Get a name-brand bottle of wine: yours
By Jia Lynn Yang

(FORTUNE Magazine) – THESE DAYS EVERYONE IS slapping his name on a bottle of wine: Greg Norman, Bob Dylan, even Joe Montana. (A 1999 Montagia cabernet sauvignon, anyone?)

Now, at several new DIY wineries across the country, mere mortals can also become vintners. At the newest of the bunch, Swirll in downtown Dallas, the business model is simple: Visitors start with a taste test--Swirll has about 30 vintages--to determine their wine affinity. Then they choose a grape--say, the pinot noir from Yamhill County, Ore., or the merlot from Stags' Leap in Napa Valley. Next they move over to a mixing station, where they pour the juice into a six-gallon pail and stir in a few tablespoons of yeast. The mixture ferments for six weeks, though patrons are allowed visits. ("They can bond with their yeast and form a relationship there," notes Peggy Davion.) Finally, customers design a custom label for their bottles. (One man brought in a photo of his horse and another client sketched her hacienda, but for those who are less artistically inclined, Swirll provides a couple of hundred templates of Tuscan hills, Spanish ladies, and the like.) Each batch reaps 28 to 30 bottles, and costs run from $179 to $359 per batch, depending on the grape.

"You can imagine a situation where you have friends over for dinner and you serve a wine, and they say, 'Oh, yes, this is good,'" says co-owner Louis Davion. "And then you just whip out the bottle and say nonchalantly, 'We made it ourselves.'" -- Jia Lynn Yang