Thanks for visiting Grapes N Barrels online. We appreciate your interest in learning more about our winemaking sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ’s] are presented here for your reference. You will find answers that will provide insight into our winemaking process, what’s required, and how you can get started.
If you have any questions that do not appear in our FAQ’s, please contact us for details. We will provide answers and assist you in any way we can. Please call us at 732.851.6800 or contact us using our online form.
What is the Grapes N’ Barrels winemaking experience all about?
Grapes N’ Barrels is a New Jersey hands-on wine making center where participants receive instruction and guidance on how make their own wines. The focus is on providing an informative, fun, highly interactive, and social atmosphere. Our staff guides winemakers through a stepped process that includes from two to four one-hour winemaking sessions over a period of four to eight months. Winemakers produce quality wines that rival those of large wineries. Our wines can be made in various ways all-year-long dependent on the winemaker’s selection of wine, quantity, and wine making method. We make wine using high-quality fresh wine grapes from Chile in spring and California and Italy in the fall. And, when it comes to New Jersey winemaking, Grapes N’ Barrels is unique because we offer frozen grapes (grape must) and fresh/frozen juices so our winemakers can make their wines any time of year! Winemakers use winery equipment such as grape crushers, wine presses, automatic bottlers, and more to craft their own special artisan wines. It is an activity-based, hands-on winery where the work is done by the winemakers. Our primary goal is to guide you to the final destination of your winemaking journey: A premium quality wine you can proudly enjoy, share or gift to others.
What kind of wine can I make right now?
Grapes N’ Barrels is currently in the Chilean winemaking season and offers a number of winemaking options for you. Our Chilean fresh wine grapes will be used to make high-quality popular wines. You can make red wines like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and blends. In addition, we are also making Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio using Chilean fresh wine grape juices. We currently offer a number of winemaking packages designed to fit multiple requirements. Whether your interest is in solo or group winemaking, making a case (12 bottles) or a barrel (240 bottles), check-out our winemaking offers. You can register for any one of our June Winemaking Sessions, or block a private group session for family, friends, or co-workers. Click for sessions offered, pricing and sign-up info.
What does it cost to make my own wine?
To answer the question simply, you can expect to make your own quality wines in the price range of $12 to $18 a bottle. But, the price of a making a bottle of wine should not be compared to buying a bottle of wine at a store. Winemaking entails sourcing quality materials, using state-of-the-art winery equipment, following a hands-on process, and producing a quality wine that rivals the more expensive store bought wines. Our value is not based on the cost of a bottle of wine, but rather is found in the Grapes N’ Barrels overall winemaking experience and what you can proudly call your very own artisan wine. Let us customize a winemaking package for you! See our ‘Price Factoring Guide’ for more details. If you want to make wine…we’ll find a way to make it affordable for you! Call us for current pricing, discounts, and specials.
What factors affect the price of making my own wine?
There are several factors that affect price. Your choice of wine, the decision to use fresh or frozen wine grapes, or juices, the quantity of wine you want, wine-aging and other factors. We offer a wide variety of winemaking options to be able to offer you the wine, quantity, and price point you desire. At Grapes N’ Barrels we want to make winemaking affordable for all. We ask that you call us to discuss you specific interests and let us customize a winemaking package that fits your requirements. You can choose fresh wine grapes, frozen wine grapes (must), and select wine juices. You can make barrels (240 bottles=20 cases), half-barrels (120 bottles=10 cases), quarter-barrels (60 bottles=5 cases). In addition, we offer introductory case quantity specials for those who want to experience winemaking at minimal cost. Call us to learn more.
What’s included in the price of winemaking?
We provide everything you need to make your own wine. Here is what’s included: Quality ingredients, use of the winery and its state-of-the-art equipment, fermentation and wine stabilization materials, bottles, corks, decorative caps, and Grapes N’ Barrels labels [custom labels additional], wine aging and storage containers (barrels, stainless steel tanks, or demijohns), ABC license, technical oversight and wine monitoring.
What types of wine can I make?
We recognize that your wine preference and selection is highly personal. We respect your wine choices, winemaking experience, and your flare for creative wine blending. Wines offered include a wide variety of popular red wines made from grapes grown in California, Italy and Chile. To view an extensive list of Grapes N’ Barrels wines to select from, go to ‘Our Wines’. Choices include popular ‘red’ varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Primitivo, Malbec and more. We also offer blends such as Cabernet/Merlot, Super Tuscans, and Syrah/Merlot. If you prefer white wines, you can select from a variety of fresh or frozen wine juices to make a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and others. Of course, if you have a particular wine you want to make that is not listed in ‘Our Wines’, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your requirements. Whatever wine choice you make, our prime focus is on producing a quality wine.
When can I make my wine?
