History of a Winemaker
Murielle Winery is Formed

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 says.

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 wine experience.

(Left) Customer Enjoying a Wine Tasting and learning about Making the Wine