TENINO — The Mill Lane Winery will open its doors tomorrow in Tenino. The newly created winery specializes in fruit wines mostly made with Washington produce.

“You take a sip of our apple wine and it tastes like you just took a bite of a crispy, cold apple,” said Owner Deana Ferris. “We’re a boutique winery.”

Ferris runs the business side of things, while her husband, Dan, makes the wine from Washington fruits, California grapes and pineapple from Hawaii. The pair is also working on a line of red wines, one of which is ready for the opening on Friday.

“We source the wine from as close to home as possible,” Ferris said, noting much of the fruit comes from the Skookumchuck Valley. “It’s actually a very easy process. It’s not rocket science.”

The wine is prepared, fermented, aged, filtered and finally bottled all in the couple’s Tenino location.

Since her husband does not drink much wine himself, Ferris tastes the finished product and he adjusts the flavor accordingly.

“It’s amazing how he can do this,” she said.

Additionally, the couple is planning to reopen the Mill Lane Smokehouse in the next couple weeks to complement their wines with smoked meats and cheeses. The pair had to close the smokehouse, which also offers wild game processing, last year due to complications with permitting.

“Government red tape really doesn’t make it easy for small businesses sometimes,” Ferris said.

The couple decided to go into business for themselves after the Department of Corrections laid Ferris off from her job last year.

“My husband likes to joke that he had to start making it to afford all the wine I was drinking,” Ferris said smiling.

The couple began experimenting with winemaking at home and friends started commenting that they should sell it. After some time, they decided this spring to give it a go.

Ferris said she isn’t too concerned about going into business during the economic downturn because a business can fail at anytime.

“I’m just nervous because it’s a new adventure that we’ve put our hearts and souls into,” she said.

This weekend the couple will offer free samples, giveaway wine baskets, raffle memberships to their wine club, and provide hours d'oeuvres to celebrate the opening. Though Mill Lane Winery is not an official part of this weekend’s Chehalis Valley Wine Tour, Ferris encourages participants to stop by.

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Amy Nile: (360) 807-8235

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