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Feb 10, 2020
Business Name: Z&M Twisted Vines Wines and Winery
Email: [email protected]
Business Contact Number: (719) 244-3048
Z&M Twisted Vines Wines and Winery
620 Cherokee Street
Leavenworth, Kansas 66048
Social Media: Instagram Facebook
Primary Business Activity: Winery & Vineyard
Number of Employees (including owner): 8
How long have you been in business? one year
Owner’s Name: Gina Montalbano Zesiger
What is your background? Tradition With a Twist: When it comes to their wines, Bryan’s military background pairs nicely with Gina’s Italian heritage. Sicily, where her family hails from, has been making wine for nearly 3,000 years. Z&M takes traditional wine production methods and uses them to make something fun, accessible, and most importantly, delicious. From their Blackhawk Blackberry wine, to their Hellfire jalapeño wine, all the way to their Blacked Out Coffee Wines, Z&M specialty wines draw from the best of Old World wine-making to provide something new and exciting, while honoring the surrounding military, local, and farming communities.
What inspired you to start your business? Our Roots: The story of Z&M Twisted Vines Wine and Winery is, above all, a love story. The seed was planted when US Army Major Bryan Zesiger met Gina Montalbano, and they recognized in each other a shared love of wine, life, community, and the planet. As their relationship grew, so did the idea that would become Z&M Twisted Vines Wine and Winery. Z&M is not just a product, but the fruit of the marriage between two people, working alongside each other to create a product they believe in, here in America’s heartland.
What do you like about doing business in Kansas? Our vineyard is an enchanted, place where our twisted magic is happening. One visit to the vineyard and you know that you are visiting a special place. We grow our own grapes & purchase local produce from our local farmers. We care about every single bottle of wine we create. To create our hand crafted, signature wines, we use only the best produce & handle each batch with care.
What is your business philosophy/mission statement? Locally Sourced × Bottled with Love Z&M Twisted Vines Wine and Winery is a winery born in the HEARTLAND of the U.S.A. Leavenworth, Kansas. Our wine is special, unique and individual, just like you. Let us help to make your event or celebration even more special with a customized label. Contact us for more information about how to create custom bottled wine and labels with Z & M Twisted Vines.
What sets your business apart from your competitors? We are Small Batch, Hand-crafted, Farm Fresh Wines and uniquely designed wines with a twist! We aren’t making your average wines and by playing with flavors our wines are accessible to all palates.
How is your business involved in your community? Like any great marriage, Brian and Gina complement each other, putting their combined talents to work to give life to their community. Z&M wines are locally grown, sourced, and bottled on location. They believe wine should be fun, giving people an excuse to get together or to enhance a gathering. That is why Z&M regularly holds events at its store on 620 Cherokee Street in downtown Leavenworth for the people who live, work, and study here, often donating a portion of proceeds to local charities. It’s why Z&M is a fixture at community events in and around Leavenworth, and on and off post at Fort Leavenworth. It’s why they take pride in hiring military spouses, veterans, and local folks.
Why should your business be included in the minority & women business spotlight? As I am fist generation Sicilian, my Italian pride is very important to me and the development of our wine recipes. My father has always said, “Make me Proud” and I believe that I have done just that!! I believe that hard work and my passion for meeting new customers through their wine palate is the best way to have some fun and live happy!
What was the biggest “win” in your business’ history? Developing, creating and bottling 19 wines at our winery that are all hand-crafted and made on location in our first year is our proud and twisted accomplishment.
What’s one valuable lesson you’ve learned that you would share with other business owners? Breathe–at least try to and enjoy the twisted ride! The work will be there tomorrow and that’s what makes owning your own business the best!
Tell us an interesting and fun fact about your business. Z&M believes in treating the Earth with care and intention. You won’t see harsh chemicals at their Twisted Vineyard, which is equipped with a specialized irrigation system that is replenished by rain water, minimizing their ecological footprint. Because Z&M are committed to keeping their products chemical-free, they keep weeds out by using recycled newspaper to line the beds. In August of 2019, Bryan and Gina started Bella Vino, a sustainable self-care line of soaps, lip care, body scrubs, and candles made with repurposed ingredients from the wine-making process.