CRENSHAW CO., AL (WSFA) - When you hear the term "wine country" what comes to mind? You may think about Napa Valley in California on the West Coast but deep in the heart of Dixie, there's a new winery open for business in Crenshaw County.
"It's called the Pippin Family Vineyard and Winery," said owner Matthew Pippin.
Pippin has lived in Luverne his whole life. This is home and he loves it. He teachers at Luverne High School and is also a farmer. About nine years ago he and his wife had a discussion and decided to take a chance.
"We said, why not open a winery? We planted our first grapes here nine years ago and we've been in business for two months," Pippin said.
It's been a long road, but a road traveled with family. At times he and his wife wondered if they were ever going to get to this day. Well, now they are here and are proud of what they've done. They have five kinds of South Ridge wines.
"We put a lot of work and time into these bottles. It's great to see people enjoy them," Pippin said.
He says they made some pretty bad wine early on. It's definitely a trial and error type business. Getting a good tasting wine takes a lot of manpower and brain power. It starts in the field.
"We use an instrument that tests the sugar level in the grape," Pippin said.
The grapes are then crushed and the stems are removed. Then the juice comes inside and goes into some huge stainless steel containers. From there it's filtered a number of times to get it just right.
"We have to do a lot of tests with the juice," Pippin said. "We test the PH levels and sulfite levels that protect the wine. A lot goes into this. It's not as simple as crushed grapes, pour in some sugar and yeast, and let it go."