A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about it being grape stomping season. As grape harvests are coming in, many wineries are hosting grape stomping events that coincide with tastings and celebrations. I’d never actually been to a grape stomping before, but I changed that yesterday.

I had the opportunity to have a lot of fun and do a little good at the same time when I went to the Mass Grape Stomp for Alzheimer’s at The Wine Room of Cherry Hill. The Wine Room donated $10 for each person who kicked off his shoes, rolled up his pant legs, and squished Merlot grapes between his toes. Stompers also got to taste wines that had been made at The Wine Room. 

Let me tell you -- stomping on grapes is very relaxing. I was in the grape mashing pit for quite a while talking to other people. As I talked, I got into a rhythm of smashing the grapes beneath my feet and moving around to seek out areas that needed attention. I could have done it all day.

The Wine Room of Cherry Hill is a winery where groups of people can come and make wine together. The grapes are imported from California for the fall wine making and from Chile for the spring wine making. Groups come in for four sessions.

Session #1 – De-stemming and crushing

Session #2 – Grape pressing and barreling

Session #3 – Racking the barrel

Session #4 – Bottling (this happens many months after the first three sessions)

There are over two dozen grapes available to create wines from, and The Wine Room can suggest blends or customers can create their own blends. The upfront costs for the wines vary, but if a full barrel is made it yields 20 cases (240) bottles of wine and the cost averages out to about $10-$11 a bottle. Not too bad. If you go in with a group and split the cost, it can be very reasonable.

There are wineries like The Wine Room all across the country like Grape Inspirations in Carmel, Ind., or Carafe Winemakers in Alexandria, Va. If you’ve always wanted to know what goes into the wine making process, these make your own wine shops are a great way to get some hands on experience while being guided by wine experts. You’ll end up with a lot of wine that will taste especially good because you made it. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Stomping grapes for a cause
Wine lovers in New Jersey get together to stomp out Alzheimer's.