History of a Winemaker Murielle winery is formed
Have you ever watched a connoisseur of fine wines gently
pass the cork from a freshly opened bottle under his nose or inhale the scent
of the first wine poured from a bottle? Well, understanding the aroma of
quality wine is what first attracted Michael Biglin (LEFT), the owner of Murielle
Winery, to the enjoyment of fine wines.
Michael’s interest in wine began when he was in college at
Loyola University. He found a job at a specialty grocery store, working in the
imported cheese department. His employer wanted him to be able to suggest wine
pairings for the fine cheese they sold there, but Michael was only 17 at the
time and could not drink wine. The owner solved the problem by teaching him to
recognize fine wine by its scent, and he still can recognize virtually every
wine by passing it under his nostrils. He says the nuances of fine wine are
best enjoyed by experiencing their aroma before tasting.
After college, he entered the business world but still
enjoyed the scent and the flavor of fine wines. His exploration of wines began with
cabernets from a section of Napa Valley and then went to chardonnays and
champagnes. Now he believes that sauternes are the most unbelievable wines
because they “get better and better” and often can last 10 to 15 years.
“Today’s popular ICE wine is modeled after sauterne,” he
Michael Biglin was enjoying a successful career in business
until, when he was CFO of a Florida corporation, the company no longer needed
his services. He was determined to do something completely different. He tried
making craft beer but found he wasn’t very good at that. Someone suggested that
while he could not make very good beer, he might be able to make wine.
And that was the beginning of a new career for the founder
of Murielle winery! It started 16 years ago, and now the business is an
important part of the Clearwater community. He decided to name his new business
Murielle Winery, after his mother, Muriel.
Thanks to the investment of nearly half a million dollars by
family members, Michael soon was able to purchase the best quality wine-making
equipment. His first efforts were directed at the most popular red and white
wines, only to find that many of these wines could be found over the counter in
virtually every grocery store. With over 7000 people making the same products,
competition made it hard to get started.
He and his wife Janine decided to experiment with specialty
wines, adding flavors they themselves enjoy to the more standard varieties.
They decided to go after people who either didn’t drink wine or who wanted a
new wine experience.
“We sold 25 cases in the first two weeks,” Michael recalls,
and they knew they were on the right track.
Over the last 10 to 15 years their wines have simply gotten
better and better. From the still popular black raspberry Shirraz, they now
have a growing list of wine choices.
“When we create a new varietal, we just enhance basic
flavors,” he explains. For example, they now have a Bing Cherry Cabernet
Sauvignon. They originally wanted to use Ranier cherries, but they decided to
use Bing Cherries because of their consistently good flavor.
But no matter what new wine he creates, Michael Biglin makes
certain that it continues to have a hint
of the delightful aroma he remembers from those early days of his now extensive
(Left) Customer Enjoying a Wine Tasting and learning about Making the Wine