Neither colon cancer nor financial strain is keeping the owners of Two Lions Winery from their vision of a bright future in Dunedin.
Rose Post and Kevin Zylstra are building a name for themselves as expert wine makers at Two Lions Winery, tucked cozily in a shopping center on Main Street near Belcher Road.
Six of their wines have received silver and bronze medals over the last two years. But the couple is keeping its eye on winning gold, despite Zylstra’s diagnosis with stage IV colon cancer last September, discovered during a routine colonoscopy.
When Post and Zylstra opened a few years ago, the longtime couple felt they had finally found a business they could do together. Post had run a Chinese restaurant for many years, but she wouldn’t let Zylstra near the kitchen, so opening an eatery was not an option.
Post and Zylstra liked the hospitality industry and desired to find something that served people but didn’t involve cooking. They were both curious about wine making and experimented in non-grape, fruit-based wine, but their results bombed.
Still curious, the couple visited a vineyard in Georgia and tried again with grapes. They brought their results to a sommelier, who was a blender that used chemical analysis to help guide them to perfecting the taste of their wine. Before the couple had even opened their doors, they won a silver medal in the Florida State Fair Amateur Wine Division.
Two Lions Winery is the couple's dream business and both had worked full-time to support it, but after his short-term medical leave had run out, Zylstra was fired from his position with a Fortune 100 Company. The firing put the physical and financial burden of Two Lions Winery on Post. But the couple, who married last October, continues to look toward a better future.
Though still on regular doses of chemotherapy, Zylstra has expanded the micro-brewery by creating wine-infused beers. This past weekend Two Lions Winery debuted their Gewürztraminer Hefeweizen.
Zylstra is scheduled for his final surgery on Sept. 27 to remove a spot on his liver and is confident that after his PET Scan in November, he will be declared in remission. Zylstar says that looking back at his symptoms, which according to the Mayo Clinic may include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal discomfort, he had probably had it for seven years.
Besides the wine, Post's dedication and Zylstra’s positive attitude is what keeps patrons coming back. Zylstra smiles and says, “I would like for people to come in and try our wine, and I want them to know it is important to not put off getting a colonoscopy.”
Want to Go?
Come taste the wines and then enjoy a glass of your favorite or buy a bottle. The bottles range in price from $12.95 to $21.95. Or if you are still feeling hot, despite the hint of cooler weather, try their wine slushie, a refreshing adult twist on the kids’ favorite, perfect for hot weekend afternoons.
Then review your experience on Patch!