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Anyone out there making there own wine?

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    I have been making wine for maybe 6 years now. The wine ingredient kits really make it almost idiot proof. A while back I found a good Chardonnay that my wife likes so I have been making it for her, I got tired of bottling it so I got a small keg and just started kegging the wine. I set up a tap in the garage fridge so now she can just take her glass out there and fill er up.


      One of my favorite subjects I started down the path to making my own beer. Ended up going to Windsor Onterio, which Huskee may want to consider. Got to Jakes Windsor Brew http://www.jakeswindsorbrew.com/ and tasted some of their wines... Holy crap, the store bought stuff is crap in comparison. They use the winexperts kits, do 90% of the work for me, I just have to bottle it.

      Here's the critical part, most (but not all) of the wines have to "rest" in the bottle, some for years. We have their most expensive ($209 Cdn for 30 bottles) wine resting right now. I can't stand it, and in a couple of weeks a couple of bottles of this Cab are going to be decorked. I have 17 different types of wine, ranging from a white zin that does not need to rest, to carbonated fruity wine coolers, to stuff that I let set for several years. I have an entire batch of a "lesser" Cab that is IRC 3 years old. Once these two bottles get opened, that will be it, until the rest of the older Cab is finished.

      I've even experimented with cork material, which was interesting. The stuff that doesn't need to rest, with a synthetic cork is good for a couple of years. Natural cork, not so much. Craziest, Piesporter, which is no longer being offered. I watched that wine change significantly over a period of 24 months, which is where it peaked.

      One thing I've learned over the years, if you find the perfect wine pairing with a certain food, the flavor of both the food and wine will explode. It's a dramatic occurrence. Luna Bianca is an excellent example as it pairs unbelievably well with turkey, and yet doesn't do well with Chicken.

      I would venture to guess with the high end Cab we did, that wine in a store would probably be well north of $50 per bottle, and in a restaurant, well north of $150. It's that good.


        I have made my own wine, I agree you can make equal to a 30 dollar bottle. I also made champagne, was more impressed with that. My favorite was mead, and the favorite out of that was blackberry. I aged a lager for a year once (that took some patience and willpower) and it was fantastic! All I can say is that it was smooth.


          One of my greatest pleasures is winemaking with friends. Been doing it since 2001, a few hundred bottles a year.

          But despite all that slow (yet drunken, and occasionally baked) learning, you have to love the process to like our wine, which can run toward the sweet or vegetal.

          This year we're trying Italian (from concentrate) and California red juice (already half fermented on arrival, to our surprise) in addition to our usual squeezing from grapes (usually barbera, cab, merlot, muscat, pinot, sangiovese, and zin; last year we also tried amarone). There's also a vine in the house's backyard that yields six bottles a year. The juice can lead to a much better balanced wine, but less complex. Then again, complexity does not favor our plonk. We also make port; adding the brandy also smooths out the flavor profile. But I prefer the wine. My tolerance has gone way down over the years anyway.

          Last night we gathered to taste the latest and some bottles from 2011, 2001, and 1999 (the last surprisingly good, a merlot/barbera/grenache blend with notes of mushroom and dried ginger). Here's this year's vintage, now awaiting bottling in a month or two, after which we begin the cycle again: https://www.flickr.com/photos/595312...57673526153317

          Attached Files


          • Donw
            Donw commented
            Editing a comment
            Very cool. What I appreciate is your long term commitment to learning and developing your skills if I’m reading your photo of your notes correctly. Good luck and well done.

          I've made a couple batches of country wine (fruity and sweet,) and some hard cider, good stuff, but definitely not in the same category as finer varieties.


            We used to make wine often and I still have all the equipment. Not sure why, but we got away from it. I think it was combination of things. Collecting the bottles, cleaning & sterilization, storing the resting bottles, cleaning the carboys all became factors as our lives got busier. Perhaps we weren't using the best quality kits, but I never felt our home wine was much better tan the $10-$12 stuff sold in stores. Now your thread is making me want to make a batch to see what I may have been missing. I still have all the equipment, just need to invest in a kit & some corks. Like I said, it has been quite a few years. Do most of you age in the carboy, or in the bottle?


            • josh_karpf
              josh_karpf commented
              Editing a comment
              We age for up to a year in the carboy (and also cheat a little by adding wood chips). We add the most appropriate yeast, monitor temperature and sugar very closely, and rack three or four times as needed, but can be loosey-goosey with sterilization. Maybe our wine would be better if we were stricter about that, using metabisulfite ("meta") more liberally. But there's also the social element to it; no one wants to be too anal-retentive. I HAVE heard that beermaking requires MUCH more sterility.

            • smokin fool
              smokin fool commented
              Editing a comment
              Your story sounds like mine, but made it with my buddy and his dad.
              They were Italian and knew what they were doing, when the dad passed the wine making went with him.
              Too bad he made some smoking reds.


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