Much like the passionate wine lovers over at Wannabe Wino, I've closeted a longtime fantasy of owning a vineyard and producing my own mouthwatering vintage. Realizing the immense costs involved in this fantasy, I chose to set it aside until recently when I discovered Crushpad, a San Francisco winery that allows it's members to be the winemaker. I have often romanticized the notion of serving up my own custom brand of wine more than I've desired to operate a vineyard. Crushpad offers wannabe winemakers like myself the chance to explore the art of wine making direct from the cozy glow of my computer screen.
Crushpad provides e-mail updates, live chats and Web cams that allow the wine making experience to be as real or as virtual as I want it to be. My participation in picking the grapes, de-stemming or crushing the grapes is not required unless I choose to take part. That kind of arrangement really appeals to me. Crushpad serves a customer base of more than 2,000 members hailing from 35 states and eight countries. The unique pairing of wine geek and computer geek is proving to be a perfect blend after all.
"Members sign up to make at least one barrel of wine per year (300 75- milliliter bottles) and decide what style of wine they want and what grapes they want to buy from numerous suppliers available. Further along in the process, members can participate in blending and bottling decisions and design their own labels." Source CNN
Expect to pay from $5,000 for most whites and up to $10,000 or more for cult-level cabernet sauvignon. With a minimum commitment of one barrel a year, winemaking costs much less than the financial investment required to launch your own winery. Crushpad has found a way for even the most novice of wine enthusiasts to participate in making a masterpiece without spending a small fortune. Creating my own custom vintage may be a fantasy that's finally ready to make it's way out of the closet.
“I think 90 percent of America has a dream of selling everything, moving the kids and the pets to Napa and opening up a vineyard,” Brill said. “We give them a piece of that dream for a pretty affordable price.” Michael Brill- CEO Crushpad