Couple Turning Wine Into Water

Every spring, Trisha and Paul Filar got ready to garden. They’d pull out pots, fill them with soil and plant.

The family’s container garden would last for a while, but come the heat of July the plants would die. The couple had good intentions of growing food, but not quite enough time to make sure the plants got watered.

Last year they came up with an idea. Why not find a way to keep the plants watered without having to go out every day with a hose?

“I had this wine party and ended up with some really neat bottles of wine,” Trisha said.

Those bottles of wine turned into the irrigation system they needed. Paul and Trisha talked about using those bottles like the glass watering globes they use to water their houseplants. All it would take is an adapter.

“I came home one day and [Paul] had all the supplies from Ace Hardware and he was on the back deck and he said, ‘Look! I made one!’” Trisha said.

They filled a bottle with water, topped it with Paul’s homemade adapter, and stuck it in a container. It worked, the family garden flourished and Wine to Watered was born.

“If you can combine wine with something, I’m usually good with it,” Trisha said.

The Filars didn’t stop with just their garden. Trisha made an online Etsy shop, where people sell their homemade and antique goods, and got a great response.

“It’s too good of an idea to let die,” Trisha said. “I said – ‘let’s see what happens.’”

Trisha turned Wine to Watered into a company and had a friend make a logo. She approached a store owner in Appleton to see if he wanted to sell the Wine to Watered adapter.

“I thought, if I’m going to get rejected it can’t be by someone I know,” Trisha said.

But she didn’t have to worry about rejection. Once the owner saw the product he almost instantly agreed to put it on the shelves.

This summer, Trisha wants to get Wine to Watered established in Door County. The product is sold at Cornucopia, Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery, Madison Avenue Wine Shop and Simon Creek Winery.

“I thought it was kind of unique,” said Barbara Lawrie, owner of Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery. “People don’t have to recycle their bottles, they can use them other ways and that’s what we’re doing.”

Lawrie plans to use the Wine to Watered adapters in potted plants outside the winery so customers will see them on their way inside. Hopefully that will draw their attention to the adapter and the wine for sale inside. If Simon Creek customers buy an adapter, they might use a Simon Creek bottle to water plants and display the wine’s logo.

Trisha and Paul have dreams beyond keeping plants watered and healthy. They want to make Wine to Watered a local business that will contribute to Door County’s economy, and help people reuse bottles that would otherwise be recycled or trashed.

“One of my main goals is to keep it completely managed and manufactured, and the business end of it handled completely in Door County,” Trisha said. “I want to keep it a completely local business. If this continues to go well I’m hoping for someone local to do volume manufacturing and that kind of thing.”

Right now, Paul is manufacturing the adapters. Trisha estimates he’s made more than 400 since they started a year ago.

“It’s already been really exciting and fun,” Trisha said. “[Paul] really just created it last June, right at the start of the gardening season, and I’ve only started really selling it this year. It’s already come farther than I’d ever have guessed in this short time.”