John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society–certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
Visitors to Westfall Winery descend into the building's secret barrel room to taste fruit-packed potables from Westfall's extensive wine list, all crafted with Old World wine-making techniques amid the picturesque greenery of Sussex County. Inside French oak barrels, fermented grapes age into velvety cabernet sauvignon, local blueberries age into slightly tart blueberry wine, and young castaways age into colorful, barrel-dwelling philosophers. Sated oenophiles can step outside to Westfall Winery’s picnic area to relish a grilled hot dog and homemade chili, and tour the winery’s sparkling pond and white picket fences. At the end of the event, guests can take home a bottle or a case ($12.50+), then use the empty bottles to build a glass-bottomed lifeboat.
A vineyard-lined drive and the panoramas of the Sourlands provide a feast for the eyes to complement the rich taste of Old York Cellars' wines, which include malbecs, syrahs, and chardonnays. After taking in the sights from beneath a shady umbrella on the expansive, stone-accented patio, oenophiles retreat to a timber-frame tasting room and sample from the award-winning wines and Brix chocolates. To support the community, the vineyard also holds regular art exhibitions, holiday events, and meet-the-artist events.
After graduating from Vassar College in 1997, vintner Tom Carroll Jr. continued his education in California, where he taught himself about viticulture and enology to achieve a lifelong dream of opening a winery. Three years later, he returned to his hometown to found Crossing Vineyards on a plot of land situated a short distance from George Washington’s Delaware River crossing. The winery mingles historic charm and pastoral surroundings with modern technologies, such as a sterile HVAC bottling system and solar-energy panels. Tom and his parents, also co-owners, built the facility around eco-friendly winemaking practices, such as composting waste and using cover crops, a technique that prevents topsoil erosion and helps vintners sing the young grapevines to sleep.
Crossing Vineyards' European-style wines have won more than 115 awards in both national and international competitions over the past 12 years. The winery offers tastings and wine-pairing classes in an onsite educational area and hosts an annual summer wine-and-music series on its sprawling, 15-acre property.
Peace Valley Winery's 20-acre estate delights wine gurus with its gorgeous facilities and vineyards brimming with two dozen varieties of distinctly flavorful grapes. Today's Groupon grants guests access to a range of winetivities and items. Start off with a wine tasting ($5 fee, waived with purchase of a bottle), and allow one of Peace Valley's fermentation-fanatic staff members to informally demonstrate how to analyze the winery's varietals.
Today's rich and milky Groupon is bursting with the flavor of $20 worth of cheese and its accompaniments for $10 at Taste Artisan Cheese & Gourmet Shop. Taste Artisan is a full-flavored cheese store with nearly 100 varieties of specially selected handcrafted cheeses from around the world. In addition to cheese, Taste stocks an eclectic array of gourmet cheese-friends such as rare spices, imported oils, aged balsamico, rustic pates, foie gras, and duck and truffle mousses. Click here to discuss Groupon the Cat.