Harvest is one of the most enchanting of all wine experiences. The air seems fresher, the dirt beneath your feet more intoxicating, your heartbeat a little faster. It’s surreal feeling the sweat on your brow and the clusters of grapes in your hands. Unfortunately, most of us can’t take the time to go pick grapes in California or Europe, but the good news is we can we can walk a day in the shoes of a winemaker—actually, almost a year in those wine-stained shoes–without having to catch a plane.
Last Friday, as the first of 2009’s grapes were being delivered, the energy of the California vineyards from where they came seeped into The Wine Room at Cherry Hill. Here, from grape to bottle, you get to play winemaker. Don’t freak out, you’re not on your own. A staff of educated winemakers is there to handle the heavy stuff (enology and enzymes etc.). Depending on how much wine you want you can go in on a barrel (240 bottles) with a few friends, a half (120 bottles), or even a quarter barrel (60 bottles). You can pick your poison online from their 2009 grape menu. Call to schedule your first winemaking session and then over the next ten months or so you’ll crush the grapes, blend if you like, move the wine to barrels, create your own label, maybe visit your juice just to say hi, and finally bottle the good stuff. Each visit to the Wine Room guarantees a good time. It’s ideal for getting together with those friends you love but just can’t seem to see enough. It’s also a perfect team builder for families or co-workers.
If you can’t get your California grape crush on now, no worries! You can crush in the spring with grapes that arrive from Chile. Either way, if you’ve got the love of wine running through your veins, head to The Wine Room and reap the rewards of your very own vintage.