Everybody needs a hobby…ours happens to be professional wine drinking…I mean, amateur wine making!
After spending our honeymoon in New York’s wine country, Sam and I decided to try our hand at homemade wine making. We started with seasonal fruit wines, like strawberry and blueberry, and while they were somewhat tasty (think sipping your grandfathers home-brew) we knew we could do better. We did some research (this included copious amounts of wine tasting and visits to local wineries), bought a bunch of wine making materials, took a beginner class, and started making wine in our kitchen!
There are a few ways to make homemade wine. You can buy grapes and complete the whole process, which requires a lot of equipment! You can buy wine juice, like Chardonnay or Merlot, and everything in between when it is in season. There are various places that sell bulk quantities of your favorite wine juice. (www.piwine.com) One of our failed attempts was a Chardonnay, made from juice, we followed the instructions we learned in the class step by step, but the end result had an undesirable beefy flavor! On a side note, some of our best wine to date have been our small batch Niagara, made from white grape juice bought at the local grocery store!! My favorite wine making method…wine kits!!!
Wine kits are amazing! The kits include step-by-step instructions as well as all of the pre-measured ingredients (think yeast, oak chips, bentonite, potassium metabisulfite…and other add-ins that work together to make grape juice yummy!) you will need for the perfect wine. The pH of the juice has already been tested and adjusted, you simply follow the first step, which typically is as simple as adding the bentonite, juice and water into a primary fermenter, adding the magical yeast monsters to the top and securing the lid and airlock!
After about a week of the yeast converting sugar to alcohol, you rack your wine into a glass carboy and allow the fermentation process to continue.
After another week, the fermentation should be complete, and you can begin clearing the wine. Typically at this point you will add the remainder of the packets of chemicals, which will prohibit further fermentation and also clear your wine. After waiting a few more weeks, your wine is ready to bottle. This is my favorite part! There is quite a bit of satisfaction in bottle wine, and these kits provide roughly 29 bottles of finished wine. Thanks to Amazon, you can buy corks, a corker, and capsules rather cheap so that your finished wine will look like professional quality without spending hundreds of dollars on the same amount of wine from a local vineyard.
Once you have bottled the wine…you drink!! You can wow your friends with vineyard quality wine at dinner parties! You can share with loved ones…or…you can keep it all to yourself for those crappy Mondays’, or celebratory occasions, or maybe even those fancy dinners of hot dogs and mac’n’cheese! No what the occasion, it is satisfying to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine made in my kitchen, with the man I love, making memories to last a lifetime! Salut!