Grape Expectations Wine Making School


We have two winemaking seasons that are both approximately 9 months in length.  The California winemaking season begins in September/October and ends in May/June of the following year. The Chilean winemaking season begins in April/May and ends in February/March of the following year.  The cost is based on the barrel usage…it doesn’t matter if you decide to make a barrel of wine by yourself or you decide to include friends and family; the cost is the same.  The cost for the entire winemaking experience in 2017 is $3700 (half of the payment is required when you sign up and the other half is required at the time of pressing).   This includes the use of one 53 gallon oak barrel, 21 crates of wine varietals that you have selected and four winemaking sessions centered on crushing/de-stemming, pressing, racking and bottling.  At the end of 9 months, your barrel will yield 20 cases which equates to 240 bottles of your own handmade wine (this averages out to $185 per case/$15.42 per bottle).  You will learn a great deal about winemaking, experience the art of winemaking and meet some pretty incredible winemakers along the way who are also making their own barrels of wine.  Oh…and if I forgot to mention it before now, you will have a tremendous amount of fun doing it.  😉

Fall – California Harvest:
The Crushing and Pressing occurs in September/October, the Racking (removal of sediment) occurs in February and the Bottling occurs in May/June.

Spring – Chilean/South African Harvest:
The Crushing and Pressing occurs in April/May, the Racking (removal of sediment) occurs in October and the Bottling occurs in February/March.

  • The Chilean varietals we offer are limited to six (6):  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Carmenere.
  • The South African varietals are limited to three Cabernet Sauvignon from three different regions within South Africa.  The regions are: 1/ Breede River Valley Region, Breedekloof District, 2/Olifants River Region, Lutzville Valley District, and 3/ Coastal Region, Stellenbosch District.
Nevada School of Winemaking


What is Grape Expectations?
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own wine?  At Grape Expectations you can!  Established in 2005, Grape Expectations opened their doors to the public in February of 2007.  The first of its kind facility in the State of Nevada, Grape Expectations takes you through all the processes in a fun and rewarding atmosphere.  At the end you will have great memories, winemaking knowledge, and quite a few bottles of your own privately labeled wine!

Customers who visit Grape Expectations will begin on the ground floor of the winemaking process, choosing grapes grown in California or Chile. When the grapes arrive, patrons will find 756 pounds of grapes just waiting for another unique winemaking experience.

A barrel yields 240 bottles of wine, which customers can adorn with their own personalized labels.  It doesn’t matter if you decide to make a barrel of wine by yourself or you decide to include friends and family to offset the cost; the price for a barrel of wine remains the same. On your initial visit Mike, KJ or Chad will go over your “Grape Expectations”, varietals, styles, equipment, procedures, session scheduling and answer any other questions you may have.
Each process i.e., crushing, pressing, racking and bottling takes about 1 hour or so…not too long.  We encourage winemakers to bring some wine (or beverage of their choice) and food to really make an event out of it.  Winemakers will want to arrive a little before their scheduled times so their group is ready to go when we are.  😉  Prepare yourself for a lot of fun.  The first two sessions are the crushing and pressing and they are 7 days apart…after that, your wine will be placed “on the shelf” until the third process which is the racking (approximately 5 months later).  After the racking, your wine goes back “on the shelf” until the final session, which is the bottling.  At that time, you will leave with 20 case(s) of your own handcrafted wine:
Session 1:  Smashing Good Time (Crushing)
It’s a bad day to be a grape.  After a lesson in the operation of our state of the art equipment, you will load your selected grapes into the crusher/de-stemmer.  The ‘must’ (crushed grapes) will then be pumped into a fermentation tub and the primary fermentation will be initiated.  Adjustments and measurements will be made and the session will continue with a discussion of the effects of yeast and maceration during the process.

Session 2:  Meet the Press (Pressing)
One week after primary fermentation begins; you will return and press the juice from the ‘must’.  This process utilizes a traditional hydraulic wine press, not the “I Love Lucy” grape stomp.  Your friends will thank you later.  The free run juice and press juice is pumped into a 53 gallon oak barrel to start the aging process.

Session 3:  Nice Rack (Racking)
After a few months (generally after the holidays), you will return to rack the wine.  During the racking process, the wine is pumped into a stainless steel tank.  The lees (sediment) are washed from the barrel and the wine is reintroduced into the freshened barrel where the final aging process continues.  The barrel is topped off and then put back into storage.

Session 4: Con-Graduation Day (Bottling)
For your final session, and with the aid of a gravity-filler, you will load the wine into sterilized bottles, cork the bottles with a manual press and finally, shrink wrap a decorative, protective capsule on the neck of your 240 bottles of joy.  You can now enjoy the fruits of your labor…the work may be over, but not the fantastic memories!

Bacchus Awards Dinner:
With your permission, 2 bottles of wine are held back for inclusion in a blind taste testing conducted in July by the American Wine Society.  As a result of their findings an Awards Dinner is held and chosen winemakers receive gold, silver and bronze medals in all categories of judging. The dinner is truly a “Knife, Fork and Cork Feast-ival”.  It’s great fun for anyone with a passion for winemaking.
The Harvest:
Grape Expectations is open for business and signing up new customers throughout the year.  Mike, KJ, Chad and Patty are extremely flexible and happy to schedule a private tour of the facility at any time and date that is convenient for you, just give us a call at (702) 806-3383.

What Hours are we Open?
Our hours vary, please call (702) 806-3383 prior to visiting to be sure we are available to assist you.

Where are we Located and how do I get there?
7360 Eastgate Road, Suite 125, Henderson, NV 89011

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mike, KJ, Chad or Patty at 702-806-3383.

  “Come as our guests, leave as our friends”


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Mailing Address:  7360 Eastgate Road, Ste. 125, Henderson NV 89011

Phone Number:   702-806-3383


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