Boston Winery was founded in 2006, the vision of Italian-born, former North End baker Ralph Bruno. Every autumn, Bruno and his team welcome a limited number of wine enthusiasts to their Dorchester cave, where, for a fee, amateurs make their their own cabernet, chardonnay, and zinfandel from fresh California grapes.
The winery provides the facilities and equipment (including a destemmer/crusher, fermenters, barrels, and bottling line). Participants order their grapes in advance and are encouraged to lend a hand with every aspect of the work. They get plenty of supervision from a professional winemaker and his team.
If making your own wine in view of the Old Harbor sounds like something you'd like to try, now , with the California grape harvest approaching, is the time to get started. The winery hosts an open house each Saturday afternoon where prospective cellar rats can taste wine made on site and get an idea of what's involved.
You can make as much wine as you fancy in half barrel (the equivalent of 12 cases of 750ml format bottles) and whole barrel (24 case) lots. You make the wine when fresh grapes are delivered by rail or truck in the fall; you bottle and take your finished wine home the following August - all for about $12 per bottle.
There's a nifty video to watch online that isn't reluctant to depict the often hard, messy, work that's required. But somehow everyone seems to be having a good time. It begins by asking whether you've ever dreamed of being a winemaker.
Well, have you?