A vision of an entirely Alaskan-made wine
Glacier Bear’s head winemaker Louis Maurer is the son-in-law of the founders of Bear Creek Winery, where he became part of the winemaking team creating twists on their already popular blended wines. For Louis, creating a line of wines using exclusively Alaskan ingredients was naturally the next step. He believes that the berries grown in Alaska are of such premium quality that they deserve to be showcased. Louis’ goal when working with the fruit is to guide the fruit’s intense and unique flavors to the forefront so that they can be enjoyed. The vision extends beyond just sourcing local fruit. Louis also wanted to promote and support growing our ingredients in Alaska so that the food chain supply can be fresher and healthier for all of Alaska.
Producing 10000 bottles a year, we have developed a self taught non traditional set of winemaking skills. There is a lot of winemaking knowledge that we were able to leverage from the traditional grape winemaking world but growing in Alaska is substantially different than the “lower 48” (continental US) and making fruit wines is considerably different than making grape wines.
The traditional grape winemaking techniques had to be adapted for fruits that we work with. In addition when making wine from Alaska grown fruit there are some unique challenges because the growing conditions are so different, such as the extremely short summers with extended daylight. These intense conditions are what give the fruit their distinctive characteristics. Then it is our job, as the winemakers, to make sure those particular characteristics do not get lost during the winemaking process. This required a lot of trial an error.
We have been able to borrow some grape winemaking techniques for our fruits wines, but we work with eight different kinds of fruits while the grape world only deals with one. Each fruit requires slightly different handling and coaxing for it to be the best wine it can be. For this reason, we are excited to see our persistence pay off in a collection of wines that boast the qualities of the very fruits and berries they are made of.
Harnessing the flavor
As we work with eight different kinds of fruit, the styles of wine we offer come in a wide range of flavor profiles. Some are soft and delicate, some have bracing acidity, while others have unsuspecting robust tanic qualities. The berries that we work with come to us packed with these exciting flavor profiles. It is our job to use the best set of winemaking techniques that will allow for their essence to shine once they are on the other side of the winemaking process. Even within the same fruit type we may apply different techniques from year to year since each growing season is different and sourcing locations can change.
People are drawn to wine, but we find that wine draws people together. Wine creates community among friends, family, and complete strangers.