A Conversation for Wine
Paddyman Started conversation May 20, 2000
I'm interested in making my own wine at home. Anybody out there got any information as to the best way to get started. I'm thinking of wine made from grapes - not funny fruit wines.
JD Posted Jun 8, 2000
I've enjoyed making wine at my house for about 5 years now, and I found it very easy to get started - I simply went to my favorite wine shop / liquor store and asked around of some of the guys that worked there which of the home-brewer's stores they thought was the best. A quick visit to the appropriate home-brewer's store and about $250 later I was ready to make wine! I happen to live in the USA, so your results may vary according to where you live and what is available in your area. There are lots and lots of books on home winemaking, but the one I use is quite simply a guide that a good friend of mine gave me for my birthday a few years back, that was really an un-published set of batch-making notes he had left over (he now owns a vineyard in New Mexico called "Anasazi Fields" that makes fruit wines - much too compicated for me, I stick with grape wines). It's actually easier to make wine than beer - at least I think so - but it takes quite a bit longer. Wine should spend about a year in the bottle before opening it up for drinking. Beer can be ready for drinking in 2-3 weeks.
As far as wine-making tips goes, I have to stress patience - and expect to mess up a few batches. The cost I quoted was for a bit more than the "absolutely necessary" equipment, and included ingredients for making two batches, one of Pinot Noir and one of Chardonnay (my two favorite grape/wine types - it should be noted that here in the USA, unlike most of the rest of the World, we name our wines based on the grape variety instead of the region that produced the fruit and wine). It can be disappointing at times, to make a wine that doesn't quite taste like your favorite glass of Carneros Pinot Noir, and it's hard to be patient at times ... but I can tell you it's well worth the wait to open a bottle of something you've had in your private cellar for the last 13 months, uncork it, serve it, and have your friends comment on it, then savor the looks on their faces ad the spit it all over your new rug and ask where you bought it so they could head over there and grab a few bottles for paint remover ... heh, no just kidding. My wines have only killed mammals at less than 50 paces once or twice.
Honestly, starting out (or if you just want to simply make good wine very easily), I recommend you just buy the concentrated grape juice (which runs anywhere from $20 to $80 per 45 oz. can, each can being capable of making about 2.5 gallons of wine), yeast, yeast nutrient, acid blend, some preservative/bacteria retardant, and (very important) good clean water. Incidentally, I find that overly soft water tends to slow and in even in extreme cases, prohibit the fermentation process - but then again, water that has a high degree of hardness can sometimes give an unwanted flavor to the wine. Anyway, look into it, and sorry if I've forgotten anything ... it really is a fun hobby! Good luck!
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