Captains of Cork

new shop allows you to brew homemade wine, beer

Megan Ault, photos by Drew Kaiser |

If there were a way to make beer or wine exactly the way you like it, really inexpensively, would you do it? Luckily for you, you can make this dream a reality at a new Eau Claire store called Cap-n-Corks.

Shawn and Julie-Ann Kluge have turned their hobby of making wine into their business. Cap-n-Corks, located at 3188 London Road, carries all of the supplies that you would need to make your own beer or wine. While you are waiting for your own creation to ferment, you can browse the retail section of local wines and cheeses, or grab a coffee, espresso drink, tea, or frozen chiller at their coffee bar.

The idea for the store came about from hearing friends complain about having to travel far to get the supplies to make their beer and wine. After asking around, they heard enough interest that they decided to open up the store.

Ironically, no one in their family is all that into drinking wine. They do, however, absolutely love the process of making wine. Their kids, who are 12 and 14, both enjoy helping.

“My son actually knows more than I do,” Julie-Ann joked, “because he helps his dad.”

As a family business, their hope is that this establishment holds a future and job security for their children.

The reason that they are in Eau Claire to begin with is because a family member needed them. They had planned to open a winery in Washington when they found out that Shawn’s mom needed to have brain surgery. They moved back to see her through the whole process.

Although the initial costs of buying all of the supplies is a little bit pricey, once you have everything, a bottle of wine ends up with the total cost of $3.

If you have no desire to invest in all of your own supplies, there are also ingredient kits that people can buy with everything that they need to make their beer or wine at the store. 

Their wines have tended to be drier, but they are now starting to master the art of making the sweeter wines that they prefer. Although they have been making their own wine for 12 years, Julie-Ann explained that, “A lot of the wine-making process is trial and error.”

If you are interested in trying this out but would prefer a little bit of guidance along the way, they are starting a class in January for the beginner or novice beer brewers and winemakers out there.

Now that you know all of this, you are just one step away from having your own winery or brewery!

Cap-N-Corks is located at 3188 London Road, Eau Claire. It is open Tuesday-Thursday, 8am to 5pm, and Friday-Saturday, 8am to 7pm. For more information, visit or call 514-4110.