The greater Midland area is home to another new business, and this one aims to provide residents with another happy hour destination. Jacob and Pamela Kiester are both City of Midland employees, who had a “crazy” retirement plan of opening a winery. Fast forward to May 19, and the co-owners are celebrating this “idea of the future” by opening their very first business, Crazy Vines Wine Estateat Sanford.
The grand opening celebration on May 19 includes giveaways, the Proper Taco food truck and more, starting at 5 p.m. Cellar doors open during normal business hours, 1 p.m.
Pamela and Jacob Kiester own the Crazy Vines winery.
Co-owner Jacob Keister explains how the business idea came about. “We’ve always loved going to wineries and tasting rooms, and we were at an old farmhouse winery in Ohio,” Keister says. “We started talking about how cool it would be to bring something like this to Midland. We were talking about doing it for retirement, and soon after that ended up being something we started much earlier than planned.
The original idea was born about three years ago, in a pre-pandemic world. Opening a new business is risky, especially a first time business, and now in the pandemic it’s even harder. For the Keisters, however, it was the right time. “We thought, ‘we’re pretty young now,'” Keister says, “We thought, ‘let’s go now, and see if we can make it work.’ That way, if all goes very well, then when we are ready to retire from our regular jobs, we can either keep doing that or earn some extra income from selling.
The name Crazy Vines comes from the blended family’s busy schedule of raising a family of five, dropping off and picking up kids from schools, and playing sports, Keister says.
The cellar will offer a mix of wines, some homemade and others from the region. “Over time, I’ll get the most out of it here,” adds Keister, “We wanted to run the gamut when it came to sweet, semi-sweet, and dry reds and whites. Initially, we have a rosé to offer. We try to get a bit of something varied so everyone can have something they like. Everyone is different.”
The dishes offered on the menu include a dry white wine, a semi-dry white wine, a semi-sweet white wine, a sweet blueberry wine, an apple wine, a grape wine, an elderberry wine, a rosé and also dry and sweet red wines. The winery will also serve cheesecakes, brownies, charcuterie boards, breads and dipping oils.
According to Kiester, preparing the 13,000 square foot location was a “massive undertaking”. The space had been used only as storage for the past 20 years. The building was to have flooring, updated plumbing, sinks, bathrooms, drywall and finishes, plus they closed off the tasting room manufacturing area.
Crazy Vines has tables, a seating area with a loveseat and four comfortable chairs.
Kiester describes the space as rustic: “Our bar and tables are all red cedar. Inside, we made a mid-wall paneling with pallet wood and old barn wood from a building we demolished on our property. It’s comfortable. We have tables, a sitting area with a loveseat and four comfortable chairs. In the summer we will also have outdoor seating on the porch for this year. In the future, the Kiesters hope to be able to partner with other wineries and breweries and offer a local wine route.
Crazy Vines Winery is located at 37 East Saginaw Road off M-30 in Sanford. They will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Fridays & Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.