It is the off-season for winemaking, no grapes are getting harvested anywhere near us this time of year. For wine making, we explore other options available to us.
In the past we have picked a theme, Chilean buckets of juice, fruit wine, or wine kits. This year we are going to combine all three! You can choose which type of off-season adventure suits your tastes best.
So, welcome to our Off-Season Winemaking Adventure!
Have you ever wanted to make your own wine but not sure how to go about it? Does the thought of investing hundreds (or in our case, thousands) of dollars into wine making equipment just to make a single batch of wine not sound very fun? Have you always wanted to add "Wine Maker" to your business cards? Well now is your chance to bypass those excessive costs and road blocks and MAKE SOME WINE!
Join us for our Off-Season Winemaking Adventure which will take you through a 3 month (4 Meetups Total) journey of the wine making process, including choosing your own varietal, the fermentation process, racking your new wine, oaking and fining, and finally bottling and drinking!
In the end you will walk away with approximately 2 cases of wine (includes 1 bottle of everyone else's) along with some medal winning insight into the world of wine making, and the know-how to hopefully do it again.
The cost is $75 per person for your first batch, $35 for each additional batch. The $60 Meetup fee is your deposit, and the remaining balance is due by cash, check or credit at the first Meetup.
About 1-1.5 Cases of YOUR OWN Wine (depending on attendance) plus 1 Bottle of Everyone Else's Wine for a little added Variety! Includes All Materials (Additives, Corks, Caps, Sanitizers, Etc.) except the juice (which you will purchase before the first Meetup) and the Bottles. (You have 3 months to collect) Use of All Professional Wine Making Equipment - Fermentation Drums, Glass Carboys, Testing Tools, Racking Tools, Filtration System, Bottling Corker, Filling System, Proper Storage, Etc. Food & Wine at EVERY Meetup! ($50 Value) All Pre-Sanitation and Post Equipment Cleanup (The Messy Part) =( Wine Making DVD ($35 Value) The Wine Maker's Answer eBook ($10 Value) Educational Wine Making Packet and Log Book, Additional 5% Off All Purchases at Grow Masters in Gurnee. All Behind-The-Scenes (when you're not there) Tests, Treatments, Care, Filtration and Storage, including additional Rackings, so you don't have to worry about it! Our Awesome Gold Medal Winning Wine Making Knowledge =)
The REQUIRED costs are as follows:
$75 - Per Person for One (1) Batch of Wine (about 24 bottles)
$60-$160 - Chilean Juice, Fruit Purees or a Wine Kit, depending on quality
$0-$25 - 24 Empty Bottles. $25 to buy them, FREE to collect them! =)
The OPTIONAL costs are as follows:
$35 - Each Additional Batch of Wine
$50 - For a guest to join you through your journey
$10 - 24 Used Wine Bottles (with their original labels)
$10 - French, American or Hungarian Oak
$20 - If you can't attend the Bottling and we do it for you
The current schedule is as follows:
Sun April 13, Noon-2pm - Welcome Meetup, Pitch Yeast, Lunch & Wine
Sun April 20, Noon-4pm - Gross Lees Transfer, Lunch & Wine
Sun May 18, Noon-2pm - First Racking, Add Oak, Appetizers & Wine
Sun July 27, Noon-6pm - Bottle Wines, Lunch, Drink, Share!
We hope you can join us for this fun and educational off-season adventure!
Also, feel free to contact us should you have any questions.
A little more detail about your 3 options:
1. Chilean Juice Buckets
**** If you choose this option, you must make your selection BY March 26th ****
We special order these through a winemaking group we are members of. They make a large group purchase every year. The varietals available and bucket prices are listed below. There will be no refund on this option after March 26th as your $60 deposit is the same cost of the juice and has already been used to place your order. The buckets are 6 gallons and are refrigerated juice shipped in from Chile. This is the option Sergio and I are going to make our own off-season batches from this year.
Expect to pay: $75 (Meetup fee) + $60 (bucket price) = $135 total for this meetup.
When you arrive on April 13th your remaining balance will be the $75 Meetup fee.
2. Fruit Puree
Fruit wines start off as a fruit puree sold in 96oz cans. To purchase your puree see the information below in the wine kits section about where to buy these. If you select this option you will need to buy (2) 96oz cans to make sure everyone will have an equal volume of wine to share and take home. Each can makes about 3 gallons and the juice buckets from Chile as well as the wine kits will produce 6 gallons of wine. For your two cans, you may choose to buy 2 of the same fruit, or you may choose to buy 2 different types with the intent of blending them. Sergio and I made a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb wine one year with this method.
Expect to pay: $75 (Meetup fee) + $31 to $46 (each can) * 2 cans = $137 to $167 total for this meetup.
You must buy your cans and bring them to the first meetup. Your remaining balance of $15 will be due at the first meetup.
3. Wine Kits
Depending on the quality of the wine kit you decide to buy you could spend between $60 and $170+ Obviously, the more costly the kit, the better the wine. We have a local brew shop in Gurnee, Grow Masters, which is a good resource to buy a kit. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and can answer any questions you may have. The selection will be more limited than the offerings available online, but you will get a 5% discount by mentioning the Lake County Wine Group. Kits give you more choices whether you want an Italian Montepulciano, a German Riesling or a Californian Zinfandel. You can find just about any varietal available in a wine kit. Kits are the easiest option to make wine. They come with pre-measured additives, and the juice has already been balanced for pH and other important factors.
Expect to pay: $75 (fee) + $60 to $170 (kit) = $135 to $245 total for this meetup based on your kit choice.
You must buy your kit and bring them to the first meetup. Your remaining balance of $15 will be due at the first meetup.
All Meetups are located at the address listed. Here is the list of preferred Wine Kit Websites:
ALL WINE KITS SHOULD BE ORDERED BY 3/30 TO ENSURE TIMELY DELIVERY.
Please provide your cell phone number during registration so we may contact you regarding your wine, event details/updates or schedule changes.
If you would like more detailed information on the Wine Making process, here is a good resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winemaking
DISCLAIMER - Not all batches turn out great. In fact, some don't turn out at all. Please understand going in that we will do everything in our power to create the best results in all of our wines, but the infamous "Bad Batch" happens to even the best of us! Translation - If you batch doesn't turn out the way you expected, it's not our fault, and no refunds of any kind will be offered. Thanks for understanding!