Pepper Place winery attracts big business, big name

Daniel "Beau" DeMonia started making wine over a decade ago.

"I enjoy a challenge, so I like to see how good I can make it," says DeMonia. "I want to make something that makes people feel like they're back home."Inside a small building right next door to Pepper Place market, DeMonia and his wife set up shop.

They make, bottle and sell the wines all in one location. This small operation began on a vine and a prayer. DeMonia recalls, "We got into it not knowing what we were doing, we knew how to make wine, but knowing how to make wine and knowing how to run a small business are two totally different things." DeMonia is an Alabama native. He says the state and culture lends itself to wine making"It's the south, southerners want sweet things. You aren't going to grow peaches, plums, grapes, watermelons, a lot of the fruity wines that people want. You can't do that anywhere else, that's a southeastern thing," DeMonia explains.Now, DeMonia is working with R&B singer-songwriter Calvin Richardson.

Richardson heard good things about DeMonia's wine.{} He made the trip to Birmingham to see if the vintner would make a blend specifically for him."We narrowed it down to Pepper Place, because (DeMonia) gave me a lot more options, he pretty much can give me what I want," says Richardson.Richardson believes wine can serve as an inspiration when writing and performing music.Richardson says, "It always has, that's my secret and it's about to be out now and I'm going to share it with the world."