You don’t have to go to Italy or France to participate in a wine harvest. Right here on the East Coast, there are plenty of wineries that allow you to participate in the process of winemaking. One company, in particular, has made it their mission to share the wealth of knowledge and technique with those wanting to get a hands-on approach to making wine.
The Grape Escape
At Grape Escape Winemaking they live by the words of Hemingway who said “Wine…offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing which may be purchased.” They believe this sensory experience should be shared by all and so they’ve created The Grape Escape, a customized winemaking experience that you can participate in.
How it Begins
The first step in the process is to choose the region and grape type of the wine you’d like to curate. From there you’ll get to choose your barrel type and aging times to achieve your desired flavor profile. This is possible since the company ships in award-winning grapes from all over the world, including California, Washington, Chile, and South Africa!
The 4 Steps of Winemaking
Once you’ve chosen your wine type, you’ll learn how to crush, press, rack and bottle your final product. In the crushing process, you’ll de-stem and crush the grapes to start fermentation. After about a week or two, you’ll start extracting liquid from wine presses and filling them into oak barrels. Then you’ll learn the proper technique of how to rack your wine in a way that removes sediment from the barrel. Once the aging process is complete, each bottle is marked with a custom label of your choosing so you can make the final mark on your creation.
Visiting New Brunswick
When you stay at The Heldrich, you’ll be in the heart of picturesque New Brunswick, only a 20-minute drive north from The Great Escape. Here you’ll feel the pulse of downtown, and with a permanent art collection and three galleries with rotating exhibitions inside, you can get a cultural experience without even leaving the hotel!