Sunday, February 14, 2010

Make Wine With Us

My friends Justin and Lauren invited me to a barrel tasting and tour in Wallington, New Jersey this weekend at "Make Wine With Us", a place where you can, well, make your own wine... start to finish. Owners John Gizzi and Diane Greco along with John, Michelle and Nicholas Gizzi hosted the event and gave us the tour.

It works like this... you can choose to do as much or as little as you want in the winemaking process, but if you lean toward the active path, you can choose your varietal grape (or blend), do the crushing/destemming, pressing, rent or buy your American oak barrel, racking, bottling & labeling.

The huge facility is packed with rows of barrels most of which are available for tasting using a turkey baster and plastic cup (provided, but many regulars brought their own wine goblets). We got to sample about 20 different California blends along with another 7 or 8 Chilean (most of the grapes are sourced from California and the remainder from Chile). I was really impressed by how good some of these wines tasted, and most were not aged to full maturity.

We also had a wonderful demonstration of hand-made mozzarella done by William Pompeo from Annabella's Salumeria Groceria Italiana. At the end of the demo as the mozzarella cooled a bit, we got to sample some and it was unbelievably fresh, moist and buttery.

So, we have about a month to decide what blend to use, and how many people will participate in our barrel. It should make for at least a year's worth of interesting posts on this blog. I can't wait to start!

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