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Make your own wine — with these guys

The Brooklyn Paper

At the Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg, you can certainly enjoy the fruit of the vine — but only after you make it first.

The N. Eighth Street center, opening this week, will teach would-be oenophiles the entire process, from grape-crushing to bottling to even label-making.

“So many people love to drink wine so we realized it would be a great idea to have a place where people could make it,” said co-founder Brian Leventhal. “I went to my first wine-making class in New Jersey last summer and loved it, so I wanted a wine-making center near where I live.”

Like many young entrepreneurs, Leventhal and his Internet company co-worker, John Stires, left their jobs in February, though few have gone on to become owners of a winery in the former Supreme Trading music venue between Roebling Street and Driggs avenue.

Wannabe wine-makers can schedule five sessions, during which they’ll work with a professional vintner to pick their grapes, crush them (not with their feet — this isn’t “I Love Lucy”), and barrel the resulting juice.

It takes about a year to produce a bottle of wine, but wine-makers spend most of that time waiting around for the science to take its toll. Wine is just grape juice that’s had the sugar “converted” into alcohol by yeast (yes, booze is just yeast crap). The process has been essentially unchanged since the ancient Greeks.

Once your Brooklyn Winery wine is bottled, it’s all yours. The cost of the course, free run of the winery and the 24 bottles of Chateau de You that results is $600. You can also go in with a group to spring for a whole barrel — that’s 300 bottles for $5,700.

If you don’t want to be Francis Ford Coppolla or Lorraine Bracco (we’re talking about the famous winemakers here), you can still enjoy a glass or two at the wine bar and a private event space.

We’ll toast to that.

Brooklyn Winery [213 N. Eighth St. between Roebling Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, (347) 763-1506]. For info, visit

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