along with all the craziness, there's always fun sprinkled in.
this weekend, with the help of family and friends, i wisked my bff jamie anderson out for a bachelorette party. we decided to forgo the usual debauchery and opted for a more adventure/learning party. the first stop was to a local wine making school which was way cooler than i could have imagined.
after a lot of surfing the net and conversing with jamie's sister and finacee, it was decided to go with the wine making project. the thing was, i had found this place on the web and really couldn't be sure if it was legit or lame. the first impression was a bit sketchy since it was located in an industrial park, behind a korean church. luckily we got legit and totally cool as opposed to lame. when we arrived at the grape escape (i can't decide if that name is hip or terribly unfortunate), in dayton, nj the owner greeted us and immediately handed us the scheduled printed up on a magnet. we were there for the first set in a four part process. today's mission = crushing. after about 2 minutes of introductions and overview, we were handing some of the homemade vino which was very good. nothing like a litte wine to start out your wine class!
the crushing process was very cool; we had 756 lbs of chilean malbec grapes to crush (see pic above). they were super-sweet and a dark inky color. unfortunately, we didn't get to stomp them with our feet - i love lucy style, but they said it can be done, if you do an entire barrel full -- oh and it takes about 3 hours. we moved the grapes into the crushing machine and watched them get pumped and tranformed into a big vat of pulpy grape juice. to the right is a pic of me dropping the grapes into the crusher.
after the juice (i believe in the wine-making world it's called concentrate) was made sure that the pH levels and sugar content were up to snuff. the sugar content converts about 2:1 to the amount of alcohol content in your finished product. there were some organic solvent sort of items added to assure the best color and flavor gets pulled from the juice. we mixed some more, sipped some wine and just enjoyed the whole experience. we got a tour and a taste for the other steps to come. the process goes: crushing, pressing, racking and finally bottling and labeling. you even get to design your own labels! they also offer wine tastings and bottle your own olive oil. some other people that were there making wine mentioned that the tastings are excellent and allow you to try the same wine from different barrels to actually taste the difference.
table 8 for an amazing dinner. the culminated with an adventure that involved a shopping cart, some bachelorette party decorations and a bunch of drunk girls. somehow you can take the girls out of 'the mountain' but you can't take 'the mountain' out of the girls!! best wishes jamie and steve!!!