After a year of hard work, they were finally ready to bottle the wine. Members of the Nevada Court Reporters Association (NVCRA), along with some family and friends, had spent a year making their own wine at Grape Expectations in Henderson, Nev. The process involved crushing and pressing the grapes, pumping over and fermentation, racking, and, finally, bottling.
Kimberly Farkas, RPR, CRR, president of the NVCRA, came up with the idea for the winemaking event. “It’s been difficult to plan activities the past few years,” she says. “We’re always trying to invent new ways to engage our members and deliver new member benefits. We had a few virtual happy hours during 2020. We had three different virtual seminar days in March, April, and May this year for credits. We always have a Christmas party. Nevada reporters are super busy, and it’s difficult to plan too many activities. We keep working on it, nonetheless.”
Farkas added that it’s an affordable group activity. A barrel of wine costs $4,000 and yields 20 cases. Each participant committed to a case, which comes out to $200, or a little over $16 per bottle which, according to Farkas “really isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of the wine world.”
The group could choose among a variety of styles and regions for their wine. They decided on a GSM blend, which combines Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. It is similar in style to a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, although all the grapes were sourced from California.
After the wine is bottled, participants get to apply the finishing touch. “Everyone who buys in for a case makes their own labels and has the ability to apply them at the bottling event,” says Farkas. “I made my NVCRA label on the evermine.com site. They have tons of templates. It’s actually fun to go on their site and make your own labels, whether you purchase any or not.”
Why winemaking? Farkas has a particular interest in the field. “I came up with the idea because wine is essentially my hobby,” she says. “I’m currently studying to take the WSET-3 test. That’s the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and there are four levels. I had made wine years ago with another group outside of court reporting. Grape Expectations reached out to past clients because of the pandemic and asked for support. I thought, what a great idea for a group activity for NVCRA. I know a few other reporters who are into wine, so I brought it before our board, and the rest is, as they say, winemaking history.”
But how does it taste? “Our wine is a 2020 vintage and isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet. We just bottled it a week ago. The folks at Grape Expectations advised leaving it to age in the bottle until at least the holidays this year.”