From The Grape… To The Glass

WineDesign__GrapesYou don’t need to get grapes in between your toes to become a vintner. wineUdesign, a winery right here in Nassau County, is bringing high quality wine-making to the people, allowing oenophiles the chance to become vintners, one custom glass at a time.

WineUdesign, located at 156 Engineers Dr. in Hicksville, allows patrons a hands-on opportunity to make their own wine. Patrons can be involved with the process from start to finish—including picking out which type of grapes they want, crushing them, pressing them, bottling and labeling.

The process is more than just being able to go home with hundreds of bottles of wine; it’s a form of “fermentertainment,” said co-owner Vincenzo Saulle.

“This is about making wine with family and friends, and enjoying it together,” Saulle said. “It’s about the experience.”

That was the motivation for Donald Boyle, who came to a recent open house at the winery with his family. They often travel to the North Fork for wine tastings, and now the West Islip resident was ready to make his own.

WineU_D1“We’re excited to be together and do this together. We all like to drink the wine,” Boyle said. “It’s a family thing.”

And then there are the more steadfast customers. Gary Herbst from Plainview has been coming to wineUdesign since they first opened, and has made hundreds of bottles in his quest for the perfect Cabernet.

“We’ve been experimenting each year with trying to make the ultimate Cabernet,” he said. “I have two barrels at any given time.”

Such a hobby can become expensive—one barrel costs $3,450. Wine-makers can also split a barrel and do a case, which yields 12 bottles and costs $275. But Herbst says it’s well worth it.

“If you like wine and are looking to make the best Cabernet you can, it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s always nice and you can give bottles out to a lot of people. And there’s nothing better than opening up a nice healthy Cabernet on a Friday night.”

WineDesign__BottlesWhen it comes to wine, the saying “good things are worth the wait” rings true. Making your own brand of wine is quite the commitment. The process takes 11 months from start to finish, and you have to order the type of grapes you want in advance.

During the spring season, wineUdesign gets the majority of their grapes from Chile. On April 28 and May 12, guests can take the first step in the year-long process, which is crushing grapes and pushing them through a destemmer machine.

A week later, they return to push the now fermented mix through the press, a large wooden cylinder with a bladder that expands and pushes the grapes against the sides, squeezing the fermented juice away from the skin and seeds. The liquid is then left to age in a barrel for five months. After that time, patrons can come back for a taste test. Finally, after 11 months of anticipation, patrons can come back and filter their wine and
fill, cork and seal their bottles, as well as put a personalized label on it. The only thing left to do then, is sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

To find out more visit www.wineUdesign.com or call 516-939-9463.

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Betsy Abraham
Betsy Abraham is senior managing editor at Anton Media Group and editor of The Westbury Times and Massapequa Observer. She also writes for Long Island Weekly.

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