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Expert Travel Guide

Where to Make Your Own Wine

Where to Make Your Own Wine

At Judd's Hill, visitors can use chemistry equipment such as graduated cylinders to taste and make their own wine. Photo © Jeremy and Claire Weiss

Make your own wine at five incredible wineries, like eco-friendly Judd's Hill in Napa Valley and Northstar in Walla Walla, Washington.

Judd's Hill; Napa Valley
At this small, eco-friendly winery off the Silverado Trail, red wine fanatics taste barrel samples of two Cabernet Sauvignons, a Merlot and a Cabernet Franc, and then concoct their own blends. A new kit with four barrel samples and detailed instructions lets anyone re-create the experience at home. $95-$775; blending kit $180; juddshill.com

City Winery; Napa Valley
This combination music venue, restaurant and custom crush concept has focused on urban areas like New York City and Chicago (a Nashville location is planned for later this year). This month, City Winery heads to wine country, opening a branch in the former Napa Valley Opera House in downtown Napa. Its barrel-blending program lets amateur winemakers choose grapes sourced from around the world, including Napa Valley (naturally), Argentina and, new this year, France. Depending on how much wine you're making, you can help with everything from crushing to barreling. From $1,800 for 36 bottles; citywinery.com

Ravenswood; Sonoma County
Guests taste grapes off the vine at this winery, founded by a Zinfandel-loving former microbiologist, as well as learn to describe wines by mouthfeel before making their own California field blends of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane. $50; ravenswoodwinery.com

Conn Creek; Napa Valley
Conn Creek's blending seminars provide a crash course in Napa terroir and attract everyone from total beginners to Master Sommeliers. Each session starts with a history lesson and segues into tastings of 15 Cabernet Sauvignons from different vineyards. Barrel samples of pure local Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are available as a "spice rack" for guests to create typical Bordeaux-style blends. $95; conncreek.com

Northstar Winery; Walla Walla, Washington
The first winery in Washington state to host blending sessions, Northstar is geeky in a fun way (winemakers bring in local dirt samples to teach about terroir). Guests taste Merlots from four local appellations like Horse Heaven Hills before blending their own bottles. $85 per person; northstarwinery.com

Related: Napa's Most Beautiful Tasting Rooms
Best Napa Wineries to Visit
Best Sonoma County Wineries to Visit

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