For young winemakers, a typical day at work might mean 15 hours of forklifting bins of grapes, pumping juice from tank to tank or checking sugar levels during fermentation. You'd think the last thing they'd want to do when they finally go home is make more wine.
You'd be wrong. Throughout California, ambitious young winemakers working for big operations are producing their own wines after-hours. They're holed up on evenings and weekends in garages and mini warehouses, hauling grapes to custom-crush facilities in borrowed pickup trucks and maxing out their credit cards, all with or without the blessing—occasionally without the knowledge—of their employers. It's a little-known world of off-hour wines, made by moonlighting winemakers.
And it begs the question: Why do they go to all this trouble just to make 200 or 300 cases of Cabernet, or a single barrel of Syrah?