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DIRIGO STORIES: Rhubarb winemakers offer alternative to Portland’s beer tasting boom

Eighteen twenty wines is making wine in Portland’s east bayside neighborhood using rhubarb instead of grapes. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- As Maine's beer scene continues to boom, there's a new kid on the block hoping to break into a similar market using all Maine-grown ingredients.

Eighteen twenty wines is making wine in Portland’s east bayside neighborhood using rhubarb instead of grapes.

“Everything is cyclical so it's time is coming back around,” said co-founder Pete Dubuc. “You're seeing rhubarb in a lot more things.”

Rhubarb wine was popular in the early 1800’s. Now, Dubuc and his partner Amanda O’Brien want to make it popular once again.

“Pete brought his wine to a party we were both at and I tried, and I was like, ‘We need to talk about this. It's amazing,’” O’Brien said.

Dubuc makes the wine with rhubarb, yeast, water, and sugar. O’Brien, who handles their company’s sales and marketing, says it’s meant to be served cold, like white wine or rose`.

The pair buys all the rhubarb locally from Dole’s Orchard in Limington and Spiller Farm in Wells.

“It’s just one of those win-win-wins,” O’Brien said. “I think the farmers win, and we win, and Portland wins.”

Eighteen twenty wines is sold in several locations around Portland, and next, they hope to open a tasting room at their location on Anderson St.

Next, Dubuc will debut a strawberry rhubarb wine, and then cider to sell in the fall.

“Nobody has dreams of worldwide distribution and getting rich off this. but it's an extremely fun thing to do and it also feels helpful,” Dubuc said.

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