Grape Tips Tuesday: Experience Fantasy Wine Camp to Test Your Winemaking Skills

This Week In Wine 101: Experience Fantasy Wine Camp to Test Your Winemaking Skills

Have you ever dreamed of going to a favorite vineyard or winery to learn about wine and winemaking? Whether you’ve contemplated wine making as a hobby, a new career path or you just want to cross another item off your bucket list, from the barrel to the bottle, the following winemaking experts will walk you through the process of creating your own grape certified masterpieces at their fantasy wine camps! Before we get to the wine camps, let’s first explore the type of experience you can expect to have when attending a fantasy winemaking camp.

After welcoming you, the winery staff will begin the process by professionally decanting wines for you to blend. Wine samples will be taken from several barrels; however, to ensure the best wine tasting experience, guests will usually be offered only one type of wine or grape varietal. Mixing grape varietals requires a considerable amount of training and years of practice; therefore, offering only one type of grape varietal will make the wine making experience easier for guests to create their own amazing wines.

Next, you’ll be invited to mix the small batches of wine, all with different tannin levels, various textures and a variety of flavors, to create a balanced blend. While the camp’s winemakers will oversee the wine mixtures and offer professional advice, you’ll be allowed to inject your personality, style and favorite tastes into each bottle of wine.

Lastly, depending on the laws (local & interstate) and the winery’s rules, you may be able to cork your own bottles of wine for keeping. In order to make the experience even more personal, many of these wineries offer custom labeling so you can put that final, unique touch on your new grape creation! Start your fantasy wine camp research here with the following wineries, which all offer first-rate winemaking experiences:


Northstar Winery – Walla Walla, Washington

This winery was the first in Washington State and teaches guests about the terroir of the land. Visitors taste Merlots from regional appellations before creating their own blended bottles of wine. Cost: $85 Per Person


Conn Creek Winery – Napa Valley, California

This winery appeals to everyone, from the casual wine drinker to the Sommelier. A brief course of the area, terroir and a history lesson segue into guest’s wine tasting twelve or more Cabernet Sauvignon’s. Additional samples from various wine barrels include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, to add a hint of spice, for guests creating a Bordeaux style blended wine. Cost: $95 Per Person


Ravenswood Winery – Sonoma County, California

This winery allows guests to experience grapes right off the vine. Additionally, winery visitors learn about using “mouth-feel” to create their own California style blends, consisting of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Carignane. Cost: $50 Per Person


Melka Wines – Napa Valley, California

Created by genius winemaker Phillipe Melka, two wineries will now host blended classes. The first is at famed Montbleau and the other is coming later in 2014 near Melka’s home in St. Helena. The all-access weekend with Melka and his wife, Cherie, includes insight into their winemaking philosophy, tours of local vineyards and hands-on instruction and winemaking techniques. Due to the popularity of these classes, they are extremely difficult to get into. Reserve your spot well in advance to ensure your attendance. Even at a cost of $10,000 per person, Melka Wines classes sell out extremely fast.


Cliff Lede Vineyards – Napa Valley, California

An experience that is only available to a few select people each year, this three day fantasy camp includes two nights at the famed Poetry Inn, dinner with winery owner Cliff Lede at his favorite Napa Valley restaurant and 120 bottles of a special blend consisting of the same unique grapes that go into the winery’s beloved Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon. Cost: $25,000 Per Couple


This has been another Grape Tip. We hope you enjoyed this week’s Wine 101 post. We’re not only confident you’ll enjoy this weeks grape tip but we’re excited for you to try this week food and wine suggestions. If you enjoyed this post please don’t forget to like it above and join the discussion by leaving a rating and a comment below. Thanks and we’ll see you next week for another edition of Wine 101 Grape Tips by THEGRAPE. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below and at From, Salud!

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