Wine Making at Home, Part I : WHY?
As I mentioned in a recent blog entry, my husband and I enjoy wine making together. It’s just such a fulfilling hobby, and works on so many levels:
- It’s teamwork. We really enjoy sharing a hobby that we’re both interested in, and engaging in all of the different stages involved is a really great bonding activity. We designed our recording sheets together. When one - or both! - of us has an idea for a new batch of wine, we plan out a recipe, and shop for the ingredients together. We prepare the wine together, make a “date” of racking it every few months, and even work together to bottle, cork, and label them.
- It’s cheap. Actually, this point gets made on a few levels, as well. Putting on even a 5 gallon batch of wine can cost less than two movie tickets and concession popcorn/sodas!
In addition to the money saved by spending a “date night” in, there is also the cost saved with the finished product. Many homemade wines can come in at $1-2/ bottle, and even our most expensive batch - Lingonberry - came in at around $4 for a 750 ml bottle.
- It gives us something to look forward to. In this culture of instant gratification, we’re not immune to - or innocent when it comes to - rushing, lacking patience, etc. It’s kind of nice that when we start this project, we have to look ahead 6 months, a year... maybe even more, before we’ll get to enjoy the final results. Anticipation can be enjoyable!
- It’s science! Yes, we’re both nerds. Along the lines of the first point... it’s just so much fun to be able to work projects together. We start with an idea, plan around it, chart what we do, track the results, discuss variables, and experiment with changing up different elements of a recipe. When getting creative with it, wine making can be a very pleasurable mental stretch!
- It’s rewarding. It’s great to be able to pour a glass, and consume it with the smug satisfaction that comes from the knowledge that YOU MADE THIS. It’s a powerful feeling, and it feels doubly good when it’s a product that is generally seen as something that you’d have to buy at a store.
- Also? Homemade wine makes a GREAT gift.
- Making wine gives you a lot of control over your final product. While dry wines are very popular, we tend to prefer our wine to be “diabetes in a glass”. We know what we like, and what we don’t like, and we ... well we can do whatever we want. Use whatever grape you want. Use grapes with some other fruit. Use NO grapes. Toss a vanilla bean or two in there, whatever. Prefer an earthier flavor? Toss some oak chips in there for aging. The sky really is the limit when it comes to options!
If you’ve read this far, then I’m glad that I haven’t lost ya! Once you have the basic equipment and information, this is a very easy endeavor to partake in. I hope you’re inspired, pumped, and ready to get started. Tomorrow will be Part II: Equipment to Get Started