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CHICAGO (WLS) — This time of year is known as “crush season,” or harvest season when it comes to winemaking.
Chicago Winery on the city’s Near North Side produces all of its wines on site!
It’s not something you’d expect on North Clark Street! And no, there is no “grape stomping” which is what immediately comes to mind!
Actually, there’s a lot of science, microbiology and chemistry that goes into winemaking!
Chicago Winery is a small boutique winery in River North that’s barely a year old.
“We have the capacity to do about 2,500 cases in house,” Ben Sherman, Chicago Winery winemaker, said. “We source all our fruit from the United States, particularly California and Finger Lakes….They’re shipped in refrigerated containers to the winery where we process the fruit and make the wine entirely on site.”
Roz came in during the production of orange wine, a wine made from white grapes using a method typically fashioned for red wine.
“What we’re doing here is what’s called a punch down, so coming in with this punch down tool, and we break up the cap,” Sherman said. “So as the yeast are breaking down the glucose and fructose, there’s alcohol being produced as well as CO2.”
Roz got to help with the punch down, which is not as easy as it looks!
The next step is to drain the juice from the bins, press any remaining juice from the skins, let the juice settle in one of the tanks for a couple days, then put the clarified wine into barrels for 6 to 9 months.
They got to taste the entire process, from the sweet Albariño grapes, and the wine they just punched down, to the fermenting wine out of the tank, which is still carbonated..
They also got to sample some a 2022 Cabernet Sauvignon right out of the barrel!
The winery is also home to Liva, and pair your wine with Modern American Cuisine.
“You can come for brunch or dinner, if you want, you can come to our tasting room… or you can take a wine tour in the cellar,” Liva general manager Justin Pugliese said.
And you too can see the process behind the vine!
While you do need a reservation to tour the winery, you don’t necessarily need one for dinner! They do accommodate a lot of walk-ins! And walk-ins only for the tasting bar.