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Make Me Wine caters to vintners and brewmeisters

DuWayne and Mary Roberts and their children: Trisha, 19; Jordin, 13; and Blake, 9; have worked together to create the new Make Me Wine space at 139 1st Avenue South in Perham.1 / 3
A barbecue supply display is just one of the surprises at Make Me Wine in Perham.2 / 3
This new sign on Perham's 1st Avenue South identifies an intriguing new store. Make Me Wine will hold a grand opening on June 25 and 26.3 / 3

The intriguing new sign at 139 1st Avenue South in Perham is an invitation to visit an equally intriguing new store. Mary and DuWayne Roberts offer supplies for area vintners and brewmeisters as well as unique gifts and home décor items.

Four years ago, Mary became interested in home wine making after watching friends go through the process. She moved from observing and tasting to internet research and reading. Before long, was making her own wine.

She found it was difficult to find local supplies. A need for yeast specific to wine making required a trip to Fargo or St. Cloud.

After working for eight years at Bremer Bank in Perham, Mary listened to encouragement from family and friends and opened her own supply store. Getting the store ready has been a family affair. One of her sisters found the location and another made the sign. In just six weeks Mary, DuWayne and their three children gutted the store and put in their own finishing touches-from the wood floors to corrugated metal ceilings.

The space now houses not only the wine supplies, but also the necessities for home-brewed beer. Mary says although she doesn't know about making beer, customers have given their input and she is ordering in the appropriate supplies. She has already sold out of beer kits and has more on the way.

Mary does know her wine making. She keeps notes on all her own wines and has a book of her recipes. She has typed directions for customers and offers "lots of free advice."

To complement the beer, there is a barbeque corner in the shop. Another corner features chocolate with suggestions for appropriate wine pairings. Custom gift baskets are another a big hit. From stemware to aprons, each item in the store is intentionally offered for a unique gift experience. DuWayne calls it "product differentiation," a sincere attempt not to duplicate products that are being carried by other area stores.

Mary is enthusiastic in her praise for other Perham business owners, "I can't say enough about their welcome." They've been supportive with advice and even send their customers over.

DuWayne is the Minnesota sales representative for PPG Industrial Coatings. The Roberts family lives north of New York Mills. Both DuWayne and Mary (Loerzel) grew up on farms and even with their busy schedules, still find time to raise crops and beef cattle on their 150 acres. They both enjoy their time on the land with fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities. Mary finds gardening particularly relaxing.

Make Me Wine is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For additional information call 218-346-9463.

A grand opening will be held on June 25 and 26 in conjunction with Team Electronics and Sugar and Spice-two other new Perham businesses. There will be in-store discounts, sample foods, and drawings for gift baskets.

DuWayne points out that the couple "went into this with no expectations except peace of mind and happiness." Looking around the store and at this smiling family, it appears those expectations have been met.