Roughly two tons of grapes made their way from chili to the Chicago Marriott of Naperville only to be ripped from their vines and crushed.
Naperville mayor George Pradel beat three others in a grape-stomping competition, squeezing out the most juice in two minutes.
“My strategy was I just kept going and then going all the way around the edge, working it towards the middle and then stomping in the middle.”
The resulting juice will go back to Bev Art Winery in Chicago where it will take 10 to 15 days to ferment. But first a special enzyme is mixed into the grapes to help give the wine a richer taste.
“It helps break down the grape skins. It’s a natural product that you basically get more juice out of the grapes and you get more color and more flavor.”
From there, the grapes will go through a press to have their skins completely removed before the juice is poured into oak barrels where it will age for six to twelve months.
“Then the chefs will come in, taste the wine, and then do the final blends of the wine, and then bottle it and we’ll have it here as their signature wine.”
The finished product will be a cabernet sauvignon sold exclusively at the hotel. It’s name? Well the winery is holding a contest where those who witnessed the demonstration got to offer their own name. The community will then be able to pick their favorite over the next couple of weeks via Facebook.
“What’s really neat is in nine months, we’re going to have this wine that and they actually participated to help make this wine. And so it’s not just one person that made this wine. It is a collaborative effort by the community, our customers, our guests.”
The hotel hopes to make the demonstration an annual event to start producing one new wine each time.
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