By Jennifer Britt
Rick and Dana Corcoran began their journey into wine six years ago with the guidance of Marvin “Bud” Parsons. The Corcoran’s consider Bud to be the master mind of wine making and the mentor they needed to start this next chapter in their lives. Parsons also sent them to seek out Jim and Tony Kelley of Batton Hollow Winery in Lost Creek to further educate them on the full process of wine making. The Kelley’s helped set them on the path to correctly making wine with the right equipment and ingredients. They also have gratitude and appreciation for their son Steven Sponaugle. Sponaugle has added a hand where needed, especially with the labeling of the bottles. Mrs. Corcoran credits her son Sponaugle in making sure the sweet wines are at their best.
The Corcoran’s started their life journey in marriage 17 year ago and with a combined family of six children lead a full family life. Family life being important to the both of them they set boundaries to keep the winery separate and by doing so keep family time a top priority. They make a point to stop work at 8 p.m. each evening to spend quality time together. You can see the pride and joy they take in their wine and when talking about their family.
- Corcoran explained how the name came about. “One day we were getting ready for church. And I happened to look out the window that looks out to Turkey Knob and it just clicked. That’s the name!” Cork’s comes from him, his dad and grand-dad being called by the nickname Cork or Corky. Therefore, the new name seemed fitting for their adventure.
The process of making the wine is not as simple as one would like to think. It takes a total of roughly six weeks from start to finish. The “juice” is either extracted from grapes or can be purchased from vineyards. The Corcoran’s go as far as New York to get the best juice for their wine. The juice is added to a barrel and mixed with the correct amount of sugar, yeast and water. The juice then sits in the barrel until the settlements collect in the bottom of the barrel at which time they then run the wine to another barrel until there are hardly any settlements left in the barrel. The wine is run through a machine with 16 filters to make the wine clear, at which time it is bottled and corked. The Corcoran’s can bottle six bottles at once. The machine is set to fill each bottle with the correct amount of wine, once filled; they send the bottles over to the corking machine and end the process with the sealing of the cork and labeling the bottle. Each label has to be approved by the WV ABCA Commissioner. For instance they are currently waiting on the approval for a new wine made with cotton candy grapes and blackberries grown in their own vineyard. Once they receive the approval these specialty limited edition wines will be available for purchase.
- Corcoran laughingly stated “If anyone had asked them just a few years ago about opening a winery they would have sent them to the asylum”. What was once just a crazy thought is now a retirement dream for the couple. Bringing something new and exciting to their hometown is important to the Corcoran’s. Along with the help of the community donating trimmings off of grape and raspberry vines they have a great start to a future in the wine business. The Corcoran’s have hopes of expanding the existing business all the way to the property line, providing all goes well. While currently taking baby steps they are seemingly well on their way to being a prosperous and blooming business.
Starting Friday, January 21, Cork’s Turkey Knob Wines, LLC will be open for business. They will feature a five for five dollars testing with a variety of wines from dry to sweet. The business is located at 513 Blackman Flats Rd in Hambleton.