When life gives you cranberries, make wine

Published: December 1, 2015

Story by Jake Schild

Photos by Gabe Green

Update: In December 2015, the Cranberry Road Winery burned down. Thanks to the community’s support and the well-wishes from customers, the Tiffany’s are currently in the process of re-building. Follow their progress here

Chris Tiffany says he and his wife Maria did the “Bill Gates thing.” Cranberry Winery CMYK_6_20-28

What he’s referring to is starting a business out of their garage, like Gates did with Microsoft. But, instead of operating systems, the couple made wine together.

“We started off with friends and me making wine in our garage. One thing led to another where everybody kept recommending that we needed to do something (commercially) with it, so we tried it,” said Chris.

The Tiffanys obtained the proper licenses and began selling their product to small local wineries. In 2011, the couple decided to start their own winery, buying the property that is now Cranberry Road Winery in Westport.

The winery, located less than a half mile from the beach in a fire engine-red building that resembles an old barn, makes both a cranberry and cranberry cinnamon wine as well as five different types of beer. They’ve created a small tasting room and there’s a wood-fired pizza oven on site offering patrons the chance to choose from eight different types of pies while enjoying a local beer or wine.

The cranberries the Tiffanys use to make their wine are purchased from local growers in Grayland and they produce an estimated 4,000 gallons per year.

He said the cranberry wine is 90 percent cranberry and 10 percent strawberry, blackberry, blueberry and raspberry to “mellow” the tart taste of the cranberries. The result is just a little sweet, offset by the tart cranberry finish.

“Those (berries) … make it so it’s not so tart,” said Chris Tiffany of the wine.

The Tiffanys mash the berries, ferment, bottle and label their wines in an open area in the building that is adjacent to a small indoor bar and an outdoor patio with seating.

Bogwater Brewing brews five different types of beers at the winery. Brewmaster Jonathan Bennett has concocted a Hefeweizen, blonde ale, rye, ginger, and black IPA and a brown ale that is on tap inside the bar area, adorned with eye-catching woodworkings done by local artist Jeffro Uitto.

Bennett has come up with clever names for the beers, calling the Hefeweizen “Weiz and Shine,” for example. The rye IPA at the winery is deemed, “Just Ryte.”

The Tiffanys plan to expand the winery to create more seating room and to add a sparkling cranberry, blueberry and white wine they’re coming out with in the near future. Next year, they plan sell a Syrah variety that’s in the works.

Cranberry Winery CMYK_6_20-10

The planned expansion would make the winery building two stories and add seating for around 100 more people. Live music takes place on Saturdays at the winery and the renovation looks would allow artists to play inside if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

“For the first several years, we’ve only had the two wines, but we’re starting to get to the point where we’re going to be releasing several wines this year and several more next year,” said Chris.

Cranberry Road is also throwing around the possibility of adding fresh crab to the menu, boiled on site.

“Amazingly enough, no one here in the Westport area does stuff like that. With us being one of the biggest fishing ports in the United States, a lot of people come out here looking for it. We want to fill that niche for people,” said Chris.

Chris said the winery sees a wide variety of visitors, including tourists from Canada, Wyoming, Idaho and other parts of the country.

“That’s one of the best thing about the business. We’ve had a lot of customers who come in as customers and a lot of them are like family now. It’s a fun industry to be in and a fun thing to do,” he said.