Famed director Francis Ford Coppola did it. So did Sam Neill and Olivia Newton-John and Tool's Maynard James Keenan. If they can get into the wine business, so can you! All you need is a large grape arbor, some vats, processing equipment, oak barrels, bottles, massive amounts of time and money...
Ok, so unless you win the lottery today and can afford to quit your job and scap up a working winery, you're probably not going to be in the wine business anytime soon. But that doesn't mean you can't make your own bottles of wine.
No, we're not talking the bathtub version your smarmy cousin Lou tried to give you at last year's family reunion. Several local companies offer "make your own" wine by the bottle.
Find out where you can learn to make wine, after the jump...
It's not quite as hands-on as an authentic vineyard, but it'll basically give you an overview of what's involved in getting wine from grapes to table. Plus, you get to have fun tasting and designing your label -- something we're guessing most hardworking vintners rarely have time to enjoy. Here are a few local places where you can customize your own wine:
Casavino Custom Winery at 12005 N. Saguaro Blvd., Suite 101 in Fountain Hills offers about 40 different wine varietals for you to choose from.
- First, you choose a wine by sampling the varieties *hic* to see what you like.
- Next, a wine expert will guide you through the fermentation process, where the yeast is added to grape juice and allowed to sit for 90 days.
- In the meantime, you'll get to design a custom label for your bottles using Casavino's online system. Fun!
- Come back to the winery after 90 days to bottle, label and shrink-wrap your wine. It's that easy! (Of course, you're starting with California grape juice. And Casavino's staff takes care of secondary fermenting, stabilizing and filtering -- aka the hard work -- during those 90 days. But we're not judging.)
Cost: At a starting price of about $250 for 28 bottles, it's not a bad deal. Certain services and varieties may be an additional cost, though, so make sure to ask before you buy.
- You can elect to do 14 bottles (half-batch) of one wine or 28 bottles (full batch) of one or two varietals. They've got a decent selection of reds and whites available, from Chardonnay and Riesling to Merlot and Shiraz.
- Studio Vino's package is all-inclusive, from the wine and cheese tasting (with up to 4 friends) to the label design and bottling party.
Cost: $210 for 14 bottles or $349 for 28 bottles.
If several visits, hands-on participation and a bottling party seem like a lot of work, Su Vino Winery at 7035 E. Main St., Suite 110 in Scottsdale will let you cheat. Forget the fermenting and bottling and whatnot. At Su Vino, you can order custom bottles of wine suited to your tastes. It's pretty simple.
- Choose a varietal.
- Tell Su Vino how you like your wine to taste (light, fruity, dry, sweet, etc.) and how you like it aged.
- They'll make a custom batch for you, complete with personalized labels. Or, if you like one of their existing wines, just design a label and they'll customize the bottles for you.
Cost: Varies, depending on what you choose.