CrushPad, based in San Francisco an 45 minutes from the heart of wine country, is a fairly new company with a compelling business proposition that any wine lover/hobbyist should enjoy – produce your own professional wine from the comfort of your home. You see, CrushPad actually lets you buy the grapes, either from them or sourced somewhere else and shipped to them, and go through a professional style vintage creation straight through to labeling the bottle. Purchases are by the barrel and costs are not cheap (your getting a minimum of 25 cases) but either a group of enthusiasts (like myself and a couple of friends are considering as “first timers”) or small businesses interested in their own label may find this a very interesting way to go about it. It starts with calling for availability and moves into an interesting process from there.
If you time it correctly you can pick your grape, participate in the harvest and crush, then your participation can be as little or as much as you want. Assistance from the onsite professionals is fully optional so if you know what you’re doing, go for it! But if you’re a first timer Crushpad is there to handhold you through the whole process.
Crushpad’s facility, a 5,000-square-foot space in San Francisco’s SOMA (south of Market) district, has room for 400 barrels, and will have about 30 vats, ranging in size from 200 liters to 1,600 liters. A refrigerated area is used for cold soaks and fermentation of white wines.
Customers can source their own grapes as well.
Because of the “outsource” process customers are local as well as remote. The early morning care and feeding can be outsourced to Crushpad staff, which expands their addressable market to just about anywhere.
Kelly and I considered it this fall but decided to wait a bit, get a few more friends to split the price as well as the 25 cases to a barrel! So we’ll wait, sign on a couple people, and see what this experience is like. If you own a restaurant, small business, want to do a team building exercise with your company, or just want to take your hobby to another level, this could be the most interesting way to Enjoy the Wine Life we’ve seen in a long time.