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Want To Make Your Own Wine? Yorktown Wine Master Shows You How

Carmine Corelli, founder of the Westchester Homemade Wine Center in Yorktown Heights.
Carmine Corelli, founder of the Westchester Homemade Wine Center in Yorktown Heights. Photo Credit: Submitted

Some traditions never die.

It's a motto Carmine Corelli likes to live by. His parents and grandparents made their own wine in Italy, where they grew up and as a youngster, Corelli learned the craft.

"I was crushing grapes since I was six-years-old," said the Yonkers resident.

Now, as the founder and owner of Westchester Homemade Wine Center, he's teaching others how to as well. 

For 15 years, his Yorktown Heights facility encourages folks to celebrate the harvest, allowing Westchester residents to make their own wine, complete with labels.

"I've taken the customs of the old world and refined them for the new," he said.

Corelli is dependent on California or Chilean grapes, so the time to book is either now (September or October) or in May.

The whole process becomes a party. "It's really something to do as a group," he said. "I have families, cousins, couples, guys or gals who've known each other since college, and so on." 

And, as the only game in town,  he has people from all over the Hudson Valley.

How it works: You pay $3,100 for one barrel (20 cases). The process takes eight to nine hours (usually four to five visits) over the course of nine months, with most folks coming in on weekends to crush, de-stem, ferment, press, rack, bottle, and label. He's also open later on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Most of the wine produced is red. Corelli says he'll always start a consult with a client asking about the type of wine they like and then he'll try to offer ideas on how to replicate it. 

Once the wine is made, he suggests waiting a minimum of two to four weeks to drink it. Many of his clients' wines, in fact, end up as award winners in local competitions.

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