Sunset Point debuts new wine in honor of war veterans
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — Sunset Point Winery debuted their newest dessert wine, Grand Slam, on Mar. 9 at their tasting room near downtown Stevens Point.
Owners Don and Kelly Guay named the wine after Don Guay’s grandfather, Don Wertz, who served in World War II as a B-25 pilot. His aircraft during the war was titled “Grand Slam.”
“For me to be able to honor my grandpa and help repay the service men and women who served our country, it’s a big honor for me,” said Don Guay passionately.
The winery has been tweaking and perfecting this specific wine for over a year and is now adding the caramelly, smooth drink to their catalog. Wertz, 97, was humbled to have the beverage named in his honor. He had a chance to taste the wine this winter and is a fan.
“I had some and liked it when they brought it over,” Wertz said. “I just hope I get some more today!”
Wertz first enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943, but due to an abundance of enlistees, did not graduate flight school until Mar. 12, 1994. Officials later assigned him to the 390th Squadron of the 42nd Bomb Group. He flew an astonishing 34 missions from February to August in 1945.
Wertz discussed how his aircraft got the name Grand Slam during his speech at the wine tasting event. While he admits the grand slam is the best move a player can make in a bridge game, there is more to the story.
“I saw this picture of a curvaceous young lady in a negligee, stepping outside of her front door to pick up the morning paper, and the door slams and catches her negligee … the grand slam,” Wertz joked to a laughing crowd.
Sunset Point Winery is also donating $5 from each bottle of Grand Slam sold to the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, a group that offers local war veterans another chance to fly in an aircraft. The winery made 300 bottles this batch and donated $1,500 to the organization the day of the tasting.
State Senator Patrick Testin and State Representative Katrina Shankland were in attendance at the event, showing their support of the Wisconsin craft beverage industry. The new signature wine utilizes late-season grapes, frozen on the vine to produce a sweet, well-rounded flavor.
Rock Ridge Vineyard, located in Amherst, grows the grapes locally, giving the wine a palatable array of regional flavors.
Sunset Point’s new wine is more than just a delectable drink. It’s a culmination of hard work, respect and honor. Don and Kelly Guay are thrilled to do their part in supporting veterans, and they hope the community enjoys their Grand Slam wine.
“Like the grand slam is the biggest score in bridge, the Grand Slam wine will be the best wine in town,” Wertz exclaimed cheerfully as the tasting commenced.
Contact Taylor J. Hale at [email protected] with Portage County news and information.