes, which Ditonto said he hopes will satisfy a range of palettes.

He described the Valpolicella as a rich, red wine made from the harvested grapes-turned-raisins in Northern Italy. He added that the winery’s Paradise, a white table wine, is infused with pineapple and banana.

Ten Thousand Vines remains local. Due to its small production yield, it is difficult for the business to expand, according to Ditonto, although the winery sells its products to local restaurants and has started encroaching on Orchard Park.

The main shop floor features a tasting bar, complete with shelves of house-crafted wines. This is open Tuesday – Saturday. Ten Thousand Vines holds a wine competition. The highest-rated receive medals, based on quality of production.

The next competition will take place during the third week of August. The submission deadline for competitors is Aug. 16.

The business features a Centennial Arts Center artist, every two months. The walls of the shop will be lined with pieces for sale. One of the artworks is also chosen and featured, on a limited edition label. The landscape painting “Eden,” by the currently-spotlighted artist, Sandra Bartz, is now on the winery’s limited edition pinot grigio.

According to its owner, Ten Thousand Vines’ stated mission is to break the preconception of homemade wine.

Ditonto said that he wants this offering to be recognized as being high-quality, not only as the bubbly, “knock-you-on-your-ass wine” that he said many people remember from their childhood.

The winery offers classes and Ditonto said that its doors are open to anyone in need of assistance.

“There is no end to what your imagination can do, when you are making your own wine,” said Bill Martin, while teaching a wine-makers class. “Today’s way of making wine is easier, faster and maybe a little bit more fun.”

The class, done like the presentation and instruction of a cooking show, utilized a wine kit, which Ten Thousand Vines has for sale. Classes are taught upstairs from the main floor, in a room full of carboys, wooden barrels and metal containers.

Martin went through the entire process of the kit and emphasized what he said was the most significant aspects of home wine making.

“Clean and sanitary equipment is crucial,” he said. The kit includes a 6-gallon recipe, which will make approximately 30 bottles of wine.

The classes will teach students wine terminology and definitions; “lees” is the yeast deposit that collects on the bottom of a bottle.

Students also learn that measurement and temperature is precise and that a wine that does not go de-gassed will lead to either exploding bottles, rupturing corks or an unintentionally-carbonated wine.

At-home wine makers will celebrate their efforts with a bottling day, in a month. Attendees of the class will also learn about types of bottles and how to prepare them.

The employees at Ten Thousand Vines are all experienced wine makers and said that they welcome anyone with questions to stop in, any time.

“In wine making, there’s one important factor: patience,” Martin said, as he ended the class. “A change won’t be seen, if it’s being checked constantly.”

Ten Thousand Vines is located at 8 South Buffalo St. in Hamburg. For more information, call 646-9979 or visit www.tenthousandvines.com.
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