2022 Grape to Bottle Winemaking Experience

Back by Popular Demand!

We just had our 2021 Grape to Bottle Winemaker Dinner. We had about 40 people attend and it was a complete blast. We shared wine, stories, and food. We opened everyone’s bottle and everyone was encouraged to sample the creations.

I asked if we should offer the class again and I got a resounding YES – so here it is – new and improved.

Be as creative as you want or Not…on your two cases of wine.

Don’t Miss Out on this Rare Opportunity!

Register Now

Using this knowledge we will learn the art of wine blending. We will evaluate wines with respect to Acids, Tannins, Sugars, Alcohol, Mouthfeel, Texture, Primary/Secondary/Tertiary flavors, and aromas. Then comes the fun part!!!

Blending!!! I will provide you with 3-4 wines which you will use graduated cylinders, beakers, pipets, and your tastebud and nose to create the perfect blend. If you are brave you can share your creation with the class for their assessment of your masterpiece. Food and wine will be provided.

Class Requirements

  • Making wine is a commitment.
  • You have to attend the Instructional training on August 28, 2022, from 2 – 6:30ish. OR Monday Sept 12 6-9:30 During this training, I will teach you the process and steps of making wine.
  • When the grapes arrive, you have to be able to pick them up – unfortunately, we don’t know when this will be but will typically be September through October. We are expecting to receive 4 batches, so you have 4 opportunities to get grapes.
  • Every student must turn in 1 bottle of finished wine to Koi Zen as a final assignment. We pour these wines during the Winemaker Dinner in the late spring of 2023

Level 2 Class Offering for Return Students

You asked for it, so we are happy to offer an Advanced Class for return students only. Instead of getting new equipment, you and a guest are invited to attend a 4-hour-long Sensory and Wine Blending Class. You will first learn how to evaluate wine like a professional wine judge by evaluating 3-4 wines. You will learn how to rate wines and analyze wines like a pro.

Lessons Learned – New Winepress Available

The students in the 2021 class were given cheesecloth to press their wine which was a disaster! Some purchased small presses and shared them with the class. But this year, I will be providing a press for you to use to press out your wine. This will both increase the quantity and quality of the finished wine.

Oak cubes and sticks will also be available directly through us to make your life a little easier.

There is something magical about wine and winemaking

Can I bring an extra person to the class?

Of course, you can! Making wine and drinking wine is a social event. And making wine with others is a hoot, so please feel free to bring one other person to support you. 

What types of Grapes can I choose from?

This year we are expecting to bring down 5 different batches of grapes from both Paso Robles and Lodi. We will be returning to some of our award-winning vineyards and you will probably have a choice of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, or Barbera.

Each varietal ripens at different rates, so you will know about 2 weeks ahead of time what and when your fruit will be harvested. This should give you plenty of time to identify what you want and what fits your schedule. 

How much space will it take?

The fruit that you take home to ferment will most likely be in 2 – 5 gallon buckets. A small spot in the Kitchen is ideal, or a laundry room is ideal. After about a week or so, you will press off the fruit into a 5-gallon water jug which needs to age (preferably in a dark place) until spring when it will be bottled. The equipment can be used year after year. 

How much time does it take?

You will learn all of this in class, but you will need to tend to the grapes during the first fermentation for about 7-10 days. This requires you to check the grapes 2-3X per day when you will check the temperature, and sugar levels and punch down the cap. This will only take about 15 minutes each time – and this is where the magic happens. It is also a great time to take little sips to fully understand the transformation from juice to wine. 

What if I sign up and then have unexpected travel?


The grapes will arrive throughout September and October (maybe early November) and you will know about 2 weeks ahead of time when each batch of fruit will arrive and can plan accordingly. If you attend the class but just can’t make the wine, then I will refund you your money and make the wine myself LOL. 

All finished our own wine!
Using the corking machine
Running the capsule machine

Can you explain the overall experience again?


Sure, you first have to register before the class fills up. On August 28, 2022, @ 2:00 OR SEPT 8 6-9:30 we will have about a 4-hour long class (with a break including wine and snacks) where I teach you how to make wine from start to finish. You will receive notes, handouts, and reference materials you can take home and review while waiting for grapes.

As the grapes ripen, I will be in contact with you about what and when we expect each batch of grapes to arrive. This will happen throughout September and October. From this information, you can pick what you want to make.

Shortly (ASAP) after your grapes arrive (typically early evening) you will need to come to the winery and pick up your fruit and receive all of your equipment. I will help you sanitize your gear and de-stem the fruit. You then take it home and start the fermentation process which takes about a week. During this time you will be managing the process a few times per day.

Once the fermentation is over, you will come back to Koi Zen and press the grapes with our new “small press” to get maximum flavor and volume from your batch and then stabilize the wine for aging.

In the spring of 2023 you will bring your jug of “nectar of the gods” back to Koi Zen where we will help you bottle it complete with your own custom labels. Then you take your wine home (-1 bottle for me) and enjoy. 

What if I need help or advice?

You can reach out to me via text, email, in person, or phone at any time. I want you to succeed. You can also pick up some small sample bottles at the winery if you want to bring a sample in for evaluation.

Is August 28th the only class date?

NO, We have added a second date Monday Sept 12


“Making wine is like having a baby, they don’t follow your schedule no matter how hard you try.”

~ Zen Winemaker ~

Better Hurry -Limited seats left we’d love to get it filled.