Saturday, January 30, 2010


Not content to home brew beer, I've branched out into home, er, brewing wine. (You don't brew wine, you simply make it.) The steps are similar - lots of cleaning and sanitizing and mixing and pitching yeast and then moving the wine from one fermenter to the next and then cleaning and sanitizing and bottling - all done with similar equipment. The ingredients - and time - are the only things that change. And, yes, I'm using a kit; I'm just learning the techniques right now and don't have the expertise yet to do my own design and blending of wine.

Well, the first batch is done - more of a wine cooler, really, a strawberry white merlot:

Pink and sweet, more of a hint of strawberry, really, than an overwhelming flavor. And it tastes good! Which is the only real criteria a wine should meet, shouldn't it?

Well, all righty then. Looks like we'll be doing wine as well 'round here.

Next up: a riesling. This one'll take some time so expect a few weeks before I can post a report.


  1. I like it, it looks lovely. I think it's an amazing thing to make.

  2. I'm assuming that you use a purchased wine base - an unfermented juice of some type.

    On that assumption, what is the quality level of the basic product that you use? Is it such that you can produce a really good wine?

  3. Sounds tasty.

    The base stock has got to be the key for producing quality wines. How else could there be such variance in high end wines based only on vintage, i.e., it is the only variable in a process that is otherwise the same?
    I'm not an expert in oenology (and only an amateur regarding consuming the stuff), but is there an advantage in large scale fermenting and bottling?
    I stayed with a family in Italy that produced their own wine each year- usually enough for the entire year. Theirs was a red wine called Barberra (from Piemonte). The recipe was a family tradition and they grew their own grapes. It was good stuff and I attempted to bring a large bottle of it home but the bottle broke on a Paris subway platform.

  4. Thanks, Jason. Amazing and interesting.

  5. Right, Mike. The kit includes a concentrate so you top it off to where it needs to be. Interestingly enough, the unfermented juice takes like Welch's. My palate is such that I can't taste the underlying character of the juice that'll be apparent after the fermentation. It's almost like magic that the sweetened stuff turns into something with more depth and character. I'm starting out with the least expensive kit I can find - a sure road to disaster, I know - but in this case it turned out well. You can spend as much as you'd like for a kit that'll produce what I'm told is a very fine wine but I'm not sophisticated enough to tell the difference yet so I'll stick with this lower end stuff until I learn.

  6. What a great story, Bruce! I'm not sure if there's an advantage to large scale production but it's fun to imagine my little food-service bucket as some huge oaken barrel. Have you seen the movie Bottle Shock? Nice story about how California wines rose to prominence; I liked some of the behind-the-scenes stuff of how a winery is run. That seems like a might fine life to live if you ask me.