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Build a self-contained and solar powered mobile winery to produce low-intervention wine and cider.
Build a self-contained and solar powered mobile winery to produce low-intervention wine and cider.
121 backers pledged $20,154 to help bring this project to life.

About

Hibernaculum Winery Build project video thumbnail
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$20,154

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"In dreams begin responsibilities" -- Delmore Schwartz

Instagram @ hibernaculum_wine

The Goal

Build a self-contained, mobile winery inside a repurposed 20 foot shipping container. This high-design, solar powered sun vessel will act as the home for a small and personal low-intervention wine project called Hibernaculum.  The winery will function off the grid and not be connected to utilities.

The Build

3D Model showing solar array and fermentors
3D Model showing solar array and fermentors
3D Model showing battery bank and mini split
3D Model showing battery bank and mini split
We found a container with double swing doors at both ends to allow the winery to freely interact with it's environment
We found a container with double swing doors at both ends to allow the winery to freely interact with it's environment

We’ve enlisted a stalwart and trusted cadre of pro bono advisors including Peter Bouckaert (former brewmaster at New Belgium) for engineering advise, Michael Steffing from Jester King for fabrication, Mike Van Hall is our style council, and Jasper Akerboom will advise on microbiology.

We have the vision, the design and the willing labor — we need your help with the capital resources.

We believe we can build the mobile winery on a lean budget of $20,000 with no paid labor. We will utilize repurposed and reclaimed materials and equipment wherever feasible. Our major needs are a container, insulation, walls, ceiling, 3kWh solar array (including panels, racking and inverter) and a battery bank for storing the energy, a 9,000 BTU mini split for basic temperature control against extremes of weather, and finally three 550 gallon stainless steel square fermentors to make the best use of cubic space.

We will build the mobile winery in Hyattsville, Maryland just outside Washington, DC.  The outdoor build site is a formerly blighted stretch of Route 1 that has been reclaimed with street art as part of a Fight the Blight Campaign.  We are both proud Marylanders and have ties to the neighborhood back to the early 1960’s. After completion the mobile winery will be loaded onto a rollback truck and moved out to the property of our kind friends at Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Frederick County, MD for our first harvest.

Low-intervention wine practice is very low impact and the low utility usage make it ideal for solar.

 The Vision

A quiet, hibernal place to ferment low-intervention wine, cider, and other oddities. What do we mean by low-intervention? We mean wine and cider made from fruit and nothing else:

Extended skin contact,

Native yeast fermentation,

No added sulfites,

No added enzymes,

No chemicals or additives,

No filtration

=

Nature unveiled.

Free run wine will be blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined. Pressed wine will be aromatized with sacred and medicinal bittering herbs into aperitifs resembling unfortified vermouth.

Hibernaculum will function under an alternating proprietorship model at host wineries.  This cooperative model will allow us to begin production without the huge capital outlay of building a traditional brick and mortar winery.

Toward a Living Wine

99.9% of the wine available today has been stabilized with sulfites, effectively killing all the living cultures (and much of the personality and character) in the wine.

Industrial wine as it now exists is a pretty depressing sight. Manipulation through cultured yeast, enzymes, additives, thermovinification, reverse osmosis, chapitalization, and sterile filtration are widespread. More than 70 additives are allowed and their use is commonplace. It’s a pretty hollow and soulless affair.

These static wines' only evolution in the bottle is to eventually develop oxidative flavors and tannin mellowing over the years.  They are predictable, but lack vitality.

By not using sulfites or any additives we can ensure living and vibrant wines.  These dynamic wines will begin young and vivacious with the glow of youth and have a whole second life in the bottle.  

We hope to re-engage with the alchemy and anima in the almost 10,000 year human endeavor of fermentation. Call it live wine, naked wine, raw wine, outsider wine. It’s not really about semantics, what it really comes down to is wine with charm, dignity and personality.

Our Ethos

We base our relationships on fairness and are committed to an open source build and a focus on sustainability. 

