Grape Expectations- Making Our Own Wine

I have wanted to make my own wine for years.  
Living in the desert and not having a basement makes it difficult.  Plus there is the added issue of having to invest in all the equipment and potentially messing up a batch (or few) of wine.
In comes Grape Expectations- this company facilitates making your own batches of wine.
Together with a few other people from Dr J's office we gathered over two Sunday afternoons to make our own wine. 
First we waited for the call that our grapes were ready and delivered.
We are making a Merlot and Chardonnay-
The grapes are all hand-picked and from northern California.

The grapes were small with a bitter taste-
It takes about 750 lbs of grapes to make one barrel of wine. 
Crate by crate they were dumped into this machine which de-seeded and de-stemmed the grapes

Watch your fingers! This is the crushing process. 
Check out those stems

This is my youngest watching the grapes flow into the bin

Then comes the science lesson- there is a four part process of adding yeast  and other ingredients
I didn't write these down which is a pity. 

Wine education

Mr. KJ gave the instructions and two very eager volunteers assisted

The ingredients were whisked and added to our bin of grapes
Fast forward one week- the end of the primary fermentation-
our grapes have been resting in the bin- they are stirred daily (a volunteer from our group went daily to stir it) the grapes at this point are (in the words of Mr. KJ) a very expensive grape juice. They are fragrant and give off warmth. 

Mesh baskets are used to separate the juice from the pulp and a vacuum is used to siphon up the liquid
Once we get as much juice as we can out the pulp is placed into this presser

All the remaining juice is siphoned out and added to the barrel 

Here is my youngest pumping

And here it will sit until May when it will be filtered into stainless steel containers and eventually bottles to take home. 

The whole process was so much fun- they have party areas where various groups gathered and everyone brings food and drinks wine.  
The wine will be stirred and barrel tasting is encouraged. 
Once a year Grape Expectations hosts the Bacchus Awards and you get to taste other peoples wines and enter to win the gold- 
I look forward to tasting our wine next summer- We are now in the creative process of talking about our label design.
I'm thinking: Lady Of The Arts?!

What would you name your personal wine?


Laura @Art For Little Hands said...

so cool! So this is going to make a red wine. I still don't appreciate red wines. It is a process I guess. I am working on it. I am voting for you to call it Lady of the Arts.

vintch said...

so much fun! my husband loves to make his own beer...i think making wine is the way to go:) looks like such a hands-on interactive experience. and i LOVE the name!

la petite coquine said...

WOW-how amazing! We make our own beer and cider, but we haven't tried our hand at wine yet!

demie said...

what an interesting experience! it must have been fun fro the kids too to see the whole procedure ( in general kids today know very little about how things are made!)

i think i would call my wine... paraphernalia ; )

Brissa said...

neat!! what an interesting (and long!) process. that must have been quite the experience to see it made and have your boys with you! fun!!

Mama Gone Green said...

how awesome! i would LOVE to do that. Yum!

LenoreNeverM♡re said...

The process is so fascinating!
p.s: very sorry to hear about your dear grandmother, Ren!


Clair said...

WOW! I really enjoyed reading about how your wine was made. Your pictures are great. A couple of weeks ago, I made mead for the first time ever. The longer I let it ferment, the tastier it got.
Your group had such a great learning experience. I look forward to hearing about the results.

msihua said...

What a wonderful and fun family event! I had initial thoughts of seeing you and your monkeys jumping up and down on grapes! Hee hee...

sherri said...

how cool! and what a great educational opportunity for the guys, I'll bet they loved it. lady of the arts is an excellent wine name.

a new girl in vienna said...

oh wow! thats so exciting!

stephanie said...

I can't wait to hear how it turns out! What fun!

drollgirl said...

what a process! this looks like so much fun! and rewarding at the end, too! :) i would love to do it.

cpcable said...

What a fun project! And yes..."Lady of the Arts" is the best name that you could choose. :)

Pat Tillett said...

VERY interesting! I didn't know you could bottle your own like this.

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