FYI: Make your own wine

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - November 3, 2010

Welcome to the Wine Room in Cherry Hill, a place where you don't have to own a vineyard to call yourself a winemaker.

Kenton Nice, the owner of The Wine Room: "It's actually called a hands-on winemaking facility. Grapes are grown for us in California and Chile, brought in, and then people like you see tonight go through the winemaking process."

People like JoAnne Kramer, who came with a group of friends to celebrate her 50th birthday, are finding thrills in wine-making .

" I'm a wine girl. I like white. I like red. I like all types," says Kramer, a Voorhees resident, " and it's just so much more fun when you get to experience making it yourself. "

Back in the day, you would stomp your grapes to get the juice out. But nowadays it's feet-free; sophisticated Italian machines do all the work.

While the grapes ferment, the skin and seeds, which add flavor and color, continually rise to the top and twice a day need to be punched back down. A week to 10 days later, the winemakers return and, bucket-brigade style, pour their fermented grapes into the presser. The presser removes the skin and seeds, and the wine is now ready to hit the barrel for 10 months of aging.

The wine is bottled with your own custom label. You can go with a group of friends and make as little as a quarter barrel of wine. Or, you can join a wine club and buy into a barrel that way. Go to thewineroom.com for details.

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