In the past, I've alluded to having made wine at Crushpad. I got my wine right before Thanksgiving, and I've been through a couple bottles. So here are my thoughts on the experience.
I got involved with Crushpad through Alan Baker's Cellar Rat blog. Alan started the Pinot 2.0 project, and made a general invitation to anyone who wanted to participate to buy a case of wine as futures, and help out in the process. I went back and forth on the idea, wondering if dropping a few hundred dollars on wine I'd never tasted, from a vineyard I'd never heard of, made by winemakers with no real reputation, was a good idea. In the end I decided what I would learn in the process would be well worth the price, even if the wine ended up being plonk.
Throughout the process our group, led by Alan, discussed how we wanted the wine to be made, we made decisions like what strain of yeast to use, how much oak to use, and what the name of the wine should be. We got updates on what was happening to the wine throughout the process, when it was pressed, when acid or sulfur was added, and the like. Overall it was a very eye opening experience that taught me a lot about what goes into making a bottle of wine. It was, as I had hoped, a valuable experience.
The wine came the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and I immediately opened a bottle. It is good wine. Not the best wine I've ever had, and probably not even the best $30 bottle I've ever had, but its good. Its classic pinot. I have a hard time picking individual notes from the nose, but it smells like pinot should smell: earthy, sexy and underlined by some nice fruit. In the mouth it is clearly young, and it will take time for the flavors to develop. I'm hoping this wine is dormant right now, because that would mean its only going to get more interesting.
Would I do it again? Well I have the chance to do it again, and I don't think I'm going to. I just don't know what more I could learn from it this time around. If I was in the bay area, I might consider trying it again, but then I would likely have had a very hands on experience with the wine had I been closer to Crushpad.