Thursday, March 29, 2007

Virtual Wine Making

Ever wanted to make your own wine but didn't have millions necessary to open your own vineyard? Enter Crushpad - a new way for people not blessed to live in the great San Francisco area to get in on wine making. Members sign up to make at least one barrel of wine per year (300 750 ml bottles) and decide what style of wine they want and what grapes they want to buy from numerous suppliers available. Winery staff keep their virtual vintners up to date with e-mails and Web postings. When the fruit comes in, Web cams show the crush, complete with live chat so viewers can question the workers, who talk back to computers equipped with voice recognition software. Further along in the process, members can participate in blending and bottling decisions and design their own labels. Interaction isn't all by Internet, several members take vacation time to take part in key events such as bottling. Membership start at $5,000 and groups sharing a barrel is permitted. Although $5,000 seems steep it's actually not a bad price when broken down by bottle. You would get 300 bottles of wine for an average cost for $16.67 which is not outrageous and to be able to server your guests your very own label at your next dinner party - priceless.

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