Make Wine, Not War
Written by Jennifer Jordan
Filed Under: Wine Making
Homemade wine may seem like a crazy concept, as if it came about after a bad acid trip by Betty Crocker. But, it's really not that crazy at all. In fact, winemaking in the home is an old tradition. It was born out of necessity; prior to the 20th century the wine sold commercially was extremely expensive and those who didn't want to drink away their paycheck found another option. They began to make their own wine. This was a much cheaper way to produce a bottle, but the flavor of the wine often suffered and the alcohol content fluctuated: one batch of wine would have very little alcohol, while the next would be wine's version of Ever Clear.
Innovations in winemaking have led to a drastic improvement in homemade quality. What once appeared to be an art reserved only for accomplished viticulturists or people who could stomp on grapes with the grace of a Michael Flately is now an art that everyone can take a sip of. So roll up your leaves, grab some supplies and make wine, not war.
From a technical standpoint, you could make wine with a vat of grapes and some (hopefully clean) feet; wearing an outfit straight out of the Renaissance may also help. But, for those who aren't likely to spend their day getting purple, you have one of two choices: purchase several supplies or a winemaking kit. If you choose the former, you will need to procure a slug of ingredients, and a lot of equipment. You will also have to follow such specified and stringent instructions that the process of winemaking may seem like a dictatorship: the grapes will have absolute power and Mussolini will demand the first sample. However, if you choose to purchase a winemaking kit, you will find the art of producing homemade wine is much easier and much more enjoyable.
Here Kit, Kit, Kit
Winemaking kits can be purchased in all kinds of places. Some home furnishing stores sell them but online is one of the best places to look. The online inventory is extremely diverse - you can find winemaking kits for making red wine, winemaking kits for making white wine, winemaking kits for making fruit wine, and winemaking kits for making sherry, just to name a few. Depending on the kit, the price can vary. Some kits are under a hundred dollars while others can be quite expensive; it purely depends on what you're looking for.
No matter the type or price of the kit, most winemaking kits come with similar equipment. The supplies include a fermenter with lid, a carboy, a large spoon, a recipe book, sanitizing products, a hydrometer, a corker, corks, an airlock, a siphon hose, a siphon, a bottle filler, a bottle brush, equipment instructions and winemaking instructions.
Some people may enjoy the challenge of making wine without a kit, but for those of you who are novice winemakers, a winemaking kit is the best bet. Spending the day making wine for yourself or your friends is a great way to get acquainted with the art of winemaking. Each time you do it, it will get easier. Even if the first batch results in less than stellar wine, wine that seems to put the "low" in Merlot, rest assured, it just takes a little practice. Before you know it, you will be able to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.