“Tin Lizzie Wins Again! In this year’s (2017) wine tasting the Leviathan blend beat 23 other contestants (including our 2013 Syrah)!”

Eric Smith
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Winemaking Questions

What is Tin Lizze Wineworks?

Tin Lizzie Wineworks is a fully-equipped, professional winemaking facility where YOU are the winemaker. We provide you with everything you’ll need to make premium quality wines, from our professional winemaking equipment and a wide selection of wine grapes to our highly trained winemaking staff. In only four sessions you can produce the high-quality wine of your choice that you’ll be proud to enjoy and serve to friends.

First, you meet wuth our head winemaker and discuss the type of wine you would like to make. Then you participate in four winemaking sessions over the course of about one year for red wine:

Crush: In your first session, you get to operate the destemmer/crusher, which removes the grapes from the stems and crushes them in preparation for fermentation. You then get to select and add the wine yeast that best matches the style of wine you want to make.

Press: After aboout a week, you return to the Wineworks to press the fermented wine from the skins and seeds using a bladder press. You fill an oak barrel with your newly made wine and transfer it to the climate-controlled barrel room for aging.

Rack: About 5 months later you pump your wine from one barrel to another leaving behind the yeast sediment. This process is known as “racking” and helps clarify the wine. The wine is returned to the barrel room for additional aging.

The cost depends on the type of grapes you want to use and amount of wine you want to make. We offer three grape quality levels and three quantities of wine. You can make wine at the Premium, Super Premium and Ultra Premium levels. Our Premium grapes come primarily from the Lodi and Central Valley areas of California. Our Super Premium grapes come from Sonoma and Suisun Valley areas. Our Ultra Premium grapes are sourced for well-known vineyards in Napa Valley. Our Premium wines work out to about $10/bottle, our Super Premium about $15/bottle and our Ultra Premium about $20/bottle.

You can make wine in 1/4 barrel (5 cases), 1/2 barrel (10 cases or full barrel (21 cases) quantities. You can find a full breakdown of our pricing on the Pricing Page of our Web site.

It takes four sessions over the course of about one year to make a typical red wine. Each session is about 1.5 hours. In the fall we start in September and in the spring we start in May. A typical schedule for each season is shown below.

Session 1: Crush – May or September
Session 2: Press – One week after crush
Session 3: Rack – September or January
Session 4: Bottle – February or August

You can make almost any kind of red or white wine. Red wines are made from fresh wine grapes. White wines are typically made from fresh or frozen white grape juice but can be made from fresh grapes, if you desire. A wide variety of grapes are available at each quality levels. You can also blend different grapes to create unique personalized wines. 

Flexibility! Especially when it comes to scheduling. Remember we are making wine from grapes, just like any winery. As winemakers we are at the mercy of nature and the winemaking process. Grapes are a natural product and perishable.

We cannot predict the exact time of the harvest each year. So you need to be flexible when we schedule your winemaking sessions. We don’t schedule the wine, the wine schedules us.

Our current facility used to be the home of the farm owner’s beautiful 1915 Model T Ford. The Model T Ford was the first mass produced automobile manufactured by Henry Ford. It was the car that “put America on wheels.” The Model T Ford became affectionately known as the “The Tin Lizzie.” Why? The word “Lizzie” was a turn-of-the-20th-century slang term for a reliable servant. THe Model T became reliable mechanical servant and thus earned the nickname “Tin Lizzie”.