Crushin’ It

Most Mondays, I wish I had a barrel of wine as opposed to a bottle. That way, I could stick my mouth under a spicket and forego dishwashing for another night. Alas, how would one get a barrel of wine sans the six-figure investment in winery equipment/grapes/know-how?

Enter the Custom Crush facility.

Essentially, Custom Crush spots are wineries with the equiment and manpower to turn berries into booze, and (in my humble, very fashionable opinion) are a fascinating and oft unknown element of the wine industry. Instead of buying fruit and selling the wine themselves, these companies do the dirty work for independent winemakers or growers who have fruit or vines but lack a facility of their own. (And many will even make a barrel or two for select clients…Ahem, me.)

There’s a whole lot of details that go into the custom crush equation, but the beauty for consumers is that more, and more unique, wines are becoming available as winemakers with ideas are getting the opportunity to craft juice without the $$$ required to start a full-fledged winery.

Take Anthony Nappa Wines, for example.  Based in LI, Tony’s been a winemaker for various labels across the globe, but pre-Premium (Long Island’s Custom Crush facility) it’s unlikely that he would have been able to bottle wine under his own label.

I took home a bottle of his 2011 Anomaly, a white Pinot Noir.  With a slight pink tinge, and zero wood aging it’s a prime example of unique wine from a small maker that custom crush facilities make possible.

Rosy, floral aromas and with a hint of strawberry dominated the nose of this juice, and I’d definitely agree with the label’s note that “on what to pair with.” I sipped this with a steak salad, topped with just-off-the-vine cherry tomatoes and mild goat cheese. The light, fresh, strawberry-forward flavor of the wine was awesome with the freshness of the salad, and the wine had enough body to hold up to the peppery char on the steak. Overall, I give Anomaly two thumbs up: unique, easy-to-pair, and absolutely delicious, this juice is works in any season, and is more than worth the $20.

Custom Crush Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Anthony Nappa’s Winemaker Studio in Peconic NY, which highlights unique LI producers with a tasting room and bottles for sale.

This article, which includes all the dirty details on custom crushing from the eyes of a potential winemaker.

Fun Facts: Tony Nappa is a Red Sox fan just like me.

NY’s Premium Wine group produces over 100 wines for individual producers each year.

Sadly, Napa’s Crushpadthe pioneering “anyone can make wine” crush facility is facing insolvency since most consumers don’t have the $6K for a barrel, and investors aren’t handing over any more dough.

Get Your Feet Wet: Wanna crush the old school way? Join me and jump in at CT’s Haight Brown Vineyard during their annual harvest festival on September 15th and 16th.


  • August 27, 2012
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