At Grapes N’ Barrels, you can make wine anytime you want! While most wine production is tied to the seasonal harvests of the wine growing regions of California, Italy, Chile etc., we can do more. Our approach is different than most. You can make wine using fresh Chilean wine grapes in spring and fresh Californian and Italian wine grapes in fall. And, we also offer the options of using frozen wine grapes as well as fresh or frozen wine juices which enable us to circumvent the traditional winemaking calendar. Grapes N’ Barrels provides flexibility when it comes to off-season winemaking. Whatever your preference, Grapes N’ Barrels affords you unique winemaking possibilities you won’t find anywhere else. If you want to make your favorite wine in spring, summer, fall, or winter, Grapes N’ Barrels makes it possible to make your wine all year long! Call us for details.
Can you describe the winemaking process, time required, and how many sessions will I have to attend?
The Grapes N’ Barrels winemaking process is highly flexible and can be tailored to your interests, wine selection and schedule. Winemaking includes basically four steps: Crush grapes, press grapes, rack and bottle your wine. Depending on your winemaking preferences and time you can dedicate to it, the choices you make relative to using fresh/frozen grapes or juices determines the steps and time required. Fresh grapes will entail four one-hour sessions where you will crush, press, rack, and bottle/label wine. If you choose frozen grapes (frozen must), that eliminates the need to crush, so you would have three one-hour sessions: Press, rack and bottle/label wine. Selecting juices accelerates the process and you would have only two one-hour sessions: Initiate fermentation and bottle/label wine. In addition, we understand the busy schedules that most people have today so we offer our winemakers highly flexible scheduling and session participation. We try to make it easy for even the busiest of people to take the time to experience the enjoyment of winemaking.
When will my wine be ready to drink?
Our first priority is to assure yours is a quality wine. We do not bottle wines until they are ready to drink. To simplify the start-to-finish time-line for your wine, you should plan to bottle your wine anywhere from six-months to one year. That said, it is important to note many variables affect ‘when’ wines are drinkable. Among them: The wine selected, the wine grape material state (fresh/frozen/juice), the methods used to make the wine, the aging vessel, the duration of aging, nature’s ‘magical’ effects, and the wine characteristics desired. The time-line can be shortened if using smaller barrels and/or when using wine juices. Because wine preferences are very subjective, some winemakers may feel the desired wine qualities and taste appeal are achieved at bottling. Others may feel more time bottle aging their wine is required to enhance its qualities over time. Bottle aging also helps to overcome the common but temporary effects of bottle shock. Some wines are quite enjoyable when young while others evolve and change character over time. One final point, certain wines require barrel aging of longer than one year in order to develop their full characteristics. Grapes N’ Barrels will provide a general time-line for your wine completion. Wine storage options for one year or longer are available if interested.
What is the advantage of using frozen grapes [grape must] to make my wine?
The Grapes N’ Barrels difference lies in our experience with the more recent and growing trend of using frozen wine grapes (frozen must) to make exceptional quality wines. Grapes are picked when ripe, crushed, and frozen virtually the same day. So, our product is extremely fresh, stable in shipment, minimally affected by wild yeast and other microbes that can create winemaking problems early-on. Frozen musts come to us with the vineyard identified and documented brix, pH, and TA (titratable acidity). An additional advantage for red varieties is the benefit of having the frozen must thaw over several days: Cold maceration takes place which facilitates color and tannin extraction. All Grapes N’ Barrels winemaking options enable our winemakers to decide what wines they want and when they want to make their wines. Want to make an Italian Sangiovese in January? A California Merlot in May? An Alexander Valley CA Cabernet Sauvignon in July? Grapes N’ Barrels makes it possible for you to do so.
Who can participate in winemaking?
Anyone over 21 years of age with an interest in learning how to make wine and/or having a curiosity and desire to learn more about wines can participate. At Grapes N’ Barrels, experience is not necessary!If you are an experienced wine maker, we respect and value that knowledge and encourage you to join our ranks of award winning winemakers. We are very serious about our winemaking and the quality of the wines we produce. As well, if you have a history of winemaking, were not bashful about asking you to share that knowledge and passion… and we invite you to help us guide others who are just starting out on their winemaking journey. To the winemaking novice, experienced vintner and oenophile, we extend a hearty welcome to Grapes N’ Barrels!
I would like to get a group together to make wine, can you help?
Winemaking is a highly social activity and seldom done alone. At Grapes N’ Barrels, we ascribe to the team approach to winemaking. Everyone has a role to play in winemaking and that’s where the fun comes in. If you have a group, family, friends, co-workers, clubs, etc. and you want to make wine, we can help you excite the participants and make it happen.Groups of up to 30 people can enjoy the winery, have the facility to themselves, learn to use professional winemaking equipment, bring food and wine to enjoy during the sessions, and have a blast when getting together at various intervals of the winemaking process. The best part of it all… everyone will walk away with great wine which they can call their own. Sessions are based on your schedule and interests. You can decide just how involved you and your group want to get in the process.
Can Grapes N’ Barrels accommodate a corporate event or special occasion winemaking?
