Get your hands grapy without leaving the city
Most of us can't jet off to Sonoma or Tuscany (and won't subject ourselves to the North Fork weekend traffic) to soak up the spirit of the harvest this month.
But now there are two fully functioning wine factories in NYC where you can stain both teeth and hands purple (sorry, feet: stomping is too dangerous).
At both, you can produce your own barrel of private-label wine through a custom-crush program. But if buying the whole barrel (which ultimately yields about 300 bottles) is too cost- or patience-prohibitive, there are still plenty of other ways to get some hands-on harvest experience.
City Winery's Fall Crush--held this year on Saturday, November 6--invites visitors to tour the winery, taste samples from last year's harvest over a buffet lunch and lend a hand in processing and preparing more than five tons of Napa-grown Cabernet for the cellar ($30; click here to buy tickets).
In Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Winery's "Community Barrel" package offers urban oenophiles the chance to craft their own wine with a small group of fellow winemakers. During sessions held over the course of a year, participants crush, ferment, press, rack and bottle two cases of their favorite varietal for $25 a bottle (about $600 total). And everyone's welcome to visit Brooklyn Winery's on-site bar, which will serve "straight from the barrel" pours of its own house-made juice.