We will not pay ourselves salaries and we have no employees.

We look forward to growing partnerships with a network of trusted grape growers and orchardists.

In the future we see the concept ripening into rural mobile wineries supported by urban tasting rooms.

So. Connect with us. Believe in us. Allow us to create something radical and fun!

Bios

Nathan Zeender is a DC based father, husband and fermentation obsessive. An early Steiner/Waldorf education lit his imagination, leading to further Thoreau-psyche-damage as a teenager—all from which he distilled a curious, questioning nature and a mean DIY streak. Nathan’s main gig is head brewer and co-owner of Right Proper Brewing Company in Washington, DC. He works from a place of intuition, thinks spirit science is cool, and looks for art in (mostly) everything. Nathan’s brewing endeavors have been prominently profiled in The Washington Post, Bon Appétit, BeerAdvocate Magazine, Washington City Paper and BYT.

Bret Stevenson is a Maryland based polymath. His strong mechanical skills, attention to detail and problem solving bring a chisel-pointed focus and solid grounding to the project. Bret has extensive experience in the building and repair trades.  In his spare time Bret meditates on a bed of nails and can levitate.

Bret and Nathan shared a bedroom from 3rd grade through high school and still aren’t sick of each four decades into their friendship.  Hibernaculum is their nexus of wine, sustainability and art.

Risks and challenges

Low-intervention wine is still very much on the fringes (where we have always been most comfortable). It’s going to take a lot of effort and storytelling to get folks interested in why they should care about, drink and support living wine. We are more than up to the challenge of producing honest and distinct wines with good personalities for the thirsty and curious alike.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Vinyl Sticker

    Our logo on a heavy duty vinyl sticker for your tagging pleasure

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    Branded Glass

    Our logo on a voluptuous, thin rimmed tasting glass

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    Branded Soft T-Shirt

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    Consulting Services

    One hour of beverage (or life) consultation service with Nathan to workshop and develop ideas for beer, wine, spirits, culinary projects/programs. Limit 5 hours per backer please.

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    Branded Soft Hoodie and a Glass

    Our logo on an ultra soft lightweight hoodie and glass

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    Chainsaw Portrait

    Our friend Glenn "Saw Addict" Richardson will carve your likeness into a 24" x 14" x 2" piece of yellow pine with one of his beloved chainsaws. Check it out at www.sawaddict.com

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    Bonfire Christening Party

    Your invite for 2 to our private Hibernaculum christening party replete with open fire cookery, live music, every kind of fermented thing and good times--a party for the ages. You will also receive a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Private on-site tour and preview tasting

    Private tour and preview tasting of our first vintages for you and up to 4 friends. We'll include a picnic lunch and all kinds of conversation. You will also receive a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Winery Workday

    Spend a day with us working harvest or in the cellar. You will also receive an invite to our christening party as well as a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Magnum Bottle Crew

    Become a founding member of our rarified Magnum Bottle Crew with your own private 1.5L branded bottle. Just imagine all the cool stuff that could end up in that empty bottle in the years to come (wink, wink). You will receive first rights to any future releases (no matter how limited). You will also receive an invite to our christening party and a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Day Trip with Nathan and Bret

    Let's hangout. Get to know each other, eat and drink some good stuff, take in some sites, visit some inspiring spots and kick around some ideas. Picture an imaginary-foodie-boozy-buddy-movie with you as the lead actor on our dime. You will also receive an invite to our christening party and a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Private Party for up to 10

    Your concept, our execution. Good times on our dime. Limited to the DC, MD and VA area. You will also receive an invite to our christening party as well as a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Gang of Four

    Our unofficial board of visioneers, spirit guides, gnostics (or whatever you want to be called). You will get your own private 3L branded bottle, a private tour and tasting of our first vintage, first rights to any future releases, an invite to our christening party, chainsaw portrait and a branded t-shirt and glass.

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    Choose your own adventure

    You tell us...we're curious and aim to please.

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Funding period

- (30 days)