Winey Munkies goes commercial with wine ice cream.
WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTOS BY SHAUN HUNTER
Danielle Munk holds a finished batch of ice cream
When Danielle Munk and her fiancé, Brian Cooper, set out to open their business, they simply wanted to introduce the market to a delicious combination of Munk’s two favorite treats: wine and ice cream. Little did the entrepreneurial couple know that they were up against a whole lot of red tape.
Almost three years ago, Winey Munkies debuted at a local Earth Day event in Reno. With the money Munk and Cooper made from their tabletop booth, they were able to purchase a bare bones food truck, and their dream was born. They operated their first full year from the spiked ice cream shop on wheels until being hit with a barrage of regulatory issues.
Munk and Brian Cooper, owners of Winey Munkies
“State and federal laws were unclear. There was no precedent set for wine ice cream,” Munk says. “We had to work really hard with the Department of Taxation because they didn’t know how to classify us. We were so new, and there was nothing else out there like Winey Munkies. Ultimately, they determined we had to create solid infrastructure around our business.”
For months, Munk worked with lobbyists, lawyers, and the Department of Taxation creating new guidelines for wine ice cream. It was determined that Winey Munkies needed to have an actual physical location from which they would operate and sell through a distributor to established businesses with liquor licenses.
So they did. Munk and Cooper parked the food truck and spent six months building their own commercial facility in Sparks. There they can manufacture their delicious frozen treats for the masses.
As for the beloved food truck, Cooper says they plan to sell it. But Winey Munkies will remain at its brick-and-mortar location.
Strawberry rosé ice cream
The duo worked hard to find the perfect pairing for each varietal, and they incorporate many local ingredients in their frozen concoctions: chocolate merlot, raspberry cabernet, peach Chardonnay, and strawberry rosé.
“We use berries from Jacobs Family Berry Farm in Gardnerville and are working with local distilleries, like The Depot, on some new spirits-infused ice cream,” Cooper says.
Danielle Munk pours rosé wine into a batch of ice cream
For now, the four wine-based flavors can be found at Hard Water House in South Reno, and The Urban Market, The Eddy, and Liberty Food & Wine Exchange in Downtown Reno.
Whether you’re dining out or prefer to buy a pint for later, Munk suggests making it extra boozy with a wine float.
“Take the wine ice cream and pour your favorite wine on top,” she says. “Just be careful because there’s 8 percent alcohol in a 4-ounce scoop, so it definitely will get you buzzed!”
Heidi Bethel also is a wine and ice cream aficionado. She’s enjoyed Winey Munkies products from the original food truck and looks forward to a scoop, or two, at some great places around town.