Session 1: Your Order ~30 to 45 minutes
It all begins when you order your grapes. After browsing our grape menu
you will select the appropriate fruit to craft the wine you would like
to make. We will review your choice with you to ensure that your selection
will have the attributes that you desire weather it be as an aperitif,
to accompany a favorite meal, or even as a desert wine.
For any special
occasion we can help you make a selection that will be the perfect accompaniment.
Orders for California Varietals will start to be accepted beginning at
the end of June and continue to be received while supplies are available.
Please note that most orders are placed by the end of August. Selection
and availability is determined by harvest and is on a first come first
Our buyer visits select vineyards annually to ensure that our quality
expectations are met. Chilean Grape orders will commence in early March.
All orders must be submitted by the middle of April. This course has a
limited availability and historically fills up very fast, so do not delay
in getting your orders placed.
Session 2: Crushing and Destemming ~1 to 1.5 hours
Your session will be scheduled to begin when the grapes you have selected
and ordered arrive at the Wine Experience from the vineyard. You will
first learn how to operate the equipment needed for this phase.
The process is fun and easy, just load your grapes in the crusher/de-stemmer and pump
the "must (crushed grapes) into a fermenting vat. The session will continue
with a discussion on the effects that yeast and maceration has during
the fermentation process.
Crushing California grapes begin in late August
and continue into November. Crushing Chilean grapes begins on the third
weekend of April and continues through the later part of May.
Session 3: Pressing ~1 to 1.5 hours
Approximately one week after the "crush" you will return to press. You
will begin by transporting the "free run" into your oak barrel or stainless
steel tank as necessary. The must is then loaded into our easy to use
hydraulic press where the "press juice" is extracted and added to your
This is a process that is truly enjoyed by all ages and images
of "I Love Lucy" are easy to conjure up. The transformation of the grapes
into wine continues as the aging and settling process now begins.
of California must runs from early September through November. The Chilean
press happens during the month of May.
Session 4: Racking ~.5 to 1 hour After a few months
it is time to rack the wine.
Racking simply is the process where you pump the wine into another container
and leave the sediments behind. The sediments are then removed from your
barrel as you clean it.
Once the cask is fresh your wine is reintroduced
to the barrel to continue the aging process. The session is completed
as you "top off" your barrel and it is put back in storage. California
Wines are Racked January and February. Chilean Wine is Racked in July.
Session 5: Custom Labeling
Here the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. If you wish
you can visit our gallery to see some of the labels we have created. For those that are more artistically inclined it is
not uncommon for people to produce original labels from scratch. Although
this session is conducted as homework it is suggested that labels for your
California Wines be produced at the end of March thru May time frame and
August thru September vicinity for Chilean wines to ensure that labels are
ready for bottling.
Session 6: Bottling ~1 to 3 Hours depending on the
size of your group.
The beginning of June thru the latter part of July is the time to bottle
California Wines while mid November to the end of December is ideal for
the Chilean Session.
Using our fully equipped bottling station you begin by sterilizing your
bottles. Next you will load your bottles with the help of our gravity
filler. Corks are inserted with the manual corking press and topped off
with capsules that are heat shrunk to protect against infiltration of
dust from the cellar.
The process is completed as you
add your personalized labels. A brief overview on the proper storage of
your wine is given. Finally it is time to share your passion with family
and friends. Weather it is shared with your company or given proudly as
a gift it is sure to be enjoyed by all.