Grape Finale, the first award winning, hands-on winery in Hunterdon County, has become a HealthQuest Community Partner!
Nestled in an unassuming, gray building less than a mile from HealthQuest and Diamond Nation, at 8 Bartles Corner Road, Grape Finale provides a unique opportunity for customers to dip their hands into the magic of the winemaking experience. Winemaking is fun, delicious and affordable, and is a great social activity. Also, wine made at Grape Finale contains fewer preservatives. Since opening the doors to its astounding 6,250 sq. ft. facility almost three years ago, Grape Finale has grown into a decorated winery, boasting eight medals and Best of Show at the 2013 New Jersey State Fair. Without a vineyard to focus on, the crush pad facility provides all the cutting edge equipment and personalized instruction necessary for both experienced and new winemakers of all ages to successfully create their own premium vintages and participate in a hobby that keeps them returning again and again.
After stepping through the cheerful, yellow lobby customers begin their personalized wine making journey with the award winning Grape Finale staff and owner Lisa van den Woldenberg. For Lisa, who has been making wine for over a decade, Grape Finale is a dream come true. She graduated from the University of California at Davis, the leading enology and viticulture school in the world, with a B.S. in biochemistry and worked on her Masters in Business Administration at California State University at Sacramento. She received her Wine Foundation Certificate and Intermediate Vinology Certificate from the Wine School of Philadelphia.
Prior to the beginning of both the spring and fall winemaking seasons free open houses are held where clients can taste wine, tour the winery, talk with winemakers and sign-up for winemaking sessions. The wine is sold in quarter barrel increments, which is equivalent to about 60 bottles of wine. Most of the wine made at Grape Finale costs between $12 -$13 per bottle. Customers are able to choose from over 25 varietals of premium red and white grapes to make traditional blends or, upon request, create their own blends. Which grapes are available will vary by season, in the spring season grapes are imported from Chile and in the fall season grapes are imported from California. Customers also select what type of barrel to store their wine in for aging, American Oak, Hungarian Oak or French Oak, between regular aging or making reserve wine, and between hand bottling their wine in regular, split or magnum sized bottles. At the end of the process patrons hand label their bottles with waterproof and humidity resistant, custom labels. Clients can personalize any of the over 120 off the shelf label designs Grape Finale offers or work with one of the facility’s graphic artists to create a unique one of a kind label using personal pictures of children, pets, vacations, or family portraits. Custom labeled wines make great holiday gifts, wedding favors and can be used to commemorate achievements and special occasions.
The spacious, burgundy warehouse work floor and entertaining mezzanine space upstairs allow room for large parties of friends and family to join together for this amazing experience. Customers are encouraged to make themselves at home and can even request what type of music is played during their stay. The sessions are separated into four social events, crush, press, rack and, bottling and labeling, and last about an hour each. At the first session, clients taste their grapes and, after the crush, which is not done in I Love Lucy style but with modern technology, the grape juice. While the wine rests in the barrel it is carefully watched over and monitored on a daily basis. Customers may request a progress report or a barrel tasting at any time they wish. At the end of the 10 month season customers walk out of Grape Finale with their personally labeled, premium wine, laughing, proud and sometimes even crying.
The facility is also available as a unique location for holiday parties, special events, offsite meetings and fundraising events. Several options are available to work with any customer’s objective and budget so the event becomes exactly what the client wants and more. In the past events have been held by Johnson & Johnson, The Clinton Township Foundation for Educational Excellence, Acorn Montessori School in Lebanon, the Business Women’s Charitable Foundation, the Hunterdon Tricentennial Committee, and CUT artisan. hair. design. Additionally, Grape Finale offers various seminars throughout the year, including The Evolution of the Wine Glass Seminar, with Glass Expert George Muller of Reidel. For customers looking for a non-alcoholic gift or something different, Grape Finale offers high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar for sale in the lobby, either with Grape Finale labels or with custom labels. To learn more about Grape Finales offerings or to register for upcoming events please visit www.grapefinale.com or call 908-237-0302. Facility hours are by appointment only.