Barrels of Fun (and wine)
Those of us who loved Lucille Ball know how much fun winemaking can be. Now you can get in on the action, and it won’t even require a flight to Napa Valley.
Those of us who loved Lucille Ball know how much fun winemaking can be. Now you can get in on the action, and it won’t even require a flight to Napa Valley. Central Jersey is home to unique locations that allow you to make wine, from grape to bottle. The best part? Whatever you make is yours to take home!
Novices and aficionados alike can become “students” at Grape Escape (12 Stults Rd., Dayton, 609.409.9463; thegrapeescape.net) and make their own reds or whites. California wines are started in the fall (South African and Chilean wines begin in the spring) and bottled the following summer. All it takes is four hour-long sessions using professional equipment under the supervision of wine-making experts: de-stem and crush grapes; press and pump wine into barrels; rack the barrels to remove any sediment; bottle, cork and cap wines.
Winemaking is a year-round activity at Grapes N’ Barrels (701 Hartle St., Sayreville, 732.851.6800; newjerseywinemaking.com), which uses fresh, in-season grapes when harvested and frozen wine-grape must and wine-grape juices throughout the rest of the year. Pricing depends on type of wine, choice of fresh or frozen grapes or juice, and aging options—but everyone leaves with premium and personalized vino.
Italian and California wines are on the menu this fall at Grape Expectations (25 Kearney St., Bridgewater, 732.764.9463; grapeexpectationsnj.com). Inside the 8,000-square-foot facility, wine lovers can use the state-of-the-art equipment to create their favorite vinos—reds will age in oak barrels and most whites inside stainless steel drums. Once the aging process is complete, you’ll bottle and label your own brand.