Waters Edge Winery
As the Waters Edge Winery project moves closer and closer to completion we wanted to sit down with Angela Zuba, owner and wine lover, and talk with her about the project. We hope this short Q&A will shed some light on the new winery to all of the Flathead Valley residents. Local businesses like this are crucial to our economy and community and we look forward to sharing a glass of wine and face-to-face time with our friends, family, and clients at Waters Edge Winery in the near future.
Construction at Waters Edge Winery
Our Q&A Session With Angela Zuba | Owner of Waters Edge
So what exactly is Waters Edge Winery?
Waters Edge Winery is a full production winery and tasting bar. We source grape varietals from the world’s best growing regions. Places like the Bordeaux region in France, the Tuscan region Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and even Germany. We will also make some lip-smacking varietals from California and Washington. When I talk about full production, I’m referring to the fermentation process. A lot of wineries don’t do this step; it’s quite scientific and requires a lot of specialized materials. Wineries that don’t ferment get their wine already made then do some blending and bottling on site. While they can produce some great wines, they are at the mercy of other producers while we have absolute control and creativity – we can make just about any kind of wine there is along with our own custom blends. At any given time, we will be making up to 16 different wines; whites, reds and our proprietary grape sangrias.
As a Canada native, we’d love to know a little more about your story.
My story, people tell me it’s unique but I just follow my heart in my pursuits and I’m always pushing myself to accomplish something I didn’t know how to do before. I’ve worked in business development my entire career but in different fields. I’ve built businesses in the medical arena, social service non-profits, and big business urban development. I even dabbled in politics but that is a whole other story! It didn’t matter what the industry was, I was in love with growing businesses – seeing an idea blossom into success and providing a service that was helpful to people in some way. After about 18 years though I wanted to build something that was for our family; a business that thrilled me every day and one I could leave as a legacy for my son. My husband and I have always loved wine – who doesn’t right? We’ve traveled through Europe and the Caribbean quite a bit and no matter where we go, we’ve always found great wineries and amazing varietals. We always fantasized about owning a vineyard in Italy somewhere but that’s just a fantasy. Then, one day I stumbled upon the Waters Edge concept and the idea just grew. My head is always in business and my heart is food and wine – plus, to be able to bring this business to the Flathead Valley, it was a no brainer for us that this is what we needed to do.
How has living in Canada had an impact on building this business?
Yes, we are Canadian, though the Valley feels like home just the same. We’ve been visiting the area for over 10 years and 6 years ago we built a home here so we could come and enjoy it more often. Over the years we’ve made friends and have become so incredibly attached to this place! To be able to live here and contribute to the economy is more than surreal. But, it does come with its challenges. The process of moving here and conducting business across international lines is very complicated. It has required much back and forth travel and extensive due process – but every step is so worth it!
You’ve mentioned community a few times, what does Community mean to you?
Community is such a powerful word and I think it’s regarded as such by most, especially in a place like the Flathead where everyone knows each other. To me, community means being part of a group of people and businesses that support each other and do good for others. By helping others become successful, everyone becomes successful. It breaks down to simple things like supporting local businesses, supporting and getting involved in community organizations and going the extra mile to treat others with respect and kindness. People joke about Canadian’s being so friendly but in reality, some of the nicest and genuine people I have ever met in my life live here in the Valley. I want to do my part to help make it even better.
So why the wine business? Why a winery?
I think I answered this above but wine is life….lol…so is food. I’m not a chef but I’ve had some pretty amazing culinary mentors in my life and I LOVE to cook…it’s a real stress release for me, plus networking is something that gives me a rush so to combine my love of wine, food and bringing people together into a business that will support my family and others in the Valley is a dream. Every day I go into the winery and see the construction progress I smile…soon we will be open!
Why the Flathead Valley?
Easy. It’s the best place in the world and I’ve traveled quite a bit. The Valley is our happy place. We love the ability to grab a kayak and hit the river or hike a mountain, ski, snowmobile, have a campfire…anything outdoors really. Where we come from in Canada it’s ridiculously windy almost all the time and it’s not here!
What will be your featured wines?
To start out we are going to have at least 7 reds, 4 whites and 4 of our signature sangrias. I’m still working on the exact varietals and blends…I have to leave a little bit of a surprise for the opening. ????We will also offer a food menu with items paired specifically to complement our wines.
Can you give us a little more information on the, “Build Your Own Wine,” aspect of the business and the labels?
Of course, we have to adhere to strict federal and state laws about winemaking but there are parts that people or businesses can participate in. Because of our system and our way of making so many different wines people can come in and see what is fermenting and when it will be ready. They can then, “adopt a batch” which can be anywhere from 5-20 cases.
When the time comes, we host a bottling party where the group can come in and we take them through the steps of finalizing the wine, bottling it and creating their custom labels – it’s super fun! There is music, food and of course wine!
We have a very sophisticated printing system that allows us to print custom labels for hundreds of bottles in minutes – the group can bring in their own art or we can create it for them. Also, if a group or business would like a specific type of wine (and they want an entire batch 25+ cases) they can talk with me and we custom blend their wine from scratch. This process takes a lot longer than adopting a batch already in progress though.
So tell us about how you chose InnSpace to take this journey with you?
We chose InnSpace for a few reasons. Way back over a year ago I was inquiring to several firms and Laura from InnSpace was the first to respond to me. She also followed up regularly even though I wasn’t ready to move forward yet. That attention to a prospective client was very attractive to me. Then, when I started interviewing companies in person, I went to the office and everyone there was incredibly welcoming and genuine. They understood what I was after, my vision, my limitations, and abilities…it felt like a great fit to me and I’m glad it is working out so well!
How has your experience with InnSpace been so far?
Awesome. I’m a control freak in the sense that I need to understand the processes in order to feel comfortable, yet I hate details. I ask a lot of questions and the team has been very patient with me – I hope they don’t think I’m too crazy ???? I’ve had some minor panic attacks as this project isn’t “some corporation”, it’s literally my family’s life…but when I do have concerns, the team is so great at explaining and reassuring. I have to tip my hat to their construction manager Nic – he is incredibly patient with me!
I’m sure you’ve been asked this on multiple occasions, but when are you planning to open?
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, early June!
As part of the restaurant and hospitality industry, what have been the main hurdles you have encountered with the COVID pandemic?
Well, my large production tanks were stalled in Wuhan so that was a big one but they are en route now! We also have an incredible wine club that I would love to be out promoting but the social distancing is preventing that. I love networking and meeting new people – I’m a member of the Chamber and so excited to get to all of their events but for now, I have to rely on social media. I also worry that the lockdown on non-essential services will run into the time I want to open but we will cross that bridge if we get to it. Let’s hope that everyone stays home as requested and we get this under control!
Small and independently owned businesses like these are important to our economy and our community. Keep an eye out for Waters Edge Winery, coming soon! Show them some love and give them a follow on social media @watersedgewinery_kalispell.