The Process“When it comes to wine, I tell people to throw away the vintage charts and invest in a corkscrew. The best way to learn about wine is the drinking.” – Alexis Lichine
Ed Ventura and Phyllis Heller invite you to Dayton N.J.’s winemaking school where you are invited to participate in producing your own premium wine. Grapes are shipped in from Chile and South Africa during the Spring and prestigious regions in Northern California and Washington state during the Fall.
The Grape Escape uses advanced winemaking techniques found in the best wineries in the U.S. combined with Old World traditions (although foot stomping is usually discouraged). We work with you to select the type of wine you would like to make, helping you decide which grapes match your palate. You can choose the type of oak barrel in which to store your wine for aging, as well as, the aging duration within the barrel. We were the first wine school with an ozone machine for sanitizing our barrels and equipment, ensuring high quality winemaking every time. The cellar life of our wines is enhanced through our nitrogen infused bottling process, ensuring years of enjoyment for your premium wine.
The Grape Escape offers a unique experience to create your own wine in 4-5 hours of hands on winemaking. The courses are broken into four, 1 hour sessions:
Crush – Session 1 (1 hour)
Using the newly arrived fresh grapes, you will learn how to de-stem and crush them while starting the primary fermentation. “Grape must” measurement and adjustments will be made.
Press – Session 2 (1 hour)
7-14 days after primary fermentation begins, you will use one of our wine presses to extract the juices from the “must” and fill oak barrels with your emerging wines.
Rack – Session 3 (1 hour)
You will learn how to rack your wine and remove lees (sediment) from your barrel. The barrel will then be sanitized and “topped off” to continue its aging.
Bottling & Labeling – Session 4 (1 hour)
Congratulations! The last step is where you personalize your label or work with our graphic artists to customize a label. You then bottle, cork and foil your wine. Finally, you affix your labels and bring home your fine wine to enjoy.
The Grape Escape allows you the opportunity to make wine from several exciting regions: Northern California, Washington, Chile and South Africa. During the Fall season, grapes we source our grapes from the prestigious region of northern California with grapes from the Sierra Foothills, Sonoma County and Napa Valley. Our Washington Syrahs are among the best in the world.
Chile is an emerging wine producing powerhouse due to the deep and earthy texture of its wines and dry climate. Our Chilean wines represent numerous varietals that can all stand on their own merits or be combined into one of outstanding blends.
The latest region to become part of The Grape Escape portfolio is South Africa. We are excited about introducing Pinotage grapes that were developed as a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Meritage; blending the most favorable characteristics two highly favored varietals to thrive in the South African climate.