Absolutely! We are experienced winemaking party planners and we will assist you in creating a unique corporate event or special occasion. Popular corporate programs include client and employee appreciation, team building, and winemaking makes a great employee incentive program. When it comes to special occasions like birthdays, family reunions, and holidays, winemaking at Grapes N’ Barrels provides an intergenerational activity where your guests can connect with family and friends, share delicious foods, hear festive music, experience the joys of winemaking, and enjoy wine! We also specialize in assisting you to make your own private-labeled wine ‘favor’ for a special event, occasion or party and/or wine gifting. Call us for more details.
Are there any special physical requirements I should be aware of?
Winemaking is an intergenerational activity and participants of all ages contribute to their ability. It is a team effort and everyone assists in the overall activities. The physical aspects of making wine are not overwhelming… but, you and/or your group should be prepared to be as involved as you are physically capable of. Physically challenged individuals who want to participate in winemaking are most welcome and can rely on the assistance of their team/group members and the Grapes N’ Barrels courteous and respectful staff.There are aspects of winemaking that require physical activities such as lifting grape crates during crushing, scooping grape must and ratcheting the wine press, placing and holding bottles while bottling, corking, and labeling. You will also pack and port your cases of wine. Winery clean-up entails washing equipment, sweeping debris, and leaving the facility and utensils in the clean condition they were found. Winery sanitation is an imperative for it has an impact on wine outcomes. If you bring food and drink for yourself or your group to enjoy during winemaking, we request you clean-up afterwards. Grapes N’ Barrels handles all barrel and heavy winery equipment cleaning, sterilization and moving.
Do I need to bring anything and/or prepare for my winemaking session?
No. Grapes N’ Barrels provides everything you will need to make your wine. As far as preparation, winemaking can get messy and wine will invariably splash and can stain clothing and shoes. You should dress accordingly. We do provide latex gloves when requested and protective eyewear when required.
Can I bring food and wine to my winemaking session?
What is a good wine without good food? Yes, we encourage our winemakers to bring their own favorite foods, specialty dishes, finger foods, snacks, deserts and soft drinks to their winemaking sessions. As well, you are welcome to bring your own wines to drink, share and compare. The fun of winemaking is enjoying the company of others in a festive atmosphere where good people, tasty foods, and great wines go together! If you bring food, you should also plan on bringing plastic forks, spoons, paper dishes, paper cups, napkins, and condiments if needed. Grapes N’ Barrels has a refrigerator and microwave for use during your session. We also provide dishwasher clean wine glasses. And, we have comfortable table seating for all present to sit, socialize, and enjoy the winemaking experience.
Can I label my wine and how do I select my wine labels?
Labeling your wine adds a touch of class, a finished look, and makes a great presentation for gifting your wine. There is no better way to reflect the quality and enhance the look of your wine than to smartly label it. Yes, you can label your wine! Included in the price of your Grapes N’ Barrels winemaking is a select group of professionally designed wine labels from which to choose. We have our own label designing software and label printer on-site to make your labels. We can customize your label to include your name, wine variety and bottling date, and/or a personalized message. We require a one-month lead time for label creation. Easy-on application and easy-off removal makes our labels a breeze to work with.Beyond those labels included as part of our wine packages, you can select from a more expanded gallery available through our label partner for an additional cost. Pricing is based on quantity ordered with a minimum order requirement of 48 labels.
If you desire highly-customized, graphically original labels, we can recommend suppliers that will accommodate your needs. Or, you can source labels on your own. In those cases, you assume the responsibility of sourcing and providing the wine labels for your wine at bottling.
What are the Grapes N’ Barrels payment terms and conditions?
For Case Quantities (12 bottles+ ) and Quarter-Barrels (60 Bottles), full-payment is required upon order placement/registration.For One-Half Barrels (120 Bottles) and Full Barrels (240 Bottles), one-half payment is required at order placement/registration and one-half payment is required at your first winemaking session.
All participants must be over 21 years old. In addition, since wine drinking occurs during winemaking sessions, we request that all participants drink responsibly.
The New Jersey Alcohol Beverage Control requires a license fee of $15 (One license per winemaker).The ABC license allows the winemaker to make up to four barrels (960 Bottles) annually. Winemakers must provide the license information required and sign the license. We include the ABC winemaker license fee in our quoted winemaking price.
Winemaking involves the use of grapes in some form: fresh/frozen/juice. These are perishable goods that cannot be replaced. Once an order is placed, the winemaking process is viewed as initiated and cannot be delayed or stopped. Cancellation is not an option and no refunds can be made. Note: We understand that life’s unexpected events may lead to a participant’s inability to attend a particular session. In such cases, The Grapes N’ Barrels staff will complete required steps to enable the winemaker(s) to move to their next step in the process.
Can I buy wine from Grapes N’ Barrels?
Unfortunately, Grapes N’ Barrels cannot sell or distribute wine. Our mission is to have you experience the art of fine winemaking and we assist you in producing a quality wine that will rival those of the large wineries. It’s your wine to drink, share, or gift for special occasions or Holidays.